Publication in Economics, Politics and Public Policy in East Asia and the Pacific

China is raising its flag in Central and Eastern Europe

China's Premier Li Keqiang bows as he reviews Serbian Army honour guard at the Palace of Serbia in Belgrade 17 December 2014 (Photo: Reuters/Djordje Kojadinovic).

Author: Richard Q Turcsanyi, Institute of Asian Studies

Ever since its inception in 2012, the Chinese-led ‘16+1 platform’ between China and 16 Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries has attracted a considerable amount of criticism in Western Europe for allegedly undermining EU unity. Read more…

Has China’s economic reform already peaked?

An employee of the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Ltd counts money at one of the bank's branches at the Shanghai Free Trade Zone in Pudong district, in Shanghai, 24 September 2014 (Photo: Reuters/Carlos Barria).

Author: Dwight H Perkins, Harvard University

The move from a centrally planned economy to a market economy is more complex than often assumed. When countries in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union began to transition to market economies in 1989, many economic advisors thought there was little more to it than freeing up goods and services to be sold at market-determined prices and privatising state-owned enterprises. Read more…

Far from all-in on the Indo-Pacific

A navy personnel looks for survivors during a search and rescue operation after a boat carrying Indonesian migrant workers capsized off Batam on Wednesday, near Nongsa, Batam, Indonesia, 3 November 2016 (Photo: Reuters/Edgar Su).

Authors: Priya Chacko, University of Adelaide and David Willis, Flinders University

There are many who would like to see the ‘Indo-Pacific’ concept evolve from an idea to a reality. These supporters are looking to India and Indonesia to lead the way. But this is unlikely, owing to a misalignment between the two countries’ political and economic goals. Read more…

Purdah disempowers Pakistan’s women and weakens its economy

An elderly woman walks as she searches for recyclables from the smouldering dump along a road in Karachi, Pakistan, 8 December 2017 (Photo: Reuters/Akhtar Soomro).

Authors: Ian Coxhead, University of Wisconsin-Madison and Sisira Jayasuriya, Monash University

Pakistan’s recent election and warnings of an imminent payments crisis have brought the long-standing structural problems of its economy into sharp focus. Proposed solutions cover the familiar ground of new loans, new terms for existing loans, one-time sales of state assets and perhaps some increases in tariffs and excise taxes. But these measures are unlikely to provide a long-term solution. Read more…

Are China’s gifts a blessing or a curse for Cambodia?

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and Cambodia's Prime Minister Hun Sen stand as they hold bilateral talks in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, 11 January 2018 (Photo: Reuters/Samrang Pring).

Author: Pheakdey Heng, Enrich Institute

This year marks the 60th anniversary of Cambodia–China diplomatic ties, and the relationship between the two countries has never been closer. China is increasingly becoming Cambodia’s most important economic and diplomatic partner. In the last two years alone, Cambodia signed more than 30 bilateral agreements with China. Read more…

Foreign engagement is the major casualty of Japan’s military restructure

Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force soldiers take part in an annual training session near Mount Fuji at Higashifuji training field in Gotemba, west of Tokyo, Japan, 23 August 2018 (Photo: Reuters/Kim Kyung-Hoon).

Authors: Kate Stevenson, Australia–Japan Research Centre and Yuji Uesugi, Waseda University

On 27 March 2018, the Japanese Defense Ministry inaugurated a new Ground Component Command (GCC) in Asaka, north of Tokyo. This has been described as one of the biggest institutional shake ups in the history of Japan’s Ground Self Defense Force (GSDF). Read more…

Who will be the winner of the US–China trade war?

A container ship at Yangshan Deep Water Port, part of the Shanghai Free Trade Zone. (Photo: Reuters/Aly Song).

Author: Yuhan Zhang, Beijing

There are three major explanations for why the United States began its recent trade war with China.

The first is that the United States wants to reduce its trade deficits. US President Donald Trump tweeted on 4 April 2018 that ‘[the United States has] a Trade Deficit of $500 Billion a year, with Intellectual Property Theft of another $300 Billion. We cannot let this continue!’. Read more…

Chinese medical tourists are ‘dying to survive’

Director Wen Muye poses for a picture with cast members and crew of the movie Dying To Survive at the 21st Shanghai International Film Festival, 16 June 2018. (Photo: Reuters/Stringer).

Authors: Neil Lunt, University of York and Ka Wo Fung, Hong Kong Baptist University

Dying to Survive is proving to be a 2018 hit at the box office in China. The story involves a shopkeeper smuggling a cheap generic drug into China for profit. The film — based on the true story of a Chinese leukaemia patient — is both funny and heavy on social commentary. It provides insight into the domestic health market in China, where patients are often priced out of treatments or find that treatments are unavailable. Read more…

The politics of redemption and the rise of Imran Khan

A journalist poses with a cell phone displaying Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan speaking to the nation in his first televised address, Karachi, Pakistan 19 August 2018 (Photo: Reuters/Akhtar Soomro).

Author: Ilhan Niaz, Quaid-i-Azam University

Since 1996, Imran Khan and the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) have delivered the stark and uncompromising message that Pakistan’s core problems are corruption and the shredding of civilian state institutions by dynastic political elites. In 2018, the PTI waged a smart, ruthless and technically sophisticated election campaign that has delivered it the prime ministership. Read more…

Race policy reform will test the courage of Malaysia’s new government

Malaysia’s Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad gestures beside Deputy Prime Minister Wan Azizah during a news conference in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 10 May 2018 (Photo: Reuters/Lai Seng Sin).

Author: Editorial Board, ANU

Whatever disagreements exist among observers regarding what Malaysia’s problems are and how they should be solved, two propositions command widespread consensus. The first is that Malaysia’s policy of economic preferences for the Bumiputras (an official category that encompasses the Malay Muslim majority and smaller indigenous ethnic groups) is a drag on the country’s economic competitiveness. The second is that it is politically near-impossible to unwind this elaborate system of subsidies, quotas and assorted favouritism. Read more…

Malaysia’s road to democratic reform

Malaysia's Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad speaks during an interview with Reuters in Putrajaya, Malaysia, 19 June 2018 (Photo: Reuters/Lai Seng Sin).

Author: Donald L Horowitz, Duke University

For the first time in the history of Malaysia, the opposition has defeated a sitting government at the polls. During the long rule of the Barisan Nasional (BN), Malaysia suffered serious degradation of its legal and political institutions, and the new coalition government of the Pakatan Harapan knows that it must deal with daunting challenges of reform. Read more…

Is Samoa’s cybercrime regulation protecting its people or quashing dissent?

A man types into a keyboard during the Def Con hacker convention in Las Vegas, Nevada, United States, 29 July 2017 (Photo: Reuters/Steve Marcus).

Author: Glen Finau, UNSW Canberra and Jeff Garae, Cert Vanuatu

Pacific island countries are continuously working towards strengthening legislation on cybercrime. Samoa in particular is currently working with the European Union and Australia’s Attorney General’s Office to update legislation relating to cybercrime and to enhance public awareness. New legislation aims not only at protecting government communication networks from cyberattacks but also at prosecuting private organisations and end users in Samoa who use computers and smart devices on a daily basis for malicious purposes. Read more…

BIMSTEC must scale new heights

Sri Lanka's President Mahinda Rajapakse, Myanmar's Prime Minister Thein Sein, Bangladesh's Chief Advisor Fakhruddin Ahmed, India's Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Bhutan's Prime Minister Jigmi Thinley, Nepal's Prime Minister Prachanda and Thailand's Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat pose for a picture during the inauguration ceremony of the second summit of the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) in New Delhi, 13 November 2008 (Photo: Reuters/B Mathur).

Author: Prabir De, Research and Information System for Developing Countries (RIS)

On 30 August 2018, the heads of the Bay of Bengal Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) countries will meet in Kathmandu for the fourth BIMSTEC summit. The last BIMSTEC summit was held in 2014 and a mini-summit was held on the sidelines of the BRICS summit in Goa in October 2016. Read more…

PNG turns protectionist in its APEC year

Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O'Neill speaks to China's President Xi Jinping during a meeting at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing, China, 21 June 2018 (Photo: Reuters: Fred Dufuor).

Authors: Rohan Fox, Stephen Howes and Maholopa Laveil, ANU

The first sign that Papua New Guinea (PNG) would be adopting a more protectionist trade policy came in late 2015, with the banning of a number of fresh fruit and vegetable imports from Australia. While that ban was short-lived, 2018 has seen a major reversal in PNG’s trade policy. Read more…

China and Myanmar’s budding relationship

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi shakes hands with Myanmar's Minister of the Office of the State Counsellor Kyaw Tint Swe at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing, China, 28 June 2018 (Photo: Reuters/Greg Baker).

Author: Nian Peng, National Institute for South China Sea Studies

Since State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi assumed office in March 2016, Myanmar has attempted to consolidate its friendship with China. Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) government has resumed the controversial Letpadaung mining project, re-opened the China–Myanmar oil pipeline, and signed agreements on constructing a deep-water port in Kyaukpyu and establishing a China–Myanmar border economic cooperation zone. Read more…