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

Rebranding China’s internationalisation of higher education

Tourists crowd in front of the main gate of Peking University. Global university rankings show a direction for the development of China's higher education rather than a mere realization of the gap between top foreign and Chinese universities. China's prestigious Peking University and Tsinghua University dropped respectively from 54th to 92nd and 65th to 98th in the annual world university rankings published by the Center for World University Ranking (CWUR), headquartered in the United Arab Emirates, in Beijing, China, 4 October, 2018 (Reuters).

Author: Qiang Zha, York University

While China is having extraordinary success in internationalising higher education, progress mostly driven by a state-led agenda and a top-down approach is limited by the subordination of academic and educational interests to political ones. When China launched its world-class universities initiatives in the mid-1990s, it pledged to raise Chinese universities to a first-rate standing. Read more…

The case for an East Asian ‘climate club’ led by Australia

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison addresses the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly at UN headquarters in New York City, United States, 25 September 2019 (Photo: Reuters/Carlo Allegri).

Authors: John Mathews, Macquarie University, Elizabeth Thurbon, UNSW, Sung-Young Kim, Macquarie University and Hao Tan, University of Newcastle

The Nobel Prize-winning US economist William Nordhaus fired a salvo recently when he published an article on how to drastically revamp international efforts to deal with climate change. He argued that climate negotiations operate according to a deeply flawed structure that has no chance of success, with no penalties for free-riding and non-membership. Read more…

Myanmar’s COVID-19 response banks on Aung San Suu Kyi

Myanmar State Counsellor and Foreign Minister Aung San Suu Kyi pays her respects to her late father during a ceremony to mark the 73rd anniversary of Martyrs' Day in Yangon, 19 July 2020 (Photo: Reuters/Ye Aung Thu).

Author: Kyaw San Wai, Yangon

With an official total of 351 cases and six deaths four months after the first COVID-19 case was confirmed, Myanmar appears to be weathering the pandemic. Despite limited testing, the combination of government responses, community involvement and arguably sheer luck has so far spared the country’s long-neglected and under-resourced health system from being overwhelmed. Read more…

Laying down the law in the South China Sea

The Royal Australian Navy guided-missile frigate HMAS Parramatta (FFH 154) (L) is underway with the US Navy amphibious assault ship USS America (LHA 6), the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Bunker Hill (CG 52) and the Arleigh-Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Barry (DDG 52) in the South China Sea 18 April, 2020 (Photo: Reuters/Nicholas Huynh).

Author: Donald R Rothwell, ANU

Australia’s 23 July statement to the UN Secretary-General in formal response to a series of diplomatic exchanges between Malaysia, China and other states is the clearest to date on legal issues associated with China’s South China Sea maritime claims. Diplomatically the statement is unremarkable, legally though, it makes Australia’s position on some key issues very clear.

Read more…

Incentivising Indonesia’s academics

Testing for bacteria believed to help reduce the chances of mosquitoes passing dengue and Zika to humans in a lab at Gadjah Mada University, Yogyakarta, Indonesia, 5 February 2016 (Photo: Reuters/Darren Whiteside).

Author: Muhammad Beni Saputra, UIN Sulthan Thaha Saifuddin Jambi

In his visit to Australia early in 2020 to ratify the Indonesia–Australia Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (IA-CEPA), Indonesian President Joko ‘Jokowi’ Widodo announced that Australia’s Monash University will open a branch in Indonesia. The historic initiative is intended to improve Indonesia’s human capital — Jokowi’s top priority in his second term in office. But Indonesia’s university reform must centre around incentivising its own academics to publish better research.

Read more…

A new beginning for Singapore?

Opposition Workers' Party supporters celebrate the results of the general election in Singapore on 11 July 2020 (Photo: Reuters/Edgar Su).

Author: Ying-kit Chan, Leiden University

The 2020 Singapore General Election confirmed the Workers’ Party (WP) as the strongest alternative to the incumbent People’s Action Party (PAP). The WP strengthened its hold over its existing six seats in a single-member constituency (SMC) and a group-representation constituency (GRC). It also won four more seats in a newly-created GRC. But what does this mean for Singapore’s political landscape?

Read more…

Building South Korea’s economy after the great pandemic recession

A retail store looks nearly empty amid the continuing spread of the new coronavirus in Seoul, South Korea, 18 March 2020. On 17 March, the National Assembly approved an additional budget of 11.7 trillion won (US$9.42 trillion) to help contain the virus and minimise the economic consequences of the outbreak (Photo: Reuters/Yonhap News Agency).

Author: Troy Stangarone, Korea Economic Institute of America

In the span of a little more than a decade the world has experienced two economic crises. The Great Recession was precipitated by the global financial crisis of 2007–2008. Now an economic recession is being induced by government measures to stop the spread of COVID-19. South Korea came out of the Great Recession better than many other developed economies and is positioning itself to do the same after COVID-19. Read more…

When rising powers clash: face-off versus face-saving in China–India relations

Demonstrators stand next to an effigy depicting Chinese President Xi Jinping before burning it during a protest against China, in Kolkata, India, 18 June 2020 (Photo: Reuters/Rupak De Chowdhuri).

Author: Deepa M Ollapally, George Washington University

The border clash in the Galwan Valley between Asia’s two rising powers on 15 June has tested some key assumptions about their bilateral relationship. India and China both thought that they could contain any border disagreement without casualties. They were confident in their ability to rapidly de-escalate, as well as insulate their economic ties from a skirmish. There was also a prevalent assumption that it would take a lot more than border brawls to change India’s strategic preference for hedging and decisively move toward a US coalition.

Read more…

Japan needs to step up its COVID-19 testing capacity

Students wearing protective face masks amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, clap along instead of singing a song during a music class at Takanedai Daisan elementary school, which practices various methods of social distancing in order to prevent the infection, in Funabashi, east of Tokyo, Japan 16 July, 2020 (Photo: Reuters/Kim).

Author: Keiichiro Kobayashi, Tokyo Foundation for Policy Research

As COVID-19 cases began to mount in Japan in February, it became clear that the government needed to respond with strong policy measures. It was crucial to increase testing capacity and adopt isolation measures to contain the virus and allow economic activity to resume quickly. The Japanese government needed to set and clearly announce a timeline and numerical targets for testing capacity and medical care provision. Read more…

How COVID-19 is changing Indian federalism

A volunteer distributes masks to people in Jammu, the winter capital of India-controlled Kashmir, 16 March, 2020 (Photo: Retuers).

Author: Anirudh Burman, Carnegie India

India’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic has shifted the balance of its federal structure. The pandemic has enabled the central government to implement far-reaching reforms in areas, such as agriculture, traditionally considered to be the domain of states. This exercise by the central government is indicative of its willingness to take advantage of a global crisis and use the levers of federal power to implement significant reforms. Read more…

London and Canberra offer citizenship for Hongkongers

A couple hugs each other as police fire tear gas into the crowds to disperse anti-national security law protesters during a march on the anniversary of Hong Kong's handover from Britain to China, Hong Kong, 1 July 2020 (Photo: Reuters/Tyrone Siu).

Author: Tim Summers, Chatham House and CUHK

Following the announcement and enactment of a national security law for Hong Kong by China’s National People’s Congress, both the British and Australian governments have offered ‘pathways to citizenship’ for some of Hong Kong’s population. Why have they done this, and what are the implications?

Read more…

What lies ahead for global value chains in Asia?

An aerial view of containers piled up at Yangshan Port, a deep water port for container ships, waiting to be stored and exported, Shanghai, 20 March 2020 (Reuters).

Authors: Hoe Ee Khor and Suan Yong Foo, AMRO

Against a backdrop of trade tensions, disruptions from the COVID-19 pandemic and a global recession, global value chains (GVCs) are being tested like never before. This is raising uneasy questions for Asian economies. Read more…

What next for New Zealand in its post-COVID-19 era?

A bull statue with a mask covering its face is seen in a township called Bulls, near Palmerston North, on the west coast of the North Island of New Zealand, amid the global outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), 12 July 2020. (Photo: Reuters/Praveen Menon).

Authors: Nick Wilson and Michael Baker, University of Otago

Having successfully eliminated COVID-19, New Zealand now faces the option of sitting tight or exploring various ways of loosening its stringent border controls. All these options involve complex health and economic trade-offs. Read more…

India does not need a Cold War alliance

US President Donald Trump and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi make joint statements after bilateral talks at Hyderabad House in New Delhi, India, 25 February 2020 (Photo: Reuters/Al Drago).

Author: Arzan Tarapore, National Bureau of Asian Research

As the India–China border crisis continues, will India join an alliance with the United States? Some analysts have suggested that India may now jettison its diplomatic ambiguity and ‘pick a side in the new cold war’. Last week, India’s External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar rejected the idea of an alliance. But the border crisis may yet shift India’s approach to strategic competition with China.

Read more…

Crunch time for US allies and partners in navigating a new Cold War

A man works to remove the US Consulate plaque at the US Consulate General in Chengdu, Sichuan province, China, 26 July 2020 (Photo: Reuters/Thomas Peter).

Author: Editorial Board, ANU

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo now leads the gathering charge in Washington to wage a new Cold War on China. All doubts about that were dispelled in his fiery speech at the Nixon Library last week and in his mission to lock Boris Johnson and the United Kingdom in behind him immediately afterwards. Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne and Defence Minister Linda Reynolds, on their way to Washington for bilateral talks, will fly straight into the middle of this brewing geopolitical cauldron. Read more…