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

Mongolia’s success and challenges against COVID-19

People ride horses near the Genghis Khan Statue Complex, east of Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia (Photo: Reuters/B Rentsendorj).

Author: Ariun-Erdene Bayarjargal, ANU

The COVID-19 pandemic will go down in history because of the extraordinary impact it has had on health, the economy and people’s lives across the world. Mongolia is no exception and sound government policy is essential to steer it through the next phase of the crisis.

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A chance for Chinese economic leadership

Chinese President Xi Jinping attends a welcoming ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, 25 October, 2019 (Photo: Reuters/Lee).

Authors: Peter A Petri, Brandeis University and Michael G Plummer, Johns Hopkins University

In late June 2020, 15 East Asian countries — representing nearly 30 per cent of the world’s economic output and population — committed to signing the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) in November. This will be the largest free trade agreement ever and complements the 2018 Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).

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The COVID-19 squeeze on South Korea’s labour market

South Korean medical staff members wearing facemasks and protective clothing while on duty at Keimyung University Daegu Dongsan Hospital in Daegu, South Korea, 19 March 2020 during the coronavirus outbreak (Photo: Reuters/Lee Young-ho).

Author: Vladimir Hlasny, Ewha Womans University

In the densely populated South Korea, just a hop away from China, COVID-19 hit early and strongly. By mid-February, South Korea had the second highest number of infections in the world. Since then the number of cases has been slowed down to a trickle — but clusters keep resurfacing in blind spots such as church congregations, fitness classes, night clubs and warehouses.

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US–China scientific cooperation faces an uncertain future

Chinese and US flags flutter near The Bund, Shanghai, China, 30 July 2019 (Photo: Reuters/Aly Song).

Authors: John P Haupt and Jenny J Lee, University of Arizona

Geopolitical tensions between the two largest scientific knowledge producers in the world are intensifying, and the Trump administration is now scrutinising scientific collaboration with China as a potential threat to US national security and economic prosperity. Chinese researchers and graduate students are being portrayed as potential spies who may steal intellectual property, while China’s ‘Thousand Talents’ program is characterised as a scheme allowing China to acquire US technology, intellectual property and know-how.

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Why Thatcherism and Reaganomics won’t work after COVID-19

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison speaks next to Treasurer Josh Frydenberg during a news conference in Canberra, Australia (Photo: Reuters/David Gray).

Author: Abul Rizvi, University of Melbourne

All governments are thinking hard about how they will manage economic recovery once international borders re-open after COVID-19. Australia’s Treasurer Josh Frydenberg recently rejected fiscal austerity but wants to copy other policies from the era of Thatcher and Reagan.

So which policies from this era are suitable for developed nations as they re-open their borders after COVID-19?

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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…

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…

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.

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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…

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…

Indonesia needs more than debts against COVID-19

A currency exchange service vendor wearing a protective face mask while waiting for consumers on the sidewalk in Bandung, Indonesia, 22 May, 2020 (Photo: Reuters/Agvi Firdaus).

Author: Rainer Heufers, Center for Indonesian Policy Studies

Governments around the world have been borrowing money during the COVID-19 crisis to fund programs to protect vulnerable citizens. Additional debt is deemed acceptable because problems are not directly related to unsound economic policies but to a pandemic beyond government control. Yet sound policies matter more than ever. Read more…

Debt relief boosts Myanmar’s COVID-19 recovery

Person waving a Myanmar flag at Kyite Ka San Football Stadium in Yangon, Myanmar, 29 November 2017 (Photo: Reuters/Soe Zeya Tun).

Author: Sean Turnell, Macquarie University

On 1 July 2020, the European Union and six of its member governments announced a moratorium on debt repayments due from Myanmar. The agreement allows Myanmar to ‘focus efforts on economic recovery from COVID-19’ and is worth almost US$100 million — 20 per cent of Myanmar’s current debt payments schedule.

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Will the national security law ruin Hong Kong’s economic future?

Buildings are seen above Hong Kong and Chinese flags, as pro-China supporters celebration after China's parliament passes national security law for Hong Kong, in Hong Kong, 30 June 2020 (Photo: Reuters/Tyrone Siu).

Author: Yan Liang, Willamette University

Hong Kong’s controversial new national security law has sparked debate about its economic future. The law is generally portrayed in the Western media as a major step by Beijing to chip away at Hong Kong’s autonomy, leading to grim perceptions of Hong Kong’s future.

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