East Asia Forum

East Asia Forum's picture

East Asia Forum
About the author:

Analysis of economics, politics and public policy in East Asia and the Pacific.

Australia - More ASEAN, Less U.S./China

Date: 17 December 2014

Things just haven’t clicked the way they should have in the Australian–ASEAN relationship. We seem far removed from the time when as Australia’s Foreign Minister I had no counterparts anywhere in the world with whom I felt more close and comfortable. And from when, at one of the Cambodian peace conferences, having stumbled inadvertently into an ASEAN foreign ministers’ coffee meeting, my apologies were waved aside with the words ‘Come on in. You’re one of us.’ 

Read more

Japan's Foreign Aid Program Turns 60

Date: 15 December 2014

2014 marks the 60th anniversary of Japan’s foreign aid program. The nation was still receiving World Bank aid when Tokyo began a modest foreign aid program through joining the Colombo Plan in 1954. Today, as one of the world’s largest donors, Japan is placing an increasingly explicit emphasis on foreign aid for the national interest. 

Read more

Maintaining South Korea's Middle-Power Status

Date: 15 December 2014

Are South Korea’s relations with China and Japan warming?  During the ASEAN Plus Three Summit in Myanmar in November, South Korea’s President Park Geun-hye proposed a trilateral summit with China and Japan. 

Read more

Agriculture Reforms Unlikely to Come from Japan's LDP

Date: 12 December 2014

Only one party contesting this week’s Japanese election is advocating agricultural reform and it is not the LDP.  The party in question is the Japan Innovation Party (JIP). Its manifesto contains a series of measures that amount to a textbook prescription for agricultural reform. 

Read more

China's Ambition versus Reality in the Digital Age

Date: 12 December 2014

In February 2014, Chinese President Xi Jinping was appointed Chair of the Central Cybersecurity and Informatization Leading Group, an agency which coordinates China’s cybersecurity and ‘informatisation’ policies. The move reflected deep dissatisfaction within the leadership of the pace of innovation in the country. Xi’s appointment reflects China’s willingness to change this — but only to an extent. 

Read more

Calls for Abe to Raise Japan's Consumption Tax

Date: 10 December 2014

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe dissolved the lower house of the Diet on 21 November and called a snap general election on 14 December. At the same time, Abe announced that he would postpone the second hike of the consumption tax rate from 1 October 2015 to 1 April 2017. 

Read more

Joko Widodo's Great Opportunity for Indonesian Economic Policy Reform

Date: 10 December 2014

Economic performance in post-Suharto Indonesia has been inferior to that achieved during the previous three decades, with economic growth slower and income inequality increasing. With the recent election of a new president, now is a good time to focus on improving the quality of economic policymaking. 

Read more

Will Japan Seize a Demographic Opportunity?

Date: 10 December 2014

Japan is ageing; shrinking population will cause serious problems for the country throughout the 21st century. Although the fertility rate has recovered to 1.39, this is still very low by international standards. 

Read more

U.S. Policy Supports Freedom of Navigation in the South China Sea

Date: 10 December 2014

The South China Sea is not the central strategic element in the overall US–China relationship. It was clearly not a centrepiece of the November 2014 Obama–Xi summit in Beijing. Climate change, North Korea, Iran, Taiwan, trade, intellectual property theft and cyber security are more important bilateral issues. 

Read more

Prime Minister Narenda Modi's Diplomatic Path within India

Date: 8 December 2014

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi is seeking new ways to enhance India’s global diplomacy. Modi is pursuing two paths largely overlooked by analysts of India’s foreign policy: to connect with the Indian diaspora and to encourage links with subnational governments at state and city levels. 

Read more

A Very Short Campaign in Japan is Underway

Date: 8 December 2014

As the official election campaign rolled out last week, the media are still trying to get a handle on what the upcoming Japanese election is all about. This is ‘the election Japan didn’t need to have’ or the election ‘that’s not about anything in particular’, except securing Prime Minister Abe’s and the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) survival in the longer term. 

Read more

Abe's Calculated Move to Stretch a Political Career

Date: 8 December 2014

The incumbent Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) seems to be cruising towards a victory in the snap election to be held on 14 December. But beware of interpreting this as a ringing endorsement of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Instead, the likely result shows just how weak Japanese politics has become. 

Read more

Will Meaningful Changes Come from the Latest RCEP Negotiations?

Date: 6 December 2014

What will it take to change the way Asia thinks about trade strategy?  As the negotiators of the RCEP agreement are meeting in New Delhi, India, from 1–5 December 2014, attention is turned to the question of whether this mega-regional represents a ‘new paradigm’ of regional trade agreements or not.

Read more

Complicated Geopolitics Challenge an Asian FTA

Date: 6 December 2014

The fifth round of the China–Japan–South Korea Free Trade Agreement (CJK FTA) negotiations concluded in Beijing on 5 September. The three countries hope the negotiations will finish in 2015, but this partly depends on the progress of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations. 

Read more

India's Bilateral Investment Treaties Leave Room for Abuse

Date: 4 December 2014

In December 2013, despite an ongoing official review of its existing agreements, the Indian government signed a bilateral investment treaty (BIT) with the United Arab Emirates. Information on the deal was recently made public by the Ministry of Finance after persistent efforts by civil society groups. 

Read more