Global Challenges

  • The South China Sea does not belong to China.

    Lost at Sea

    Chinese dredging vessels are purportedly seen in the waters around Mischief Reef in the disputed Spratly Islands in the South China Sea. Reuters

    It’s now official: the South China Sea does not belong to China.

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  • North Korea keeps testing the world's resolve.

    Changing North Korea's Course will Take Cooperation

    The 26th meeting of the North East Asia Cooperation Dialogue (NEACD), a one and a half track forum whose membership mirrors the Six-Party Talks, was held in Beijing late last month. North Korea began to attend the NEACD in 2002, but failed to show up in 2014 and 2015.

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  • The UNCLOS ruling will be binding for China.

    UNCLOS Ruling May Not Go China's Way

    International media have come to focus on Tuesday’s anticipated decision in the Philippines’ arbitration against China. Beijing’s recent propaganda and diplomatic blitz has raised the prominence of the case to new heights.

    The dispute involves no fewer than 15 issues, many of them highly technical. Yet the basic issue in the case — whether the decision will be legally binding on China as well as the Philippines — is reasonably straightforward. Still there appears to be widespread misunderstanding surrounding it.

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  • East Asia's adult entertainment industry basically exports human rights abuses.

    Exporting Human Rights Abuses Using Adult Entertainment

    The history of the Japanese military’s wartime sexual enslavement of women still plays on the mind of East Asia. Japanese leaders make it hard to forget. Most recently, deputy foreign minister Shinsuke Sugiyama told the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women that his government knew of no documents confirming the forcible wartime recruitment of so-called ‘comfort women’.

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  • Asia's refugee deals can be valuable lessons for Turkey and the EU.

    Can Turkey Learn from Asia's Refugee Deals?

    The global refugee crisis took another twist this year when the European Union struck a deal with Turkey to take refugees that make it to Greece. Turkey is not an EU member, so in exchange the EU promised to reenergise talks on Turkey’s EU membership and accelerate visa liberalisation, making it easier for Turkish nationals to work and travel in the EU.

    However, amidst growing claims of human rights violations, there is mounting concern that Turkey does not meet the standards of a ‘safe third country’ for refugees.

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  • Asia may be able to insulate the world from the mess that is the EU.

    Asia could be the World's Brexit Shock Absorber

    The shock of Britain’s vote to exit the European Union (EU) will reverberate around the world for decades to come. In addition, Asia isn’t immune. The direct effect on stock markets and exchange rates around the region is a modest harbinger, but that’s only the beginning.

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  • The environmental impact focus has been largely off small businesses.

    Small Business, Big (Environmental) Impact

    Understanding how businesses engage in environmental management is important given growing global concerns  about the depletion of natural resources and reductions in biodiversity. There has been a great deal of focus on large businesses, but small businesses have a role to play too. The fact that small businesses are neglecting this is of great concern.

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  • Have men been favored during disaster rescues?

    Gender-biased Disaster Response

    The ASEAN Agreement on Disaster Management and Emergency Response (AADMER) came into being in December 2009. It has played a tremendous role in enhancing regional and national capacities for disaster response in the region.

    The recent ‘ASEAN Vision 2025 on Disaster Management’ document provides thoughtful insights on how AADMER can move towards a more people-centred, sustainable and better-networked approach. However, these suggestions do not directly address the disproportionate impact disasters have on women.

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