East Asia Forum

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

Timor-Leste's Quest for Sovereignty

Date: 6 June 2016

Disputes over the resource-rich Timor Sea have consumed bilateral relations between Timor-Leste and Australia. In 2006, Timor-Leste’s then foreign minister José Ramos-Horta and his Australian counterpart, Alexander Downer, signed the Treaty of Certain Maritime Arrangements in the Timor Sea (CMATS). The treaty aimed to distribute revenues derived from the lucrative but disputed Greater Sunrise oil and gas field.

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India's Middle East Policy 2.0

Date: 6 June 2016

India has revamped its Middle East policy. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has laid the foundation for strategic interdependencies with the region by focusing on counterterrorism cooperation, deeper economic and security ties, and by engaging the large Indian diaspora.

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The Lao Garment Industry Risks Being Left Behind

Date: 3 June 2016

The Lao garment industry has been on the decline. The value of exports increased from US$87 million in 1995 to a peak of US$219 million in 2011, before gradually falling to US$174 million in 2015. The share of garments in total exports also declined from an average of 36 percent during 2001–2005, to only 8 percent during 2011–2015.

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Gender-biased Disaster Response

Date: 3 June 2016

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.

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OBOR's Success and the Link to the Chinese Diaspora

Date: 2 June 2016

A multitude of views have coloured the understanding of China’s One Belt, One Road (OBOR) strategy. Some view OBOR through the lens of geopolitical competition and are wary of China’s rise. Yet, the OBOR vision has intrinsic value beyond fears of Chinese geopolitical ambitions. This is especially so in regards to people-to-people connections in which the Chinese diaspora are inexorably involved.

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Japan and Vietnam Team Up to Worry about China

Date: 2 June 2016

Three weeks after assuming office, on 22 April 2016, Vietnamese President Tran Dai Quang was quoted as saying that Japan is ‘one of Vietnam’s most important cooperative partners’. The importance given to the Vietnam–Japan relationship, on both sides, has increased with the changing power configuration in Asia.

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Does Asia's Slowdown Contain Undue Pessimism?

Date: 1 June 2016

A gloomy outlook is enveloping the world’s economies. There are concerns that countries are failing to sufficiently focus on long-term policy responses to reverse the decline in global growth. Some are even arguing that the global growth slowdown may be permanent. However, for developing Asia, this downbeat view is clearly overstated.

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To Achieve Energy Security, Myanmar must First Look Within

Date: 1 June 2016

Myanmar is on track to be a major player in Asia’s energy security. It has an abundance of untapped resources; a geographic location strategically sandwiched between two economic giants (China and India) and has recently opened itself to world markets.

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A New Cultural Revolution is Out, and so is Liberal Democracy

Date: 1 June 2016

This month marks 50 years since the official beginning of China’s Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution. On 16 May 1966, the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party issued an internal circular denouncing ‘revisionists’ in the Party leadership. Prepared by Chairman Mao Zedong, the circular was a warning to Party cadres not to challenge his leadership.

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Pakistan's Labor Productivity Stunts its Economic Growth

Date: 1 June 2016

Since the 1980s, rapid globalisation — driven in part by the unprecedented pace of technological change, especially in information and communications technologies (ICT) — has allowed developing countries such as China and India to achieve exceptionally high rates of economic growth.

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What's In Store for Taiwan?

Date: 31 May 2016

On 20 May, the Democratic Progressive Party’s Tsai Ing-wen was inaugurated as the 14th president of the Republic of China (Taiwan). The ceremony, held in front of the Japanese colonial-era presidential building, included theatrical re-enactments of key themes and events in the history of Taiwan.

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When an FTA Falls Short

Date: 31 May 2016

The South Korea–China Free Trade Agreement (FTA), which entered into effect in December 2015, has proved disappointing. The pact excludes too much economic activity and does too little to propel growth in both countries. As a result, South Korea and China have missed an opportunity to set a new precedent for East Asian economic integration.

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To What Degree is Cambodia Corrupt?

Date: 31 May 2016

Cambodia’s Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU) is doing two things quite effectively. The first is rigorously investigating opposition party leader Kem Sokha for extramarital dalliances and promises of gifts to his mistresses.

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Australia Before and ChAFTA

Date: 31 May 2016

Australia, as in the past, has the potential to play a role in shaping the Asian economic cooperation agenda in a way that deepens regional economic linkages and lifts the growth potential of Asian economies. As the world’s economic gravity continues to shift to Asia, Australia will benefit greatly from being an integral part of Asia’s economic transformation.

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Fixing Sri Lanka's Mess

Date: 27 May 2016

Sri Lanka’s balance of payments is in dire straits. The country’s mounting foreign and domestic public debt, a huge fiscal deficit and a severe foreign exchange shortfall have led to potentially calamitous economic circumstances. Sri Lanka has not yet secured the means to meet its upcoming foreign loan repayments — US$4.5 billion is due over the next year, to be followed by another US$4 billion in the subsequent year.

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Can More Than Energy Bind Tokyo and Moscow?

Date: 27 May 2016

On 16 May 2016, Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister and Presidential Envoy to the Far Eastern district, Yury Trutnev, met with officials from Japanese and Russian energy and metallurgical companies. The meeting followed a summit between Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Russian President Vladimir Putin to discuss enhancing bilateral ties.

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China's Great Firewall

Date: 26 May 2016

For the first time this year, the United States Trade Representative’s (USTR) ‘National Trade Estimate Report’ took note of China’s Great Firewall. Granted, it was with this tame statement: ‘China’s filtering of cross-border Internet traffic has posed a significant burden to foreign suppliers’.

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Is 'Hegemonic Stability' in Asia Obama's Responsibility?

Date: 26 May 2016

At the end of this month, President Obama will become the first sitting US president to visit Hiroshima. The momentous visit is planned around Obama’s trip to nearby Ise-Shima for the G7 Summit. In light of the United States’ consistent pressure on Tokyo and Seoul to bury their own historical debate over the so-called ‘comfort women’, as well as Obama’s initiative to abolish the use of nuclear weapons, this visit is long overdue.

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The Association of Shinto Shrines and the G7 Summit

Date: 25 May 2016

When the leaders of G7 countries descend on Japan later this week, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has taken the opportunity to invite them to visit Ise Shrine as well. Although there were many reasons for the choice of Ise-Shima as location for the summit, it is impossible to ignore the underlying sentiments of religious nationalism.

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Will Duterte Follow Aquino into the South China Sea?

Date: 25 May 2016

Some countries have become wary of China’s aspiration to become a maritime power because the means pursued by the Xi Jinping government — as seen in the disputed South China Sea — appear to ignore the legitimate interests of its smaller neighbours, flout existing international norms and pose risks to regional peace and stability.

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