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.

Fiji's Rabuka Returns to Lead SODELPA

Date: 9 August 2016

In September 2014, Prime Minster Voreqe Bainimarama’s FijiFirst party swept to victory in an election that heralded Fiji’s return to elected government, almost eight years after Bainimarama seized power in a military coup. In securing his position as a democratically elected leader, Bainimarama also confirmed a political truism in Fijian politics: whoever assumes power because of a coup, consolidates power through the first post-coup ballot.

Read more

Trump and South Korea...Unraveling the Raveled?

Date: 6 August 2016

The Republican and Democratic National Conventions have confirmed that each presidential candidate has very different foreign policy outlooks. At the heart of each platform are different fears, threat perceptions and understandings of the United States’ place in the world — including its commitment to its treaty allies.

Read more

How did China Accumulate so much Corporate Debt?

Date: 3 August 2016

Since the mid-2000s, Chinese corporate debt has risen sharply as a proportion of GDP — from around 100 percent to 164 percent in 2015. By comparison, this ratio is 67 percent in the United States and 103 percent in Japan. The rapid build-up of debt has prompted concerns regarding China’s financial and macroeconomic stability.

Read more

Malaysia's 1MDB Highlights Deeper Problems

Date: 3 August 2016

The 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) scandal in Malaysia, which has recently become the subject of a high-profile lawsuit by the United States Department of Justice’s asset recovery initiative, highlights the problems with state-ownership in the Malaysian economy.

Read more

RCEP: So Far, a Tale of Missed Deadlines

Date: 2 August 2016

Over the last few years, negotiations for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) have provoked waves of criticism and suspicion in the Asia Pacific. Today, the kinds of criticism that burdened the TPP — that the negotiations were slow and tedious, and that the agreement needs more transparency and accountability — are being applied to the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).

Read more

Japan Gender Gap Scorecard

Date: 2 August 2016

Women in Japan voted and stood for office for the first time on 10 April 1946. It was the country’s first postwar election and the first election after the Japanese government amended the Electoral Law to include women. Of the 79 female candidates, 39 were elected to Japan’s national parliament, the Diet.

Read more

Shaping a New Normal in the South China Sea

Date: 2 August 2016

Almost 30 years to the day that a young, Harvard-trained American lawyer won a famous judgment at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) against the United States, Paul S Reichler pulled off another momentous victory at The Hague. This time the judgment was against China for having breached its international treaty obligations in the South China Sea.

Read more

Can President Xi's Administration Wipe Out Poverty?

Date: 1 August 2016

China has had remarkable success in alleviating poverty. According to World Bank statistics, over the past several decades China has accounted for more than 70 percent of reductions in global poverty. The poverty-stricken population in China has plunged from 770 million people in 1978 — the year before economic reforms began — to 55.8 million in 2015. In addition, the Human Development Index (HDI) for China has improved by 43 percent between 1990 and 2013, compared to an improvement of 17.6 percent globally.

Read more

The Flashpoint that is the South China Sea

Date: 1 August 2016

Clearing the haze of speculation, the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) handed down its ruling on the maritime dispute between China and the Philippines on 12 July. The Philippines filed the case under Annex VII of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) in 2013. The Tribunal found that China’s claimed ‘nine-dash line’ has no legal basis under UNCLOS and China could claim no ‘historic rights’ to resources in the South China Sea.

Read more

Government Support of SMEs would keep Vietnam's Garment Industry Humming

Date: 1 August 2016

Vietnam has transformed from one of the world’s poorest countries to a lower middle-income economy in just 25 years. Beginning in 1986, Vietnam undertook key structural reforms in various areas, including state-owned enterprise (SOE) reform, private sector development, financial reform, public expenditure management and trade liberalisation.

Read more

The Brexit as an ASEAN Kickstarter

Date: 29 July 2016

The European Union and ASEAN have very different models of economic integration. Yet ASEAN and its members worry about what Britain’s exit from the European Union may mean for the future of ASEAN.

Read more

Women Running for High Office, this One in Tokyo

Date: 29 July 2016

On 31 July, just over 11 million voters in Tokyo will be asked to return to the ballot boxes to vote for a new governor. This will happen just three weeks after the conservative Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) government under Shinzo Abe was returned to power in the upper house.

Read more

Takedown: Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Razak

Date: 28 July 2016

Last week the US Department of Justice (DoJ) announced that it was taking action to seek ‘the forfeiture and recovery of more than US$1 billion in assets’ related to 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB). This action will likely start the process that will eventually lead to the removal of Najib Razak, Malaysia’s sixth prime minister.

Read more

Trump Leads the Republicans to Splitsville on Trade

Date: 28 July 2016

No issue better illustrates the agony and self-inflicted wounds in the Republican Party than the Trump-inspired clashes over the future of US trade policy.  While the Democratic Party has been wracked by deep divisions over trade for three decades — fuelled by opposition from key constituents such as labour and environmentalist organisations — Republicans have been fairly united in the belief that international trade agreements represented an extension of domestic doctrines of deregulation and market competition to the international level.

Read more

International Investment Law's Future Includes Asia

Date: 27 July 2016

European and North American capital exporting countries have shaped international investment law for most of its history. They pushed for the customary international minimum standard of protection, forged the classical model of bilateral investment treaties (BITs) and now drive the present recalibration of international investment law.

Read more

For China, Investment is not a Two-Way Street

Date: 27 July 2016

China is unusual in that it is a developing country that has emerged as a major investor. China itself is an important destination for foreign direct investment (FDI), and opening to the outside world has been an important part of its reform program since 1978. However, China’s policy is to steer FDI to particular sectors.

Read more

Thailand not Quite Prepared for the King's Passing

Date: 26 July 2016

After some months of uncertainty, a representative from Thailand’s Democrats Party last week declared in a televised seminar that the party would not support the proposed draft constitution in the 7 August referendum. This follows an earlier declaration from the pro-Thaksin Puea Thai party that it also opposed the draft.

Read more

East Asian Pop Culture Softens and Reaches a Larger Market

Date: 26 July 2016

Descendants of the Sun, a South Korean TV drama featuring a romance between a soldier and a surgeon in a fictional war-torn nation, is reigniting K-drama fever across Asia. In China alone, where the program is simultaneously broadcast online, it has drawn more than 2.4 billion views on video-streaming website iQIYI since it began airing in late February.

Read more

You Say You Want a Constitution (Change)

Date: 25 July 2016

Following the 10 July upper house elections the Abe government now has the two-thirds majority in both houses of the Diet necessary to pass constitutional amendments. So what are the likely consequences?

Read more