Asia Pacific

  • Can Duterte execute his plan for the Philippines?

    Philippine's Duterte needs to Spend Political Capital Wisely

    The Philippines has concluded its elections with Rodrigo Duterte coming from out of nowhere only to gallop passed better-known political figures and snatch the presidency. Duterte was a long-serving mayor of Davao City and, except for a brief tenure as a member of the House of Representatives, has not been a national political figure. Unlike other candidates who have long cherished the job, Duterte didn’t appear to harbour presidential ambitions until only a few months before the national elections in May 2016.

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  • Permanent borders seem to be the basis for Timor-Leste's sovereignty fight.

    Timor-Leste's Quest for Sovereignty

    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 Modi revamps his Middle-East strategy.

    India's Middle East Policy 2.0

    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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  • Laos garment industry has been in decline in recent years.

    The Lao Garment Industry Risks Being Left Behind

    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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  • There is very little bad news in Australia's economic health report.

    Cheers to Australia's GDP

    It is hard to find any bad news in the latest quarterly GDP result. GDP growth of 1.1% for the March quarter (0.9% trend) puts annual growth just over 3%.

    The Federal Budget and subsequent Pre-election Economic and Fiscal Outlook (PEFO) forecast for 2.5% for the current fiscal year 2015-16 looks likely to be comfortably exceeded. The figures indicate that, for the moment at least, the economy is tracking at or above its potential.

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  • Overseas Chinese may be the key to OBOR success.

    OBOR's Success and the Link to the Chinese Diaspora

    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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  • Myanmar can achieve energy security with some work on insecurities.

    To Achieve Energy Security, Myanmar must First Look Within

    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.

    Yet the Southeast Asian nation faces internal and external challenges in developing a competitive energy sector. To create an investment friendly environment, Myanmar must first address internal security issues such as ethnic conflict while juggling its external relationships with China and the West.

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  • China may not see a cultural revolution, or democracy, in its future.

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

    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 growth rate has plummeted since the 1980s.

    Pakistan's Labor Productivity Stunts its Economic Growth

    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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  • Taiwan's Tsai Ing-wen delivers her inaugural address.

    What's In Store for Taiwan?

    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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