Asia Pacific

  • Cambodia is executing a ruthless zero-sum economic game.

    To What Degree is Cambodia Corrupt?

    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.

    The second is ensuring that the sons of Om Yentieng, the head of ACU, have secure jobs within the government. Meanwhile, four ministers who were charged anonymously with nepotism, misuse of funds, misuse of government vehicles and overpayment for purchased items have been cleared of all charges.

    view 0

  • Australia's Treasurer Morrison and Shadow Bowen could not be more different.

    Treasurer vs. Shadow Treasurer: Fight!

    While watching the debate between the Treasurer Scott Morrison and Shadow Treasurer Chris Bowen today at the National Press Club one would not find much in the way of new information, compared to what has been outlined during the budget and debated in the course of the subsequent election campaign.

    Meanwhile, one would wonder if the two contenders for the top economic management job in Australia live in the same country.

    view 0

  • Sri Lanka's economic situation is deteriorating rapidly.

    Fixing Sri Lanka's Mess

    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.

    view 0

  • China's industrial capacity is far too big for it to absorb.

    China's Industrial Capacity is as Big as...China

    For various reasons, well beyond the scope of this short note, China has amassed huge industrial capacity, well beyond its ability to absorb.  In part, that is one of the challenges that the "One Belt One Road" addresses.  Export the spare capacity by building infrastructure, networking east and central Asia (included parts of the former Soviet Union and the Middle East.

    view 0

  • Japan's Abe will invite G7 leaders to Ise Shrine for a good reason.

    The Association of Shinto Shrines and the G7 Summit

    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.

    view 0

  • Duterte may chart his own course into the South China Sea.

    Will Duterte Follow Aquino into the South China Sea?

    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.

    view 0

  • President Duterte is flamboyant, but backs it up with actions.

    Philippine President Duterte Walks the Walk

    There may be more to the Philippines’ new president Rodrigo Duterte than his tough guy image indicates. In the populist theatrics that are Filipino politics, the overwhelming election of Duterte should not have come as a surprise, even with common, but inaccurate, comparisons to the US presidential candidate Donald Trump. Unlike Trump, Duterte is an active Filipino politician and, unlike Trump, his rhetorical bluster is backed by action.

    view 0

  • Can Taiwan's new President assuage the scars of martial law?

    Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen’s Election Victory is Relative

    On 20 May Tsai Ing-wen was inaugurated as president of Taiwan, following her sweeping victory in the January elections. Members of her party, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), have already taken up their majority seats in the Legislative Yuan, Taiwan’s parliament.

    Since the election, Tsai has assembled her new cabinet and made senior government appointments. These include Dr. David Lee as minister for foreign affairs and Katharine Chang as chair of the Mainland Affairs Council.

    view 0

  • The U.S. has made three high-profile visits to India in the name of defense.

    U.S. Interest in India's Defense Needs is Way Up

    On 10–13 April, US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter paid his third visit in just 30 months to India — the seventh by a US Defense Secretary since 2008. The frequency of high-level visits reflects the prominence accorded to New Delhi within the Pentagon’s emerging strategy towards the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.

    view 0