Reading between the lines of Tsai Ing-wen’s inaugural address

Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen smiles at supporters as she arrives to vote for party officials in Taipei, Taiwan, 22 May 2016. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Mark Harrison, University of Tasmania

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. Read more…

Strike one for trade agreements in Northeast Asia

South Korean President Park Geun-hye walks with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang to hold a trilateral summit at the presidential house in Seoul, South Korea, 1 November 2015. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Editors, East Asia Forum

Northeast Asia is a geo-politically complicated region. The two Asian giants Japan and China have at best a difficult political relationship. South Korea has unresolved history issues with Japan. The cross-Strait relationship between Taiwan and China appears to be improving but will always have to be treated with care. Read more…

South Korea–China FTA falls short on reform

South Korean President Park Geun-hye and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang shake hands ahead of their talks at the presidential office in Seoul, 31 October 2015. (Photo: AAP).

Authors: Jeffrey J. Schott and Euijin Jung, PIIE

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. Read more…

Putting Cambodian corruption into context


Author: Courtney Work, Chiangmai University

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. Read more…

Asian integration a key part of Australia’s economic transition

Author: Shiro Armstrong, ANU

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. Read more…

Responding to Sri Lanka’s economic crisis

Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirsena arrives in New Delhi, India. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Iromi Dharmawardhane, ISAS

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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Japan–Russia relations need more than just energy

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Russian President Vladimir Putin meet in Sochi, Russia. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Anthony V. Rinna, Sino-NK

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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