ASEAN: between China and America

US Secretary of State John Kerry walks with Brunei Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Prince Mohamed Bolkiah, Australia's Foreign Minister Bob Carr, right, and other ministers at the ASEAN security conference in Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei on 1 July 2013 (Photo: AAP).

Author: Heng Sarith, Cambodian Institute for Cooperation and Peace

Where is ASEAN going right now? Cambodia had a difficult year as ASEAN Chair in 2012,  struggling with unfortunate regional tension on the issue of South China Sea, which resulted in ASEAN’s disunity for the first time in 45 years.

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Will RCEP compete with the TPP?

World leaders at the East Asia Summit in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, on Tuesday, 20 November 2012, where the RCEP was launched. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Beginda Pakpahan, UI

Competition appears likely to emerge between ASEAN’s Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), an agreement to launch negotiations for which was reached at the East Asia Summit (EAS) in Phnom Penh on 20 November, and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

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China and the future of Asia Pacific trade

US President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping at a bilateral meeting at the Annenberg Retreat at Sunnylands in Rancho Mirage, California, on 7 June, 2013. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Peter Drysdale, Editor, East Asia Forum

The backbone of stability and amity in Asia and the Pacific is an open economic system, which has encouraged deep trade and investment interdependence within the region, and the United States security umbrella that provides reassurance to US allies and partners as well as those, like China, outside the alliance framework against a resurgence of military or political adventurism. Read more…

Why the RCEP matters for Asia and the world

Delegates from 16 Asia Pacific nations pose for photos in Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei, on 9 May 2013, prior to the first round of negotiations of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Ganeshan Wignaraja, ADBI

Mega-regional trade deals are in vogue.

Negotiations for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) are grabbing headlines around the world. Meanwhile, Asia’s own mega-regional trade deal — the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) — is quietly being negotiated. Read more…

Japan, US and the TPP: the view from China

Japanese Prime Minister Shizo Abe shakes hands with US President Barack Obama after their summit meeting in the Oval Office at the White House, in Washington DC on 22 February 2013. The two leaders confirmed that Japan would participate in the talks of Trans-Pacfic Partnership (Photo: AAP).

Author: Aurelia George Mulgan, UNSW Canberra

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzō Abe successfully stared down opposition from the domestic farm lobby and his own ruling party to take Japan into the TPP negotiations. The other half of the equation — gaining the consent of TPP negotiating countries to Japan’s entry — was sealed at the recent APEC ministerial meeting in Indonesia.

But what does Japan’s largest trading partner, China, think of these developments? Read more…

Abe’s defence ambitions alarm region

Camouflaged members of Japanese Ground Self Defense Forces airbourne troop hold automatic rifles on a UH 1 helicopter during the new year exercise in Narashino in Chiba prefecture, suburban Tokyo on 12 January, 2014. A total of 300 personnels, 21 aircrafts and helicopters took part in the open exercise at the defense forces Narashino training ground. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Gui Yongtao, Peking University

The move by Shinzo Abe’s administration toward lifting the ban on the exercise of the right to collective self-defence is not driven by the imperatives of the US-Japan alliance, nor by Japan’s internationalist aspirations to contribute more to global peace. Read more…

A critical look at the ASEAN Economic Community Scorecard

ASEAN Secretary General Dr Surin Pitsuwan speaks at the ASEAN secretariat ahead of a speech by New Zealand Prime Minister John Key in Jakarta, Indonesia on Monday, 16 April 2012. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Sanchita Basu Das, ISEAS

The official ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) Scorecard, published by the ASEAN Secretariat in March 2012, stipulated that ASEAN had achieved 67.5 per cent of its targets for the 2008–11 period.

While the fourth pillar of the blueprint, ‘integration into the global economy’, was the best performer at 85.7 per cent, the first pillar on ‘single market and production base’ was the worst performer, with 65.9 per cent over the same period.

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Comparing North Korea to East Germany

North Korean defectors demand the passing of North Korea peoples human rights laws from National Assembly at a protest earlier this month. Will South Korea have the resources to demand unification? (Photo: AAP)

Author: Robert Edwin Kelly, PNU

Whenever it comes, Korean unification will be more expensive per capita, more destabilising and more prone to outside intervention than that of Germany.

Examining the similarities between these two states, North Korea and East Germany have (or, of course in the case of East Germany, had) all the problems of the 20th century’s ‘real existing socialism’, controlled by a corrupt ‘red bourgeoisie’ for whom regime ideology justifies oligarchy and luxury. Read more…