For the internet age, Taiwan’s ICT industry needs a new model

A mother and daughter try a new laptop at a major electronics market in Taipei, Taiwan. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Andy Yee, Hong Kong

Taiwan has long been a world leader in high-tech hardware manufacturing, with roots all the way back to the era of export-oriented industrialisation in the 1960s. Its companies command huge market shares in critical ICT products, ranging from computer chips and smartphones to personal computers. Read more…

The twin faces of Japanese nationalism

An elderly man holds a national flag and bows as he pays a tribunal visit to Yasukuni Shrine in  Tokyo to mark the anniversary of the end of World War II. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Andy Yee, Hong Kong

As George Orwell put it in Nineteen Eighty-Four, ‘[w]ho controls the past controls the future’.

In contemporary Japan, national memory is an ideological battleground. The future of Japan’s nationalism, its postwar pacifist regime, and the international relations of the Asia Pacific depend on whose history prevails. Read more…

International cyber war: limits and possibilities

Cybercrime computer security expert, Mikko H. Hypponen, giving us a great talk at TEDx Brussels on cyber security, online attacks, and the freedom of the internet. (Photo: Flickr user PhOtOnQuAnTiQuE)

Author: Andy Yee, Hong Kong

A recent Bloomberg report declared the China-based hacking of hundreds of US companies a ‘cyber Cold War’.

In August 2010, after Japanese firm Mitsubishi Heavy Industries became the subject of cyber attacks from China, one commentator in the Financial Times suggested that cyber threats might provide new common ground to re-energise the traditional military security alliance between the US and Japan. Read more…

China and its territorial disputes: One approach does not fit all

Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping (C) is welcomed by wellwishers up his arrival at Haneda airport in Tokyo on December 14, 2009. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Andy Yee, Hong Kong

International relations in Asia last year were characterised by conspicuous territorial disputes in the South China Sea — between China, the US and ASEAN — and the East China Sea — between China and Japan.

No doubt, China’s growing territorial assertiveness is an important factor in these disputes, which are geographically close and driven by economic and strategic considerations. However, attributing such conflict as simply an inevitable consequence of China’s rising power would be to misjudge the nuanced state of international affairs, and its different dynamics. Read more…

The Diaoyu/Senkaku dispute: Japan’s quiet power

Protesters carries a banner that reads 'Japan get out of Diaoyu Island' and chant slogans during an anti-Japan protest outside the Japanese Embassy in Beijing, on September 18, 2010. (Photo: AP Photo/Andy Wong)

Author: Andy Yee

On 7 September, two Japan Coast Guard patrol ships collided with a Chinese fishing boat while they carried out ‘law enforcement activities’ in the waters of the Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands. Zhan Qixiong, 41, is now in detention by the order of an Okinawa local court, sparking demonstrations in Beijing and diplomatic protests from China. On the day of collision, China’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu demanded ‘Japanese patrol boats refrain from so-called law enforcement activities in waters off the Diaoyu islands.’ Japanese Ambassador to China, Uichiro Niwa, was summoned four times over the incident, the last call being made by State Councillor Dai Bingguo.

Meanwhile, Mr Niwa showed no indication that Japan is going to back down, and maintained that Japan will ‘solemnly handle the case in strict accordance with domestic law.’ Read more…

Asian economic integration? Address domestic inequalities

A child worker transporting wood he has collected from a dump site to an outside charcoal factory in Manilla, the Philippines on November 17, 2008. (Photo: Flickr user 'Mio Cade (in Bali)')

Author: Andy Yee, University of London

At the 12th ASEAN Summit in the Philippines three years ago, ASEAN leaders affirmed their commitment to an ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) by 2015 and to transform ASEAN into a region with free movement of goods, services, labour and capital. Earlier this year ASEAN committed to further regional integration when FTAs with Australia, New Zealand and China came into effect on January 1. While the long-term advantages of closer regional economic cooperation are immense, one cannot help questioning to what extent economic integration can develop Asia. A large part of ‘Factory Asia’ is developed at the expense of export reliance to the West and inequality within countries.

To fully realise the region’s potential, East Asian economies need to re-balance their development strategy away from exports to the West towards fostering local demand. Read more…

Engaging Central Asia: the EU-Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) axis

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, center, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, right, and former Kyrgyzstan Prime Minister Igor Chudinov, left, at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. (photo: AP)

Author: Andy Yee, University of London

On 1 August 2009, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, the new NATO secretary general, took office. Surrounding this are recent debates over how NATO should engage with the recently expanded network of security actors. The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) is mentioned on several occasions.

In a conference in Brussels on July 7 about NATO’s new Strategic Concept, Carnegie Moscow Center Director Dmitri Trenin pointed out that NATO would be right to engage in a structured dialogue with the SCO, which has risen to become a platform for regional stability in Central Asia. Read more…