The paradox of Xi’s political power

Chinese President Xi Jinping during an official ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Peter Drysdale, East Asia Forum

A key pillar of President Xi Jinping’s program of political reform is entrenching the rule of law through developing the idea of ‘Chinese constitutionalism’, or the authority of the Chinese constitution. If he succeeds, one would imagine, the consequences for governance, and ultimately even the Chinese political system, will be profound. Read more…

Crunch time in Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea's Prime Minister Peter O'Neill arrives at an event in Port Moresby in 2013. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Peter Drysdale, East Asia Forum

The talk in Canberra is that the priority in Australia’s diplomacy for 2015 will be its own backyard in the Pacific. This is long overdue, and may be too late. Mending diplomatic fences with Fiji may be one thing; Australia’s ability to have a positive impact on outcomes in Papua New Guinea is likely to be quite another thing altogether. Read more…

The unremarked revolution in China

A customer shops at a supermarket in Huaibei city, China, 10 February 2015. China's inflation plunged to 0.8 per cent in January, its lowest level for more than five years, official data showed. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Peter Drysdale, East Asia Forum

The Chinese economy, one might think if one took most of the commentary on it seriously, is on a hiding to nowhere good. The growth rate is falling. Manufacturing is suffering over-capacity. The real estate bubble has burst, or is about to. The opportunity for productive infrastructure investment is running out. Read more…

The high price of ‘free trade’ with the United States

Shipping containers at P&O’s container yard at Sydney’s Port Botany, 2004. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Peter Drysdale, East Asia Forum

It is well known that the many bilateral FTAs signed to date in Asia have not brought significant commercial or domestic reform or benefits. For one thing, bilateral ‘free trade agreements’ (which are preferential in character) are less likely to deliver substantial trade opening benefits unless the partners to them are a very large part of global trade, like the United States, Europe and China are for example. Read more…

Laying the foundations for Myanmar’s development

Customers sitting with drinks at a traditional roadside coffee shop in downtown Yangon, Myanmar, 28 January 2015. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Peter Drysdale, East Asia Forum

Myanmar’s progress towards a more democratic political system and a more prosperous and productive economy is a story that continues to unfold and that can be expected to surprise. This year is likely to carry more than its share of surprises. Read more…

What will Abe deliver now?

Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe bows after being re-elected, as lawmakers applaud in the Lower House of the Parliament in Tokyo, Japan, 24 December 2014. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Peter Drysdale, East Asia Forum

After a decisive election victory on 14 December, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe would seem to be in an extremely sweet spot to deliver on both his main domestic and international policy agendas. Read more…

Can Taiwan survive in the shadow of China?

Taiwanese students wear colourful hats during the national day anniversary in front of the Presidential Palace in Taipei on 10 October 2014. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Peter Drysdale, East Asia Forum

In the past decade and a half, despite some ups and downs, economic and then political relations between Taiwan and mainland China have gone from strength to strength. The election of Chen Shui-bian as President of Taiwan in 2000 saw a period in which political relations were tense, even though trade shares multiplied rapidly. Read more…