The new nuance in Chinese diplomacy

China's President Xi Jinping during his recent visit to Australia and New Zealand, 21 November 2014. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Peter Drysdale, East Asia Forum

Much energy has been expended on projecting the impact of the rise of Chinese economic power on its political and military might and the strategic contest with the United States. Read more…

Australia and China after their FTA

Chinese president Xi Jinping and Australian prime minister Tony Abbott speak at a press conference following the signing of several memorandums of understanding to strengthen trade in Canberra, 17 November 2014. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Peter Drysdale, East Asia Forum

The past week has seen big breakthroughs in Asia Pacific economic diplomacy. At the APEC summit, Xi Jinping and Shinzo Abe broke the diplomatic ice in the China–Japan relationship. The United States and China paved the way towards extending the successful International Technology Agreement through the WTO. They also did a game-changing deal that will entrench deep cuts to carbon emissions through to 2025–30. Read more…

Global cooperation on lifting growth and other G20 outcomes

G20 leaders wave during the family photo at the G20 Summit in Brisbane, Australia, 15 November 2014. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Peter Drysdale, East Asia Forum

Overall, the economies of Asia are a bull element in global recovery and long term development. The advanced countries, although less so now the United States, remain a drag on the world economy with no sign that Europe is likely to emerge from stagnation any time soon.  Read more…

Japan’s economic experiment

Bank of Japan (BOJ) Governor Haruhiko Kuroda at a press conference at the BOJ headquarters in Tokyo. The Bank of Japan sent a new shock-wave through financial markets last week when Governor Haruhiko Kuroda announced another massive round of monetary expansion. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Peter Drysdale, East Asia Forum

The Bank of Japan sent a new shock-wave through financial markets last week when Governor Haruhiko Kuroda announced another massive round of monetary expansion (Quantitative Easing or QE). The additional boost to the Japanese money supply was accompanied by a sharp lift of 4 per cent in the Nikkei stock market index and the yen falling to a seven-year low against the dollar. Some now fear that the impact of Japan’s monetary expansion will lead to the outbreak of a serious currency war. Read more…

The economic rules of geo-politics

A worker installs pipes in front of an APEC-themed parterre in Beijing, China, 26 October 2014. APEC was built upon the idea of open regionalism and reliance on the global trade rules to secure Asia's future development in the international economy. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Peter Drysdale, East Asia Forum

Regional economic cooperation in Asia and across the Pacific was developed around the idea of open regionalism and building the capacity for regional development in the global, multilateral trading system. Global institutions — the GATT and then the WTO — underpinned Asia’s confidence in deeper integration into the international economy and successful trade and industrial transformation through trade, economic reform and multilateral or unilateral liberalisation. Read more…

Asian cooperation hanging on a handshake

Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe and other regional leaders look on as China’s President Xi Jinping shakes hands with former Indonesian president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono at last year’s APEC meeting in Indonesia. This year there is intense focus on the APEC opportunity to begin to fix the political relationship between China and Japan. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Peter Drysdale, East Asia Forum

The APEC summit is just over a week away and all stops are out in Beijing to make it an economic and diplomatic triumph, despite the huge underlying challenges in managing China’s relations with the region. The primary goals and foundations of APEC are economic — delivering on Asia’s economic development ambitions within the framework of the rules-based global economic system. Read more…

The puzzle of Chinese political power

Chinese President Xi Jinping gives a toast during the National Day reception in a banquet hall at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, 30 September 2014. (Photo: AAP).

Authors: Peter Drysdale, EAF, and Ryan Manuel, ANU

When Xi Jinping ascended to the Chinese presidency, he, Premier Li Keqiang and their streamlined seven-person Politburo Standing Committee faced serious economic challenges at home as well as increasingly complex issues to manage abroad.

Domestically, the Bo Xilai affair hovered over the leadership transition ominously, underlining the need to deal with disquiet among the Chinese public over corruption and the relationship between the state and economic power. Read more…

When the carnival is over: Australia’s surprising G20 legacy

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott addresses representatives of G20 Leaders and Finance Deputies and Central Bank Deputies at the half way point of Australia’s presidency. (Photo: Commonwealth of Australia / Australia 2014 G20 website).

Author: Peter Drysdale, East Asia Forum

The genesis of the G20 is a tale of two crises. The first — the Asian financial crisis — led to the creation of the G20 as a meeting of finance ministers and central bank governors from 19 of the world’s largest economies plus the EU. The second — the global financial crisis — led then-US president George W. Bush to elevate the G20 to a leaders’ level meeting. Read more…

Modi connects with the American dream

Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India speaks to supporters during a community reception on 28 September 2014 at Madison Square Garden in New York. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Peter Drysdale, East Asia Forum

Before his election to India’s prime ministership, Narendra Modi was persona non grata in the United States because of his alleged complicity in the ethnic violence in Gujarat of 2002 in which 790 Muslims and 254 Hindus died, 2500 people were injured, and 223 more were reported missing. Though a subsequent Indian Supreme Court investigation in 2012 cleared him of complicity in the violence, Modi was still banned from entering the United States Read more…

Put up or shut up on China’s infrastructure bank

Chinese president Xi Jinping and Sri Lankan president Mahinda Rajapaksa shake hands at the inauguration of the proposed Harbour City construction in Colombo, Sri Lanka, 17 September 2014. China will try to meet the need for infrastructure through the activities of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Peter Drysdale, East Asia Forum

This year’s G20 summit has rightly given infrastructure investment top priority in engineering long-term recovery of the global economy. Despite continuing signs of recovery in the United States, growth in much of the industrial world remains stagnant and slower growth in emerging economies is yet to bottom out. Lifting global growth towards its long-term potential and avoiding a new normal of low growth will be greatly assisted by filling the US$50 trillion infrastructure gap that the OECD estimates worldwide with productive investment. Read more…

China and India’s growing strategic weight

An Indian national flag is flown next to the Chinese national emblem. China and India will be at the core of the Asian powerhouse over the coming decades. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Peter Drysdale, Editor, East Asia Forum

The visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping to India this week, so early in the term of India’s new prime minister, Narendra Modi, underlines the growing strategic weight of the relationship between the two countries. Modi’s prime ministership, with its ambition to re-invigorate India’s stalled economic reform and growth, more than any other single factor, promises to accelerate its potential growth radically. Modi has runs on the board with China in bringing Chinese investors to his home state, Gujarat — as of last year about 20 Chinese companies had set up shop — and through his personal engagement. Read more…

Can Modi move India?

Indian revellers wave national flags during a ceremony to celebrate India’s 68th Independence Day on 15 August 2014. The honeymoon seems be over for the Modi government. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Peter Drysdale, Editor, East Asia Forum

A hundred days into the Modi prime ministership of India, the signals are mixed. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its allies have taken a hiding in a series of state polls and by-elections. And supporters and critics alike are already baying about a massive electoral mandate that has been squandered.

The ‘honeymoon’ seems be over for the Modi government, but is this a sign of its prospects for the long term? Read more…

Securing Pakistan’s democracy?

Pakistan's army chief General Raheel Sharif. He is positioned to mediate the stand-off between Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and opposition demonstrators on the streets of Islamabad. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Peter Drysdale, Editor, East Asia Forum

The two-week-old political crisis in Pakistan took a sharp new turn over the past few days as the military leader, General Raheel Sharif, positioned to mediate the stand-off between Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and opposition demonstrators on the streets of Islamabad, led by cleric Mohammed Tahir-ul-Qadri and his ally cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan. Whether Prime Minister Sharif or Tahir-ul-Qadri and Khan initiated the move to military mediation and how the military has played into the development of the crisis itself are questions that are at this stage difficult to determine. Read more…

Chinese state-owned enterprise investment in Australia

Chinese president Xi Jinping greets Australian prime minister Tony Abbott in Beijing on 11 April 2014. There is intense focus on how the investment chapter of the Australia-China FTA will treat the access of Chinese state-owned enterprises to the Australian investment market. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Peter Drysdale, Editor, East Asia Forum

As the negotiation of the Australia–China Free Trade Agreement (FTA) moves into what is hopefully its final phase, there is intense focus on how the investment chapter of the FTA will treat the access of Chinese state-owned enterprises to the Australian investment market.

Currently all investment proposals by state-owned enterprises (SOEs) are subject to screening by Australia’s Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB), no matter what their scale or country of origin. Read more…

The promise of a Jokowi presidency in Indonesia

Indonesian presidential candidate Joko Widodo gestures after delivering his victory address in Jakarta on 22 July 2014 as the General Elections Commission declared Widodo the winner. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Peter Drysdale, Editor, East Asia Forum

Most would concede that the contest that saw the election of Joko Widodo (Jokowi) as Indonesia’s next president was a tough test for democratic transition in Indonesia. The election campaign was certainly one with an edge to it — ‘one of the dirtiest election campaigns in Indonesian history’, as Marcus Mietzner has called it. There are still legal appeals to be heard, but the size of Jokowi’s victory and the very public evidence on the count, make anything but confirmation of the result a most unlikely outcome. Read more…