China flexes its muscles at APEC with the revival of FTAAP

United States President Barack Obama and China's President Xi Jinping in Beijing at the APEC CEO Summit on 10 November 2014. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Mireya Solís, Brookings Institution

The 2014 APEC leaders’ summit witnessed a string of successes in Chinese trade diplomacy. Key among these successes was the endorsement of China’s signature trade initiative as APEC host: the realisation sooner rather than later of a Free Trade Area of the Asia Pacific (FTAAP). Read more…

Why the AIIB presents an opportunity for New Zealand

China's President Xi Jinping walks with New Zealand's Prime Minister John Key after attending a meeting with the New Zealand-China Council in Auckland on November 21 2014. (Photo: AAP)

Authors: Cassandra Shih, Victoria University of Wellington, and Benedict Xu-Holland, ANU.

So far 20 countries have taken up China’s open invitation to found the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). Notably absent at the signing were Australia, Indonesia and South Korea, who did not definitively respond to the invitation. Until a week before the signing it seemed likely that Australia would join, but it eventually withdrew, citing ongoing transparency concerns similar to those voiced by US officials. The US likely sees the new bank as a threat to the US and Japan’s status as the regional norm-shapers of development finance. Read more…

Remembrance, reconciliation and the East Asian memory wars

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Author: Tessa Morris-Suzuki, ANU

‘The past’, as William Faulkner once wrote, ‘is not dead, it isn’t even past’. Nowhere is this more true than in today’s East Asia. The recent ‘memory wars’ between the countries of the region — particularly (though not exclusively) between Japan and its neighbours China and Korea — are eloquent testimony to the power of the past to haunt the present and influence the course of domestic and international politics. Read more…

Abbott’s awkward APEC moment

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Author: James Laurenceson, ACRI

Forget shirt-fronting Russian President Vladimir Putin. Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s most challenging task in the summit season was breaking an uncomfortable silence with Chinese president Xi Jinping. And he had to do it twice: first at the APEC meeting in Beijing and again at the G20 in Brisbane. 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…

US–China agreement presages a change in the air

President Obama at a tree-planting ceremony at the APEC Summit in Beijing. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Frank Jotzo, ANU

The joint Chinese–American announcement of emissions targets brings the world a big step closer to meaningful post-2020 action on climate change. Barack Obama in his Brisbane speech made it clear where the two superpowers see things going: ‘If China and the United States can agree on this, then the world can agree on this’. Read more…

Lifting Australia’s influence on China

A woman holds Chinese and Australian national flags as she waits to catch a glimpse of China's President Xi Jinping as he drives by during the G20 Summit in Brisbane, Australia, 16 November 2014. (Photo: AAP).

Author: He Fan, CASS and ANU

Chinese President Xi Jinping is attending the 9th G20 Summit in Brisbane and is about to make a formal state visit to Australia. It could be a historic time for strengthening strategic cooperation between Australia and China. Read more…

Who calls the shots on Australia’s foreign policy?

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott offically welcomes China's President Xi Jinping to the G20 Leaders' Summit in Brisbane on 15 November, 2014. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Kerry Brown, University of Sydney

On hearing that Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott pulled away from involvement in the Chinese development bank because of US pressure, a cynical observer might assume that Canberra’s policy towards China is signed off in Washington. Hardened Chinese diplomats may well tell President Xi Jinping that if he wants any decisions about Australian foreign policy towards China he might as well cut out the middle man and talk directly to the State Department in the US. Read more…

After a big year for APEC, what next?

US President Barack Obama talks with China's President Xi Jinping during a meeting after participating in the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit at the Zhongnanhai leadership compound in Beijing Tuesday, November 11, 2014. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Yuen Pau Woo, Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada

The APEC summit has only just ended, but like the return of hazy skies over Beijing, clouds of uncertainty surrounding the regional forum have again drifted overhead. This is familiar weather for APEC, a grouping that has faced questions about its future for well over a decade. Read more…

China’s third quarter figures beat expectations but fall short of a knockout

A Chinese customer shops for cooking oil at a supermarket in Luoyang city, Henan province, China, 4 November 2014. In the third quarter consumption’s share of Chinese GDP hit 48.5 per cent but the contribution of consumption to year-to-date growth actually fell from 4 percentage points. (Photo: AAP).

Author: James Laurenceson, ACRI

The global economy breathed a sigh of relief last month with the release of China’s third quarter growth numbers. The result of 7.3 per cent was down from 7.5 per cent in the previous quarter but came in a touch above consensus forecasts. The result was sufficiently robust for worries about a hard landing to retreat significantly.

Global growth has come to depend upon China more than ever. Read more…

Meeting the challenge of China’s rise in Asia

South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se shakes hands with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Beijng, China, 07 November 2014, as they discuss North Korea's nuclear ambitions and an upcoming summit meeting between President Park Geun-hye and Chinese President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation gathering. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Donald K. Emmerson, Stanford University

On 10 November 2014 a summit of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum will convene in Beijing, followed in rapid succession by the East Asia Summit in Naypyidaw and the G20 in Brisbane.

Much of what will be said and done at these events will implicate the tectonics of nascent global governance set in motion by China’s campaign for greater influence in Asia. Read more…

TPPing APEC?

Chinese women pose for photos in front of a decoration for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders' Week at the Olympic Park in Beijing, China, 4 November 2014. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Jayant Menon, ADB

The race is on between the United States and China to dominate the rules-setting game for trade by being the first to be able to announce plans for a free trade area in the Pacific Rim. China hopes to use its position as chair of APEC this year to propose that a feasibility study on a Free Trade Agreement for the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP), first mooted in 2006, be pursued. Read more…

China’s dim sum bonds need to develop a new flavour

A customer walks towards a branch of ICBC in Rizhao city, east China's Shandong province, 10 October 2014. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Thiam Hee Ng, ADB

The offshore renminbi bond market has boomed since the Chinese authorities first allowed domestic banks to issue them in Hong Kong in June 2007. But appetite for the paper — popularly known as ‘dim sum bonds’ — is starting to wane as access to onshore markets becomes easier. To stay relevant, the dim sum market must develop further. Read more…

Hard line or soft line? Xi Jinping’s diplomatic choices

Wellwishers greet Xi Jinping, then China’s vice-president, at Haneda airport in December 2009. As president, Xi has the responsibility for promoting peace, tolerance and international trust, and at the same time building ‘powerful armies’ and a ‘strong maritime nation’. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Satoshi Amako, Waseda University

Xi Jinping has tackled serious domestic and foreign policy challenges since he assumed leadership in November 2012. He has put great effort into an astonishingly large-scale domestic anti-corruption campaign and has invested diplomatically in enhancing China’s image as a major country and leader in the region.

Xi’s mission, emphasised repeatedly after the 18th Communist Party Congress, is realising the ‘Chinese dream’. Read more…

How Washington will annoy friends and influence nobody on Asian infrastructure

Chinese President Xi Jinping poses for photos with the guests of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China 24 October 2014. 21 Asian countries are the founding members of the AIIB. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Scott Morris, Center for Global Development

If you want to understand the negative reaction of the United States to the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), you also need to understand how the United States thinks about the World Bank and Asian Development Bank (ADB). Of course, first and foremost, these institutions engage in ‘development’, providing financing and knowledge to promote economic growth and poverty reduction in developing countries. But for leading shareholders like the United States, they are also important instruments of strategic influence. Read more…