Japan’s defence and diplomacy heading in the wrong direction

Protesters walk towards the National Diet building in a demonstration march on 28 July 2015 against the Abe government’s controversial security bills which would expand the remit of the country's armed forces. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Arthur Stockwin, Oxford University

Japan is at a momentous turning point. On 16 July 2015 the government of Shinzo Abe used its big majority in the House of Representatives to override objections from opposition parties and pass legislation permitting collective self-defence (CSD). But this is one of several misdirected solutions following years of conservative revisionism. Read more…

How restrictive are ASEAN’s Rules of Origin?

Workers arrange baskets full of different kinds of fish at the Kota Kinabalu central fish market in the Malaysian Borneo state of Sabah on 14 June 2015. Simplifying rules of origin could aid ASEAN economies’ food exports. (Photo: AAP).

Authors: Olivier Cadot, University of Lausanne and Lili Yan Ing, ERIA

Asia accounts for more than 50 per cent of the world’s automobile production, 62 per cent of liquid display screen, 86 per cent of smart phones and 100 per cent of digital cameras. Much of this production is based on production networks: that is, value chains that criss-cross the region, with the various stages of the production of each good taking place in different countries, depending on the comparative advantage of each. Read more…

2015 is the year of Chinese cyber power

US Secretary of State John Kerry shakes hands with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing, China, May 17, 2015. Tensions are growing between the U.S. and China over suspicions that Beijing was behind the biggest cyber breach of federal personnel records. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Greg Austin, EastWest Institute

In February 2014 Chinese President Xi Jingping declared his intent to do everything necessary for China to become a cyber power. Since then Xi and his government have been hyperactive on all relevant fronts: political, legal, economic, organisational and diplomatic. The Chinese leadership’s attention became even more focused on cyber issues in May 2014 when the United States indicted five Chinese military personnel for cyber espionage involving commercial secrets of US-based corporations. Read more…

Bougainville looks towards the referendum at 2015 election

Panguna villagers vote in Papua New Guinea's autonomous region of Bougainville back in May, 2010. This was the second ever general election and the tiny Pacific island now prepares for the 2015 referendum on full independence from PNG. (Photo: AAP)

Authors: Kerryn Baker and Thiago Cintra Oppermann, ANU

Bougainville went to the polls in May 2015 for the third Autonomous Bougainville Government election since the Bougainville Peace Agreement was signed in 2001. The election was a significant political milestone for the region, marking the beginning of a five-year window in which a referendum on independence is scheduled to be held. It also saw the first woman member of the House of Representatives to be elected in an open seat, Josephine Getsi of Peit constituency. Read more…

Why fears over the Australia–China FTA are overblown

A protestor wears a mask of Federal Opposition Leader Bill Shorten as unionists call for the rewriting of the China free trade agreement outside the 2015 ALP National Conference at the Melbourne Convention Centre in Melbourne, Friday, July 24, 2015. (Photo: AAP)

Author: James Laurenceson, ACRI

After 10 years of negotiations and the official signing in June 2015, the Australia–China free trade agreement (FTA) still isn’t a done deal. A coalition of Australian trade unions is seeking to ‘stop the China FTA’ at the final hurdle, a vote in federal parliament. Read more…

ASEAN yet to lay the foundations of the AEC

The flags of the ten ASEAN member nations fly as representatives of Burma's ethnic groups await the arrival of the leaders for the opening ceremony of the 25th ASEAN summit in Naypyitaw, Myanmar, 12 November 2014. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Pattharapong Rattanasevee, Burapha University

The ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) is set to arrive at the end of 2015. It is a significant step forward and could be a crucial turning point for ASEAN. But without a strong central authority and mandate, ASEAN integration will remain in a mess and the AEC remain an illusion. Read more…

China needs to turn its capital ideas into SOE reform

Pedestrians walk past a branch of State Grid Corporation of China, a major state-owned enterprise, in Hubei province, China, 8 July 2015. (Photo: AAP).

Authors: Zhengjun Zhang and Sarah Du, King Parallel

State-owned enterprise (SOE) reform in China has come a long way.

SOEs contribute to 23.4 per cent of industrial revenue and 21.6 per cent of profits — a significant drop from more than 80 per cent of both industrial revenue and profits at the start of the reform and opening up in the late 1970s. Read more…