Supporters of an Australian iron cartel have a monopoly on bad economics

Grab buckets unload imported iron ore on a quay at the Port of Rizhao in east China's Shandong province, 7 February 2015. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Luke Hurst, ANU

As Australia moves away from a decade of resource-driven prosperity, it is even more important that it avoid mistakes that previously might have been papered over by the boom times. Yet there are loud voices calling for the mistakes of the past to be made again. One of the loudest is that of Australian mining company Fortescue’s non-executive chairman, Andrew ‘Twiggy’ Forrest. Read more…

Slow but steady for the ASEAN Economic Community

Thai office workers walk past advertising promoting the ASEAN Economic Community in Bangkok on 13 January 2013. The AEC is unlikely to be ready by its deadline. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Sanchita Basu Das, ISEAS

As the ASEAN Economic Community’s (AEC) December 2015 deadline approaches, most observers feel that the initiative’s deliverables — an integrated production space with free movement of goods, services, and skilled labour — will not be achieved. This may be true. But the AEC should be seen as a work in progress. To simply say it will miss its deadline is to ignore other crucial facts about the AEC’s role and circumstances. Read more…

Best to get the TPP done right, not done fast

A demonstrator protests against the legislation to give US President Barack Obama fast-track authority to advance trade deals, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership, during a protest march on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, 21 May 2015. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Richard Katz, Oriental Economist Report

Unless the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade talks are concluded soon, they risk dragging on interminably. If that happens, the United States’ capacity to function as a benign world hegemon will be diminished.

To avoid this, the White House is determined to get the pact signed and ratified by the end of 2015. Read more…

The case for considering ‘climate refugees’

Villagers walk past damaged vegetation on Tanna Island, Vanuatu, 19 March 2015 after Cyclone Pam. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Scott Leis, Maryland

Recently, two very powerful and damaging storms have wreaked havoc in the Western Pacific: Cyclone Pam and Typhoon Maysak. These were two of the most intense storms to impact this region in the past 15 years and, by some metrics, the worst ever recorded — and they occurred about a month apart. Climate change, once again, was said to have added to their intensity, which has many Pacific Islanders extremely worried. Read more…

A sustainable South Korea should stick with nuclear

A fire drill is underway at the Weolseong Nuclear Power Complex in Gyeongju, North Gyeongsang Province, on 28 October 2014. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Sanghyun Hong, University of Adelaide

Since the 1970s, nuclear power has provided cheap, stable and clean electricity that has fuelled South Korea’s rapid economic growth. Currently, 23 nuclear power plants with a total capacity of 21 gigawatts of electric energy are generating 27 per cent of South Korea’s total electricity needs. The wholesale price of nuclear power, US$52 per megawatt hour (MWh) in 2014, is still cheaper than coal (US$61/MWh) without any form of carbon pricing. Read more…

Northeast Asia must cast off the shackles of history

A group of Japanese lawmakers from various parties visits Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo on 22 April 2015. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Tsuneo Akaha, MIIS

The 70th anniversary of the end of the World War II offers an opportunity for Northeast Asia to reflect on the lessons learnt from the past and to forge a vision for a peaceful and prosperous future.

The Northeast Asian countries should encourage domestic debate on the facts of history and their moral implications for today. Read more…

China’s Hmong go uncounted

Hmong children playing on a hillside. In China, the Hmong language has not been used in primary and middle schools and its use is declining among the young. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Sebastien Carrier, Stepping Stones China

In recent years Uyghur and Tibetan issues have captured most of the national and international attention granted to China’s minorities. Yet Uyghurs and Tibetans account for less than 15 per cent of China’s minority population of about 113 million. How have other large minority groups, such as the Hmong, fared politically, economically, and socially in the last decade? How well do the Chinese leadership’s strategies and policies address ethnic minority challenges? Read more…