China needs a better middle income escape plan

A farmer works in her rice field in the farming village of Gangzhong in China's eastern Zhejiang province. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Derek Scissors, AEI

As China appears to be flirting with the middle income trap, the old development model is becoming increasingly unworkable. In its place, the ‘new normal’ is emerging as a valuable notion. Read more…

The myth of China’s overseas energy investment

Chinese inspectors patrol past crude oil tanks at the Dagang commercial oil reserve base of CNPC (China National Petroleum Corporation), parent company of PetroChina, in Tianjin, China, 5 April 2012. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Zhao Hongtu, CICIR

China’s international energy investments and acquisitions have drawn much interest from foreign observers. Some analysts tend to believe that it represents a national energy procurement strategy driven by the central government. Read more…

How will Japan’s new agriculture minister influence the TPP negotiations?

Author: Aurelia George Mulgan, UNSW, Canberra

Japan’s new Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) Yoshimasa Hayashi, who previously served in the position in 2012–14, was a logical choice to take over from his disgraced predecessor Koya Nishikawa. He arrived at the Prime Minister’s Office (Kantei) only five minutes after Nishikawa left, and was apparently selected because he was ‘the only one that could immediately do the job’. Read more…

Commission impossible for Abe’s foreign policy

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe attends the Commission on a Framework for the 21st Century in Tokyo on 25 February 2015. The commission will advise the Abe government on its statement marking the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Michael Cucek, Temple University Japan

On 25 February, Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe convened the first meeting of a new special advisory council, the Commission on a Framework for the 21st Century. The rather ambiguously and grandiosely named council is to meet with him over the coming months, presenting the results of their deliberations on five topics. Read more…

Creating architecture to sustain Asia’s spectacular progress

The Asian Development Bank's Manila Headquarters. In the early stages of Asian integration governments relied mainly on global institutions and on unilateral dismantling of border barriers. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Wendy Dobson, University of Toronto

Economic institutions, international and national, are key factors in Asian development strategies. Those economies which have exhausted the growth gained from the traditional mobilisation of capital and labour are now reforming the supply-side institutions that encourage new sources of growth from innovation and productivity. Read more…

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…

Xi’s got the power to guide the CCP to 2049

A man walks past a billboard featuring a photo of Chinese President Xi Jinping beside lantern decorations for the Lunar New Year in Baoding, China's northern Hebei province on 24 February 2015. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Yang Guangbin, Renmin University

When China’s President Xi Jinping took up his position in 2012, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) lacked political leadership. His predecessor, Hu Jintao, had lost control of political power long before 18th Party Congress was held. Read more…