Presidential hopefuls must find a way to feed the Philippines

A Filipino farmer removes grass at a field in Taguig City, south of Manila, Philippines, 19 January 2016. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Michael Henry Yusingco, Melbourne

The Philippine presidential campaign period officially begins on 9 February. But amid the same old spiels about political piety, not one of the five presidential candidates current Vice-President Jojo Binay, Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago, Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, Senator Grace Poe and Secretary Mar Roxas — has raised the most pressing issue facing the Philippines, the country’s massive population. Read more…

Where to from here for Vietnam?

Vietnam's Communist Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong greets delegates upon his arrival for the opening ceremony of the 12th National Congress of Vietnam's Communist Party in Hanoi on 21 January 2016. Trong’s selection for the position of general secretary took many by surprise. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Jonathan D. London, City University of Hong Kong

While Vietnam’s 12th Party Congress was billed as a contest for leadership of the party between sitting party secretary Nguyen Phu Trong and sitting prime-minister Nguyen Tan Dung, it might well be remembered as marking the beginning of a generational shift in the party’s top leadership. Read more…

Is the Thai Junta’s support network starting to fray?

Thai Prime Minister and head of Thai military junta General Prayuth Chan-ocha waves after a handover ceremony for the new Army chief at the Thai army headquarters in Bangkok on 30 September 2014. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Thitinan Pongsudhirak, Chulalongkorn University

No country in Southeast Asia shoots itself in the foot more than Thailand. With so much going for it, the second-largest economy in the region still manages to underperform spectacularly. Its growth trajectory is in the 2–3 per cent range even though it has the potential to track twice that figure. Read more…

Cambodia’s development paradox

Cambodian garment workers ride on the back of a truck heading for a factory on the outskirts of Phnom Penh, Cambodia, 23 January 2016. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Heidi Dahles, Griffith University

In 2015 Cambodia has been hailed for its accomplishments in meeting its Millennium Development Goal (MDG) targets. The recent UN report calls Cambodia an ‘early achiever’ performing particularly well on poverty alleviation. The Cambodian economy grew on average 7.8 per cent in 2004–2014, achieving one of the fastest growth rates in the world during this period. Read more…

Stormy seas ahead for the Philippine economy?

Philippine President Benigno S. Aquino III pours champagne on a FA-50PH aircraft during a joint turn-over and blessing ceremony of newly acquired assets of the Philippine Air Force at the Villamor Air Base in Pasay City, south of Manila, Philippines, 5 December 2015. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Gilbert Llanto, PIDS

The Philippines has performed well in the past few years relative to its peers. It demonstrated great resilience to exogenous shocks that would have undone less capable economies. But will it be able to sustain its positive economic position? Read more…

Is South Korean democracy under attack?

South Korean President Park Geun-hye answers a reporter's question during her news conference at the Presidential Blue House in Seoul, South Korea, 13 January 2016. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Chungshik Moon, ANU

2015 was a challenging year for South Korea’s democracy. Since the inauguration of the Park Geun-hye government in 2013 there have been a number of incidents that raise serious questions about the soundness and maturity of South Korea’s democracy. Read more…

Xi widens corruption crackdown

A visitor stands near an electronic screen displaying images of Zhou Yongkang, then Chinese Communist Party Politburo Standing Committee member in charge of security, and other senior officials attending their corruption trials, at the China Court Museum in Beijing, 12 January 2016. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Kerry Brown, King’s College

These days, political death in China comes in two moves. The first is when the dreaded Central Discipline and Inspection Commission (CDIC) announce that you are under investigation. After that you live on a sort of life-support machine until the final blade falls with your expulsion from the Communist Party. Then there is no turning back. Read more…