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…

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…

Modi’s BJP no longer invincible

A supporter of Aam Aadmi Party, or Common Man's Party, waves an Indian flag next to a cut-out of party leader Arvind Kejriwal during his swearing-in ceremony as chief minister of Delhi. (Photo: AAP).

Authors: Purnendra Jain and Peter Mayer, University of Adelaide

The tale of the recent February Delhi assembly elections shows how quickly political fortunes can decline. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) recorded a landslide victory at the 2014 national elections and won a majority of seats in three subsequent state elections. But his party suffered a crushing defeat in Delhi, winning just three of the 70 seats. Read more…

Is PNG heading for a crisis?

Papua New Guinea's Prime Minister Peter O'Neill waves upon arrival at Bali airport, Indonesia, to attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum in 2014. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Stephen Howes, ANU

Last year in Papua New Guinea was eventful, marked by a series of controversial government decisions.

In March, the government decided to take out a loan of about 3 billion kina (US$1.2 billion, about 8 per cent of GDP) to buy shares in Oil Search. Read more…

Hong Kong’s political impasse

A pro-democracy protester, putting a yellow sticker reading " I want real universal suffrage in Hong Kong on Feb. 1, 2015. Thousands of demonstrators took the street for the first time since last year and held up yellow umbrellas, a symbolo of the Occupy Central momvement during a march through central Hong Kong. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Peter TY Cheung, HKU

The Occupy Movement has seen the political awakening of a large segment of the Hong Kong community. The massive outbursts of political protests lasted 79 days and tested the limits and will of the Hong Kong people and government. Hong Kong–mainland relations have been pushed into a downward spiral of mistrust and confrontation, but movements towards reconciliation remain out of sight. Read more…

Korean reunification still on the agenda in 2015


Author: Jong-sung You, ANU

Disasters and political scandals dominated South Korean politics in 2014. And hopes for progress on North–South relations on the Korean peninsula were left unfulfilled.

At the beginning of 2014 — in Dresden, Germany — President Park Geun-hye had unveiled her government’s vision for Korean reunification. Read more…