Some Malaysian inequality measures more equal than others

A boy runs at a temple casted with shadows of traditional Chinese lantern decorations ahead of the Chinese Lunar New Year in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on Tuesday, 17 Feb 2015. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Hwok-Aun Lee, University of Malaya

Is inequality in Malaysia going up or down? Answers differ. Official statistics unambiguously show household income inequality going down in the past decade, but almost everyone seems to think it has gone up. So what’s going on? Read more…

Revitalising Japan’s security policy: Between pacifism and the modern world

Japanese soldiers carry an injured non-combatant during the annual multinational military exercise, Cobra Gold, at a military base in Thailand on 15 February 2015. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Hitoshi Tanaka, JCIE

This year marks the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II. Such milestones offer an opportunity to reflect on the progress made and the steps needed to ensure that such tragic events are never repeated. Read more…

Balancing rivalry and perspectives in the Asia Pacific

Australian, US and Chinese troops at the opening ceremony of Exercise Kowari in Darwin, October 2014. (Photo: Commonwealth of Australia, Department of Defence).

Author: Michael G. Roskin

China or the US? One is Australia’s largest trading partner, the other its traditional security ally. But what happens if Australia is forced to choose between them — will economics or history win out?

Malcolm Fraser, the former Australian prime minister (1975–83), wants Australia to end its security dependency on the United States Read more…

Hostage crisis tests Japan’s Middle East policy

Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (C) leaves after the opening of the ordinary Diet session at the Parliament in Tokyo, Japan, 26 January 2015

Author: Emily S. Chen, Stanford

The recent Japanese hostage crisis has divided public opinion on its dealings in the Middle East. On 20 January, the extremist organisation Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) released an online video showing two Japanese men kneeling in orange jumpsuits beside a masked man who demanded that Japan pay a US$200 million ransom within three days. The sum was no coincidence. Read more…

Vietnam’s careful dance with the superpowers

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Author: Phuong Nguyen, CSIS, Washington DC

US–Vietnam military relations have improved remarkably in recent years but talk of an enhanced alliance between Washington and Hanoi overlooks important geopolitical and historic nuances. Defence relations between the two countries turned a page in the early 2000s, when both countries moved beyond the legacy of the Vietnam War. Both countries began to actively explore new ways to work together. Read more…

Thailand’s simmering security crisis gathers steam

Thai Muslim villagers carry the body of a villager who was shot dead by suspected separatist militants in Thailand's restive southern province of Narathiwat on 2 January 2015. Violence in Thailand's Muslim-majority south has left thousands dead — the majority civilians. (Photo: AAP).

Author: John Blaxland, ANU

A quiet but increasingly deadly struggle is taking place in Thailand’s deep south.

But why has the security crisis in the three southernmost insurgency-affected provinces of Yala, Pattani and Narathiwat proved to be so intractable and drawn out? Read more…

Is China’s Coast Guard troubling the waters?

A Chinese ship shoots water cannon at a Vietnamese vessel while a Chinese Coast Guard ship sails alongside in the South China Sea, off Vietnam's coast as Chinese ships are ramming at Vietnamese vessels trying to stop Beijing from setting up an oil rig in the sea. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Lucio Blanco Pitlo III, University of the Philippines

The establishment of the China Coast Guard (CCG) in 2013 created a huge stir. Neighbouring countries may see the CCG as a major instrument for China to reconfigure maritime power structure in the region. Read more…