Brunei must diversify its spluttering economy

Water taxis wait for passengers bound for the Water Village in Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei Darussalam on Friday, 10 September 2004. Brunei is located on the northwestern shore of Borneo and is heavily dependent on revenue from oil and gas exports. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Paul Pryce, UPH Analytics

The small Southeast Asian state of Brunei Darussalam has long enjoyed considerable affluence, thanks in large part to its exports of crude oil and liquefied natural gas to resource-hungry neighbours like Japan and India. According to 2010 data, GDP per capita was US$51,600 and Bruneians enjoy the total absence of sales taxes or personal income tax.

Read more…

When the TPP and One Belt, One Road meet

Then-secretary of state Hillary Clinton meets with then-Chinese vice president Xi Jinping at the State Department in Washington, 14 February 2014. (Photo: AAP).

Authors: Patrick Mendis, Harvard University and Dániel Balázs, Tongji University

After years of talks, negotiators concluded an agreement on the US-led Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) in October 2015. Since China is excluded from the TPP, one would expect antagonism rather than symbiosis between the Washington-advocated trade package and Beijing’s One Belt, One Road (OBOR) strategy. Read more…

Japan and Australia ramp up defence engagement in the South China Sea

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his Australian counterpart Malcolm Turnbull hold a joint press conference in Tokyo. The two leaders vowed to accelerate negotiations over an agreement aimed at facilitating joint operations and exercises as part of increased defense cooperation, 18 December 2015. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Tomohiko Satake, NIDS

Amid the increasing tensions in the South China Sea the United States has called for its regional allies to more actively support its freedom of navigation (FON) operations. But despite their political support for the operations, it seems that neither Tokyo nor Canberra are willing to put their support into direct action. Read more…

India’s demographic dividend strait-jacketed by labour regulations

Unemployed Indians stand in a queue to register themselves at the Employment Exchange Office in Allahabad, in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh on 22 March 2012. India’s outmoded labour regulations are hindering job growth. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Mark Fabian, ANU

One of India’s most promising economic features is its large working-age population. Yet if India doesn’t find jobs for its young people, this boon will quickly turn into a powder-keg, as evinced by the recent agitations of unemployed Jats in Haryana. Read more…

The limits to Chinese political power

Chinese President Xi Jinping is displayed on a screen as Chinese battle tanks take part in a parade commemorating the 70th anniversary of Japan's surrender during World War II on 3 September 2015. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Editors, East Asia Forum

As China has become a larger player in the world economy and its influence in world political affairs has grown, the need to understand the Chinese political system and how political power is exercised within it has grown commensurately. Read more…

Is China’s authoritarianism decaying into personalised rule?

Chinese President Xi Jinping looks on in Prague, Czech Republic, 29 March 2016. At home, Xi Jingping has consolidated his personal power since taking office in 2012. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Carl Minzner, Fordham Law School

China is experiencing the most sustained domestic political crackdown since Tiananmen Square. Much attention has been devoted to the increasing state repression being directed at lawyers, journalists and civil society activists. But there is a separate and more fundamental concern. Read more…

Sarawak political machine will keep propping up Najib

Author: James Chin, University of Tasmania

On 7 May residents of Sarawak, the larger of the two Malaysian states located on Borneo island, will be going to the polls. Sarawak is the only one of Malaysia’s 13 states to hold its state and federal polls separately. Read more…