A WTO challenge to China’s internet censorship is long overdue

View of a Baidu office building in Shenzhen city, Guangdong province, 2 March 2016. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Claude Barfield, AEI

For the first time this year, the United States Trade Representative’s (USTR) ‘National Trade Estimate Report’ took note of China’s Great Firewall. Granted, it was with this tame statement: ‘China’s filtering of cross-border Internet traffic has posed a significant burden to foreign suppliers’. Read more…

Can Obama kickstart Asia-Pacific reconciliation?

US Secretary of State John Kerry puts his arm around Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida after they and fellow G7 foreign ministers laid wreaths at the cenotaph at Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park in Hiroshima, western Japan, 11 April 2016. US President Barack Obama will travel to Hiroshima in May 2016 in the first visit by a sitting American president to the site where the US dropped an atomic bomb. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Christian Wirth, Tohoku University

At the end of this month President Obama will become the first sitting US president to visit Hiroshima. The momentous visit is planned around Obama’s trip to nearby Ise-Shima for the G7 Summit. Read more…

G7 summit plays into Japan’s constitutional politics

apanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (R) visits Ise Grand Shrine to preview in Ise, Mie Prefecture on May 25, 2016, one day ahead of the Group of Seven (G7) Summit meeting. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Ernils Larsson, Uppsala University

When the leaders of G7 countries descend on Japan later this week, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has taken the opportunity to invite them to visit Ise Shrine as well. Although there were many reasons for the choice of Ise-Shima as location for the summit, it is impossible to ignore the underlying sentiments of religious nationalism.

Read more…

Should Duterte step back on the South China Sea?  

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte (L) meeting with Chinese ambassador to the Philippines Zhao Jianhua during a courtesy call in Davao city, southern Philippines, 16 May 2016.

Author: Aileen San Pablo-Baviera, University of the Philippines

Some countries have become wary of China’s aspiration to become a maritime power because the means pursued by the Xi Jinping government — as seen in the disputed South China Sea — appear to ignore the legitimate interests of its smaller neighbours, flout existing international norms and pose risks to regional peace and stability.

Read more…

Obama and the absence of apology in Hiroshima

US President Barack Obama speaks with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe during their meeting at the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Tessa Morris-Suzuki, ANU

‘As President of the United States of America, I express my profound apologies for the sufferings inflicted on the people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki by the atomic bombings’. These, of course, are the words that we are not going to hear Barack Obama speak in Hiroshima on 27 May Read more…

Filipino strongman Duterte not just talk

Philippine president-elect Rodrigo Duterte speaks during his final campaign rally in Manila, Philippines, 7 May 2016. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Damien Kingsbury, Deakin University

There may be more to the Philippines’ new president Rodrigo Duterte than his tough guy image indicates. In the populist theatrics that are Filipino politics, the overwhelming election of Duterte should not have come as a surprise, even with common, but inaccurate, comparisons to the US presidential candidate Donald Trump. Read more…

Turbulent times ahead for Tsai Ing-wen’s Taiwan?

Tsai Ing-wen waves to supporters during the last day of campaign rallying for the 2016 presidential election in Taiwan on 15 January 2016. Tsai was inaugurated as president on 20 May. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Mark Harrison, University of Tasmania

On 20 May Tsai Ing-wen was inaugurated as president of Taiwan, following her sweeping victory in the January elections. Members of her party, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), have already taken up their majority seats in the Legislative Yuan, Taiwan’s parliament. Read more…