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…

China’s challenges in 2016

Chinese President Xi Jinping visits the parliament in Cairo, Egypt on 21 January 2016. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Kerry Brown, King’s College London

For China, the story for its economy in 2015 simply reinforced what was already becoming apparent through 2014. GDP growth was slowing, and the political capital the Communist Party could collect from lauding this one statistic was diminishing. Read more…

Dealing with the IS threat in Southeast Asia

A man looks at floral tributes at the scene of a bomb blast at a police post in Jakarta, Indonesia, on 15 January 2016. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Kumar Ramakrishna, RSIS

On 14 January 2016, four Indonesian militants mounted a brazen lunchtime assault on a Starbucks Café and a police post in downtown Jakarta. The general area boasts government offices, shopping malls and eateries as well as a United Nations office and the United States embassy. Read more…

Food security: Asia’s critical balancing act

35 year old Indian farmer Niren Das manually irrigates his paddy field on the outskirts of Gauhati, India. About 60 per cent of India’s population works in the agriculture sector. (Photo: AAP).

Authors: R. Quentin Grafton and John Williams, ANU, and Qiang Jiang, Sichuan University

Asia’s food systems are under an unprecedented confluence of pressures. Balancing future food demand and supply in ways that protect the most vulnerable, while also being sustainable, must be a first order policy priority. Read more…

Reforming Japan’s labour market

A crowd forms at the Keio Line’s Chitose-Karasuyama Station in Setagaya Ward, Tokyo, 18 January 2016. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Hiroaki Miyamoto, University of Tokyo

Japan’s labour market situation is improving. The unemployment rate of 3.1 per cent in October 2015 was the lowest for 20 years. And, although improvement has been slow, wage growth has been accelerating. But Japan’s labour market still faces several serious issues. Read more…

Australia is knocking at the door of opportunity

Chinese customers shop for bottled wine imported from Australia at a supermarket in Xuchang City, central China. If 'international competitiveness' is to remain a useful phrase in the Asian century it will have to leave mercantilism behind and be framed in terms of national endowments and capabilities. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Ken Henry, National Australia Bank

In 2012, Australia’s Asian Century White Paper outlined fundamental policy and attitudinal changes that would be required if Australia was to make the most of the opportunities presented by the Asian century. Yet it has had no impact on policy in Australia. Read more…

Thailand looking shaky

A young boy smiles at a Thai soldier blocking a road to prevent protesters from rallying against the military coup in Bangkok on 30 May 2014. 18 months after the coup, the pro-coup coalition is now breaking down. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Editors, East Asia Forum

Thailand is struggling. The economy has stagnated and its political system is going backwards. This May marks two years since the coup — Thailand’s second in less than a decade — with the military government still in control. Thailand is also languishing in a middle income trap. Read more…