The Myanmar story doesn’t end here

A labourer reaps at a paddy field in Dala township, Myanmar. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Nicholas Farrelly, ANU

The story of Myanmar’s transition to a more democratic political system, and a more productive economy, is far from over.

Myanmar had a big year in 2014. The country held its first census in 30 years. The lead-up to the national count was plagued by criticism and uncertainty. Read more…

ASEAN shouldn’t get hung up on the AEC deadline

Undocumented Indonesian workers walk on the tarmac towards an Indonesian military C-130 aircraft at Subang Air Force base in Subang, outside Kuala Lumpur, on 23 December 2014. (Photo: AAP)

Authors: Ganeshan Wignaraja, ADBI and Jenny Balboa, ADBI

The ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) is unlikely to come into being by its December 2015 deadline due to its overambitious design and apathetic implementation. But there are still plenty of things that ASEAN can do to prepare for when the AEC is eventually launched. Read more…

Australia needs to refocus on ASEAN

Australia’s Prime Minister Tony Abbott holds hands ASEAN leaders during the ASEAN–Australia 40th Anniversary Commemorative Summit in Naypyitaw, Myanmar, 12 November 2014. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Gareth Evans, ANU

Things just haven’t clicked the way they should have in the Australian–ASEAN relationship. We seem far removed from the time when as Australia’s Foreign Minister I had no counterparts anywhere in the world with whom I felt more close and comfortable. Read more…

Is RCEP just the same old trade paradigm?

Workers contruct the foundation at a new construction site for an office high-rise building in the Indonesian capital city of Jakarta on September 5, 2014. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Sanchita Basu Das, ISEAS

What will it take to change the way Asia thinks about trade strategy?

As the negotiators of the RCEP agreement are meeting in New Delhi, India, from 1–5 December 2014, attention is turned to the question of whether this mega-regional represents a ‘new paradigm’ of regional trade agreements or not. Read more…

China’s aspiring global leadership

US president Barack Obama and Chinese president Xi Jinping look at each other during a press conference at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing during APEC, 12 November 2014. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Thitinan Pongsudhirak, Chulalongkorn University

This geopolitical summit season has consolidated ongoing trends in international affairs. A still-rising China with global leadership aspirations, a resurgent Russia bent on restoring its superpower status, and sclerosis and dysfunction in Western countries is likely to dominate international politics for at least the next 20 years. In fact, we might only be at the beginning in this long time span where seismic global power shifts are taking place. Read more…

The new nuance in Chinese diplomacy

China's President Xi Jinping during his recent visit to Australia and New Zealand, 21 November 2014. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Peter Drysdale, East Asia Forum

Much energy has been expended on projecting the impact of the rise of Chinese economic power on its political and military might and the strategic contest with the United States. Read more…

China flexes its muscles at APEC with the revival of FTAAP

United States President Barack Obama and China's President Xi Jinping in Beijing at the APEC CEO Summit on 10 November 2014. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Mireya Solís, Brookings Institution

The 2014 APEC leaders’ summit witnessed a string of successes in Chinese trade diplomacy. Key among these successes was the endorsement of China’s signature trade initiative as APEC host: the realisation sooner rather than later of a Free Trade Area of the Asia Pacific (FTAAP). Read more…