Tough times ahead for China–Japan–South Korea joint FTA

Chinese, Japanese and South Korean officials attend the Fifth Round of China-Japan-Korea FTA Negotiations in Beijing, China, 1 September 2014. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Jing Li, CASS

The fifth round of the China–Japan–South Korea Free Trade Agreement (CJK FTA) negotiations concluded in Beijing on 5 September. The three countries hope the negotiations will finish in 2015, but this partly depends on the progress of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations. Read more…

Remembrance, reconciliation and the East Asian memory wars


Author: Tessa Morris-Suzuki, ANU

‘The past’, as William Faulkner once wrote, ‘is not dead, it isn’t even past’. Nowhere is this more true than in today’s East Asia. The recent ‘memory wars’ between the countries of the region — particularly (though not exclusively) between Japan and its neighbours China and Korea — are eloquent testimony to the power of the past to haunt the present and influence the course of domestic and international politics. Read more…

Sino–Japanese relations 120 years after the war

APTOPIX Japan Military

Author: Liu Jiangyong, Tsinghua University

The year 2014 marks 120 years since the First Sino–Japanese War. While the two nations have enjoyed several decades of peace, there is an uneasy feeling in China that recent developments and revisions to the Japanese constitution draw parallels with the decade prior to 1894. Read more…

Asian cooperation hanging on a handshake

Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe and other regional leaders look on as China’s President Xi Jinping shakes hands with former Indonesian president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono at last year’s APEC meeting in Indonesia. This year there is intense focus on the APEC opportunity to begin to fix the political relationship between China and Japan. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Peter Drysdale, East Asia Forum

The APEC summit is just over a week away and all stops are out in Beijing to make it an economic and diplomatic triumph, despite the huge underlying challenges in managing China’s relations with the region. The primary goals and foundations of APEC are economic — delivering on Asia’s economic development ambitions within the framework of the rules-based global economic system. Read more…

Kerry, Hagel visits set agenda for Obama-Modi meeting

US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel meets with senior Indian army officers in New Delhi. (Photo: AAP).

Author: C Uday Bhaskar, Society for Policy Studies

The recent back-to-back visits to Delhi by US Secretary of State John Kerry and Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel mark the first high-level political contact between the Obama administration and the newly elected Modi government. Read more…

China’s response to Japan’s constitutional reinterpretation

Chinese president Xi Jinping delivers a speech during a ceremony marking the 77th anniversary of the Second Sino-Japanese War. The Chinese response to Japan reinterpreting its constitution has been predictably negative. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Amy King, ANU

On 1 July 2014, Japan’s Abe government announced a major change to the country’s post-war security policy by effectively lifting the ban on collective self-defence. The Abe government introduced new legislation that reinterpreted Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution, thereby permitting Japan to use military force to come to the aid of an ally or a country in a close relationship with Japan when it is under armed attack. Read more…

Forging a common regional approach to China

Cadet members of the PLA take part in a military training at the Armoured Forces Engineering Academy Base near Beijing on 22 July, 2014. Chinese government authorised foreign media to view the military exercise. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Hitoshi Tanaka, JCIE

Despite China’s rapid and unprecedented economic growth, the world has yet to come to grips with the challenges and opportunities that the country presents. The story of China’s rise is as much about how the rest of the world responds to China as it is about the nation that China is growing to become. Read more…

Why Abe is pushing for the right to collective self-defence

Women hold antiwar banners during a rally opposing the government's move to change article 9 of the constitution in Tokyo, Japan, 17 June 2014. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Toshiya Takahashi, ANU

Japanese domestic politics is sharply divided over the right to collective self-defence. The ban on collective self-defence has been a defining characteristic of Japan’s postwar national security. The government’s view on this ban was established in 1981 though it has in effect been used from the 1960s to justify the US–Japan Security Treaty under the pacifist constitution. Now the Abe government is seeking to lift the ban Read more…

Japan and China compete for African markets

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe goes to shake hands with South African President Jacob Zuma at the start of their meeting at the prime ministerial residence in Tokyo, Japan, 04 June 2013 (Photo: AAP).

Author: Xie Zhihai, Maebashi Kyoai Gakuen College

Japan has pledged US$32 billion in aid for Africa over the next five years at the recent Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD).

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe stressed that Africa will become the new global engine of growth over next few decades and that Japan must therefore seek to redirect its investment. Read more…

China’s rising maritime aspirations

A Hong Kong activist stands waving in front of a Chinese flag as a group sets sail from Cheung Chau Island near Hong Kong on 22 September 2010 for a disputed island chain, amid an escalating row between China and Japan over the territory. The islands, known as the Senkaku islands in Japan and Diaoyu in China and also claimed by Taiwan, lie in an area with rich fishing grounds that is also believed to contain oil and gas deposits. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Li Mingjiang, RSIS

The recent annual sessions of the National People’s Congress (NPC) and the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) — two of the most important political events in China — demonstrated the extent to which the country’s elite aspire to safeguard China’s interests in the East Asian seas.

But in his report to the NPC, Premier Wen Jiabao also vowed to prioritise efforts to improve relations with neighbouring countries. Read more…

Japan locks into China

hinese State Councilor Dai Bingguo (R) shakes hand with Japanese foreign minister Takeaki Matsumoto at the Zhongnanhai leaders compound in Beijing on July 4, 2011. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Yoichi Funabashi, Japan

Japan’s triple disaster has illuminated the country’s vulnerabilities. Tokyo Electric Power Co. (Tepco), the beleaguered operator of the Fukushima nuclear reactors, previously announced that it will take six to nine months to stabilise the still unstable reactors.

In the meantime, energy supply will continue to be disrupted. The bond market is starting to shake following the savage downgrading of Tepco corporate bonds, sparking fears for the collapse of the Japanese government bond. Read more…