US–China rivalry: does Asia have to choose?

US President Barack Obama and Chinese president Xi Jinping walk the colonnade of the White House, Washington, DC, USA, 25 September 2015. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Hugh White, ANU

Can America preserve the US-led regional order by resisting China’s challenge to replace it with ‘a new model of great-power relations’? That depends a lot on how much support the United States can expect from its friends and allies in the region. Read more…

Xi widens corruption crackdown

A visitor stands near an electronic screen displaying images of Zhou Yongkang, then Chinese Communist Party Politburo Standing Committee member in charge of security, and other senior officials attending their corruption trials, at the China Court Museum in Beijing, 12 January 2016. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Kerry Brown, King’s College

These days, political death in China comes in two moves. The first is when the dreaded Central Discipline and Inspection Commission (CDIC) announce that you are under investigation. After that you live on a sort of life-support machine until the final blade falls with your expulsion from the Communist Party. Then there is no turning back. Read more…

Economics will determine Taiwan election

A supporter of Taiwan's Democratic Progressive Party presidential candidate Tsai Ing-wen holds her portrait and a slogan that reads ‘Change’ as Tsai visits a temple in Taipei, Taiwan, 6 January 2016. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Jean Yu-Chen Tseng

The campaign for Taiwan’s upcoming presidential election on 16 January 2016 is one of the most surprising in the island’s political history. In past presidential elections, candidates mainly campaigned on divisive ideological issues such as Taiwanese self-identification and whether Taiwan should become independent or unify with mainland China. Read more…

Getting a bead on China’s diplomacy

Chinese President Xi Jinping and Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou enter the ballroom at the Shangri-la Hotel in Singapore, 07 November 2015. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Peter Drysdale, East Asia Forum

The meeting between Chinese President Xi Jinping and Taiwan’s President Ma Ying-jeou in Singapore on 7 November was widely interpreted as another perhaps-ill-advised Chinese intervention in Taiwan’s electoral processes. This idea doesn’t stack up for several reasons. Read more…

China, Japan still far apart on Asia’s strategic future

New weaponry featured in the commemorative parade in Beijing marking victory in World War II. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Amy King, ANU

In August and September 2015 Japan and China commemorated the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II. The observance activities were keenly anticipated as a way of gauging the temperature of the China–Japan relationship. The commemorations showed that the two governments worked hard to prevent further deterioration in the bilateral relationship, but that China and Japan are still far apart on Asia’s future strategic order. Read more…

What is the US protesting in the South China Sea?

Admiral Harry B. Harris of US Pacific Command walks past a photograph showing an island that China is building on the Fiery Cross Reef in the South China Sea while preparing to testify on Capitol Hill in Washington, 17 September 2015. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Sam Bateman, RSIS

Strong calls continue to be made in Washington for the US Navy to increase its freedom of navigation (FON) activities in the South China Sea. This is despite apparent differences of view between the Pentagon and the White House about the wisdom of such action. The US has done little in 2015 to ease concerns about whether it knows what it’s doing in the South China Sea. If anything, the rhetoric coming out of the Pentagon, and the US Navy in particular, has become stronger. Read more…

The financial origins of China’s rising inequality

Chinese clerks count RMB (renminbi) yuan banknotes at a bank in Haian county, in Eastern China, on 5 February 2013 (Photo: AAP).

Author: Kristijan Kotarski, University of Zagreb

Rising income and wealth inequality (measured by the Gini coefficient) have marked the last three decades of China’s remarkable economic transition from a centrally-planned economy to an increasingly market-oriented one. When analysing the causes of China’s inequality, researchers frequently invoke rapid trade integration, technology, human capital differences and social security systems, but very little has been said about the role of monetary policy and the banking system. Read more…