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…

No easy solutions in US–China cyber security

US President Barack Obama delivers remarks at the National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center (NCCIC) in Arlington, Virginia, USA, 13 January 2015. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Greg Austin, University of New South Wales

In late September 2015, the Presidents of China and the United States reached a number of agreements on cyber security, cyber espionage and cyber crime. They provide for a new high-level contact group as well as assurances to investigate and resolve complaints from each other. The agreements are important diplomatic breakthroughs, but they are relatively piecemeal when seen against the bigger picture. Read more…

A Japanese view on fixing the China relationship

Abe cites apology, aggression

Author: Ryo Sahashi, Kanagawa University

Questions of history were the focus of a long hot summer in Northeast Asia. Many speculated that on the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, with his cabinet’s approval, would issue a new statement which leant towards a more ‘nationalistic’ understanding of Japanese history from the late 19th century to the Pacific War. Read more…

Don’t blame China’s skewed sex ratio on the one-child policy

A young Chinese boy takes part in a swimming event in Beijing. Conventional wisdom says that China’s skewed sex ratio is due solely to the one-child policy, but the reality is more complex. (Photo: AAP).

Authors: Elizabeth J. Remick, Tufts University, and Charis Loh

In the last decade, China’s serious gender imbalance has made headlines: millions of Chinese men are doomed to bachelorhood due to a shortage of women, with awful social consequences. The conventional wisdom is that this skewing — a sex ratio at birth far higher than the natural ratio of 105 males to 100 females — is caused simply and solely by China’s one-child policy. Read more…