Korea in review

South Korean Army K-9 155mm self-propelled Howitzers fire rounds during air and ground military exercises on the Seungjin Fire Training Field, in mountainous Pocheon on December 23, 2010. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Yoon Young-kwan, Seoul National University

The year 2010 was the most turbulent year in inter-Korean relations in the recent decade.

Though the relationship between the South and the North has begun to deteriorate since the start of the Lee Myung-bak administration in 2008, there was a hope for improvement until around March 2010. Read more…

Singapore: Prospect of greater pluralism?

Tourists relax in an infinity pool on the roof of the Marina Bay Sands Hotel tower on Monday Jan. 3, 2011 in Singapore. Two huge new casino resorts, which together cost more than $10 billion to build, are the crown jewels of a decade-long effort to diversify the island's economy toward services such as tourism and finance and lessen dependence on manufacturing. (Photo: AAP)

Author: K Kesavapany, ISEAS

Last year was not a year of dramatic change for Singapore. It was, instead, a year for fine-tuning existing public policies to meet the impending and fluid economic and political challenges of globalization.

One of the key decisions the Singapore government made this year was the reduction of the number of foreign workers admitted into the city-state. Read more…

Indonesia: Blessed by strong economic growth and the curse of resources

A spice vendor waits for customer at a market in Jakarta, Indonesia, Friday, Jan. 7, 2011. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Thee Kian Wie, LIPI, Jakarta

The Indonesian economy continued to grow strongly at 5.8 per cent (yoy) during the third quarter of 2010, which was slightly lower than during the second quarter of  the year when growth reached 6.2 per cent.

The slightly lower growth during the third quarter of 2010 was due to the unusual weather conditions caused by continuous rains. Read more…

India: sustaining high growth needs new reform momentum

Laborers nap during a lunch break at a workshop in Mumbai, India. (Photo: AAP)

Author: M. Govinda Rao, NIPFP, New Delhi

India’s economic growth accelerated significantly in the latter half of 2010. The growth of real GDP during the final two quarters of 2010 averaged 8.9 per cent as compared to the 7.5 per cent recorded during the corresponding period in 2009.

The acceleration of growth has been broad based and is seen in all the three sectors – agriculture, industry and services. Read more…

India’s high points and lows: no time for backsliding

President Barack Obama and India's Prime Minister Manmohan Singh drink juice during a toast at a state dinner at Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi, India, Monday, Nov. 8, 2010. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Rajiv Kumar, FICCI, New Delhi

Last year has indeed been a rollercoaster year for India. The high point has been India securing a firm place on the high table of global governance.

The process started with the G-20 summit in November 2008 and culminated in the second half of this year that saw the heads of government of all five Security Council members visiting Delhi. Read more…

Thailand: Divisive politics but economics-almost-as-usual

hai anti-government protesters gather to pray at a makeshift shrine Sunday, Dec. 19, 2010, to remember the seven month anniversary of the government's crackdown in May that left more than 85 people dead, in Bangkok, Thailand. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Chalongphob Sussangkarn, TDRI, Bangkok

The Red Shirts’ protracted occupation of a central Bangkok area and the eventual violent and deadly end in May 2010 reiterated the highly divisive situation in Thai politics.

This protest, like the Yellow Shirts’ closure of the Bangkok airport toward the end of 2008, had the potential to have extended negative impacts on the broader economy, particularly on foreigners’ confidence. Read more…

Malaysia: A new way forward?

Smoke floats in the air after a six-minute fireworks show during the New Year celebrations at the landmark Patronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur on January 1, 2011. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Mahani Zainal Abidin, ISIS

After taking office in April 2009, Prime Minister Najib Razak consolidated his position in 2010 as he introduced plans to transform the economy and the public sector.

Najib’s popularity was further bolstered by Malaysia’s robust economic performance and a foreign policy that saw relations with key countries improve rapidly. Read more…