Strike one for trade agreements in Northeast Asia

South Korean President Park Geun-hye walks with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang to hold a trilateral summit at the presidential house in Seoul, South Korea, 1 November 2015. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Editors, East Asia Forum

Northeast Asia is a geo-politically complicated region. The two Asian giants Japan and China have at best a difficult political relationship. South Korea has unresolved history issues with Japan. The cross-Strait relationship between Taiwan and China appears to be improving but will always have to be treated with care. Read more…

India buys into deeper, if restrained, US defence ties

Indian prime minster Narendra Modi speaks as US President Barack Obama looks on during a joint press conference at Hyderabad House in New Delhi, India on 25 January 2015. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Editors, East Asia Forum

The dream of the ‘Indo-Pacific’ idea has been peddled around New Delhi over the past few years by military enthusiasts from Canberra to Washington. But the concept of extended US naval and military power stretching across the Pacific to the Indian Ocean, with a land-stop in Australia, augmented by quadrilateral partners and allies in the region was never an easy sell. Read more…

Size and Japanese power

A man uses a demon mask to make a baby cry during the Nakizumo or crying baby contest at Sensoji Temple in Tokyo on 29 April 2016. Japan’s low fertility rate and ageing population poses challenges to continued economic growth. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Editors, East Asia Forum

In 2008, the Japanese population peaked at 128 million. Already Japan has a million fewer people today than it did then. With the workforce shrinking even faster — almost 10 million lower than at its peak in 1997 — and the proportion of the population over 60 years old now at more than one-third of the total population, per capita income growth has stagnated. Read more…

Pitfalls of personality politics in Philippines election

Supporters cheer as presidential candidate Mayor Rodrigo Duterte's campaign motorcade makes its way through the streets of Malabon on 27 April 2016. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Editors, East Asia Forum

Filipinos go to the polls today to elect their next president. Self-styled fiery outsider and strongman Rodrigo Duterte leads the polls pledging to fix the broken system. Nipping at his heels are Manuel ‘Mar’ Roxas, endorsed by current President Benigno Aquino III, and junior Senator Grace Poe. Trailing the pack is incumbent Vice President Jejomar Binay. Read more…

Seizing the moment in Asian economic diplomacy

Female Chinese workers sew clothes to be exported to Southeast Asian countries at a garment factory in Huaibei city, 19 January 2016. The Trans-Pacific Partnership will likely divert trade and investment away from non-members. Already some manufacturers are moving from China to Vietnam to take advantage of better access to the US market. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Editors, East Asia Forum

Asia is looking to complete a major economic agreement by early 2017 that offers the chance to lift its growth closer to potential by locking in domestic reform and liberalisation through regional cooperation. The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement is Asia’s response to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and heralds the next phase in Asian economic cooperation. Read more…

The limits to Chinese political power

Chinese President Xi Jinping is displayed on a screen as Chinese battle tanks take part in a parade commemorating the 70th anniversary of Japan's surrender during World War II on 3 September 2015. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Editors, East Asia Forum

As China has become a larger player in the world economy and its influence in world political affairs has grown, the need to understand the Chinese political system and how political power is exercised within it has grown commensurately. Read more…

Australia’s fraught decision on submarines

Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop and Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida listen to a reporter’s question during a joint press conference in Tokyo, on 11 June 2014. A submarine deal would fundamentally change the Australia–Japan security relationship. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Editors, East Asia Forum

Australia is about to embark on its single biggest ever military acquisition. The Future Submarine Program (SEA1000) will see Australia purchase 12 submarines to replace its ageing Collins-class fleet.

Read more…