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Driving out of the Wattay International Airport in Vientiane, Lao People’s Democratic Republic (PDR), one sees a large billboard featuring the overseas campus of Suzhou University in the People’s Republic of China’s (PRC). In a coffee shop in Vientiane, the first author met two PRC businessmen who talked about the prospect of a new venture to extract copper in northern Lao PDR. Just across the border from the PRC in Boten, Lao PDR, the second author talked with a local Lao driver in Chinese about the trucks full of fruit from Thailand parked minutes away from the PRC border checkpoint near the PRC-built casino ghost town that once ruled the area.1 And on the outskirts of Yunnan’s capital city of Kunming, the PRC’s fourth largest airport behind Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou, Changshui International Airport, was opened in mid-2012. While seemingly disparate, these anecdotes reveal the ambition of the PRC’s “Go Southwest” strategy to politically and economically connect Southeast Asia to the PRC.
By Shujiro Urata. Posted February 20, 2013
Time is running out for Japan to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP), as the negotiating countries aim to conclude the talks before the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meeting in October this year. Although former Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda had expressed strong interest during his tenure in joining the TPP negotiations, his successor, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, has not expressed similar sentiments as the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) took a cautious stance on the TPP during Japan’s December 2012 general election. The TPP is a high-standard and comprehensive trade agreement under negotiation by Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States (US), and Viet Nam.
Recent decades have witnessed a rapid expansion of production networks and supply chains in East and Southeast Asia, made possible by underlying forces of technological advances and reductions in trade barriers and driven by pursuit of economies of scale and agglomeration, and greater efficiency and lower costs. The successful functioning of such finely constructed and balanced production networks and supply chains rests, however, on the premise of there being no major disruptions to the system, including natural disasters. Historical data indicate that the East and Southeast Asia region is, in fact, especially prone to a variety of natural hazards (earthquakes, tsunamis, floods, and typhoons).
By Ian Buchanan. Posted December 11, 2012
“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it,” said philosopher George Santayana. The aim of this paper is to draw lessons from Asia’s supposed “growth miracle” by disaggregating when, where—and why—growth occurred to better understand the roles of exogenous factors versus domestic policy choices. Our thesis is that the post-World War II “miracle” growth shared by many regional economies was a result of a unique set of circumstances linked not to their “Asian-ness”—but to exogenous, geo-political, developments and, in particular, to the Cold War. The Cold War was a battle for ideological leadership in political and economic domains between two nuclear powers who grew to accept a status quo based on the principle of mutual assured destruction (MAD).
By Iwan Azis. Posted November 12, 2012
ASEAN aims to create an ASEAN Economic Community by 2015, while the signing in May 2012 of a Trilateral Investment Agreement by the People’s Republic of China, Japan, and the Republic of Korea was a milestone in cooperation between three countries that together account for nearly 20% of global GDP and trade. The pact could lead to a three-way, free trade agreement (FTA) between the economic giants. Financial cooperation in ASEAN+3 has been accelerating. The region’s emergency financial safety net, the Chiang Mai Initiative Multilateralization (CMIM), has doubled in size as decided by officials in May 2012, although it is yet to be made operational.
By Kent Calder. Posted August 27, 2012
The pattern of world energy trade has changed significantly in recent decades and this is having profound implications for global geopolitics. Several Asian economies, particularly the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and India, have emerged as the region’s most conspicuous energy consumers because of their phenomenal economic growth. On the supply side, the world’s largest energy producers are located in the geographically proximate regions of Central Asia, the Middle East, and Russia. A complementary relationship between these energy exporters and suppliers is evident and is being strengthened, connecting together Central and East Asia, parts of India, the Persian Gulf, and Russia. I call this the “new continentalism.”
By Nicola Piper. Posted June 28, 2012
Migration flows within Asia are of considerable size. According to the ILO (2006), between 1995 and 2000, 40% of the 2.6 million to 2.9 million Asian migrant workers (registered and undocumented) went to other countries in Asia, including the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) where Asian migrant workers made up 40% to 70% of the labor force in 2000. Unfortunately more recent data are not available, but the significance of intra-Asian migration constitutes a continuing trend. This post follows the definition of “Asia” used by the United Nations, which includes countries in the Middle East. The migration system in Asia is primarily based on temporary migration largely of low-skilled and semi-skilled workers, facilitated by private recruitment agencies (Wickramasekara 2006)
By Chinara Esengul. Posted March 27, 2012
On 3 October 2011, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin proposed the establishment of a Eurasian Union in an article published in the Russian broadsheet Izvestia. The article was entitled “New integration project for Eurasia – making the future today.”
By Deborah Brautigam. Posted February 27, 2012
Concerns have been expressed in the Western media that Chinese aid to Africa represents a form of “new colonialism.” However, comparing Chinese and US health programs in Africa suggests that the two have more in common than might be expected. Both countries’ health efforts in the region share similarities in terms of objectives, priorities and challenges. Foreign aid from the PRC and the US is provided not only as development assistance but also as a tool of soft power. Both the PRC and the US shape some of their health efforts to boost friendship and goodwill across Africa. Public opinion polls suggest that both countries are generally viewed positively by Africans.
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