New Zealand–India trade an unfinished story

Authors: Rahul Sen, Auckland University of Technology and Mukul Asher, Singapore New Zealand’s trade dependency and long history of actively pursuing both bilateral and multilateral preferential trade agreements (PTAs) makes it one of the strongest free trade proponents. Among the world’s largest agreements, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement — capturing ASEAN, China, Japan, […]

Continue Reading

Bangladesh’s authoritarian shift

Author: Ali Riaz, Illinois State University In Bangladesh the ruling Awami League has established total control over state machinery and politics since the managed election of December 2018. Simmering popular discontent found expression in agitations against the killing of a student, price hikes and government-appointed university administration corruption in 2019. The 2018 election, described by […]

Continue Reading

Prospects for Myanmar’s development and governance

Author: Soe Nandar Linn, Yangon Myanmar’s efforts to reverse a legacy of isolation began with the quasi-civilian government led by then-president U Thein Sein. From 2011–2015, his government undertook a series of political, economic and social reforms that built the foundation for future democratic development. Key reform initiatives under his administration included renewed engagement with […]

Continue Reading

Is Singapore ready for malign foreign influence?

Author: Ja Ian Chong, NUS Singaporean politicians and commentators repeatedly emphasise the dangers of malign foreign interference. Attention has moved from a foreign academic being expelled for being an ‘agent of influence’ to civil society activists meeting with foreign leaders and independent media receiving foreign foundation funding. Opinion pieces echo the People’s Republic of China’s […]

Continue Reading

Economic concerns overshadow Singapore’s bicentenary

Author: Chang Yee Kwan, National Chengchi University and Kelvin Lee, Singapore University of Social Sciences In 2019 Singapore marked the bicentenary of its modern founding. But the celebration was largely overshadowed by continued global economic uncertainty from the ongoing US–China trade dispute and domestic concerns over socioeconomic security and mobility and the present inadequacy of […]

Continue Reading

Who will lead Vietnam in 2021?

Author: David Brown, California Vietnamese politics has reverted to its customary opacity. General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong and his intimates in the Communist Party’s secretariat remain intent on party renewal, a wholly internal affair. Going into 2019, Trong’s tightening leash on the sprawling Ministry of Public Security and his crusades against corruption and for the […]

Continue Reading

Trump keeps spoiling US Asia policy

Author: Hunter Marston, ANU Recent brinkmanship between the United States and Iran is the latest signal of Washington’s distraction from great power competition with China. The crisis in the Middle East and impeachment proceedings in Washington have distracted the Trump administration from its stated emphasis on the Indo-Pacific as its priority theatre. In many official […]

Continue Reading

Should Indonesia take China’s ‘historic fishing rights’ seriously?

Author: Sourabh Gupta, Institute for China-America Studies Indonesia–China maritime ties are once again embroiled in rising tensions over traditional Chinese fishing practices occurring in the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) adjacent to Indonesia’s Natuna regency. This time, as many as 63 trespassing vessels have been spotted across 30 locations within Indonesia’s waters, backed by the presence […]

Continue Reading

Cambodia’s year of political limbo

Author: Astrid Noren-Nilsson, Lund University Cambodian politics in 2019 was characterised by tension and uncertainty. A contentious election in July 2018 in which the ruling Cambodian People’s Party faced no serious competition has been followed by a progressive habituation to a de facto one-party system. But a ‘new normal’ has yet to settle in. Uncertainty […]

Continue Reading

Abe dominates despite another scandal

Author: Aurelia George Mulgan, UNSW Canberra The cherry blossom viewing party scandal has undermined the popularity of the Shinzo Abe cabinet and reduced public trust in the Prime Minister and Japanese democracy more generally. The sakura party scandal represents an example of what Japanese scholar Koichi Nakano describes as the Abe government ‘appropriating the state’ […]

Continue Reading