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The EU's Connectivity Strategy: An Answer to China's Belt and Road Initiative?

By Bart Broer

21 September 2018

Today’s adoption by the European Commission of a new ‘Connectivity Strategy’ linking Europe and Asia throws down the gauntlet to China.

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china tech

China’s Technological Challenge

By Roderick Kefferpütz

15 September 2018

In the past China used to be belittled as the workshop of the world that produces cheap, low quality products. Those days are over. We are witnessing a technological changing of the guard: the world’s workshop is becoming the world’s research centre. In the West, some are beginning to understand this in broader, historical terms. In the thousand years between 500 and 1500 AD, China’s technological superiority was apparent in most domains. Only with the Enlightenment was the West able to develop into an innovative force. Critical thinking and scientific advancement took hold throughout Europe, allowing the West to surpass China. But this era of technological supremacy is coming to an end. We are bearing witness to China’s technological return to the world stage. 

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Trump Asean

Discord between the EU and the US: Fallout for the Philippines and ASEAN

By James Moran

12 September 2018

Since the election of Donald Trump, there have been a series of developments that, on the face of it, give real cause for concern about the state of transatlantic relations - with some lamenting, others celebrating, what they perceive as a "decline of the West". These developments relate to climate change, trade, security and liberal democratic values. 

However, there are reasons to believe that this is not a permanent state of affairs. There are many people working on both sides of the Atlantic working to contain the currently being incurred damage. 

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DPRK Deja VU

DPRK Deja Vu

By Fraser Cameron

9 July 2018

DPRK – Deja Vu 

‘We have seen it all before’ - was the judgement of veteran DPRK watcher, Victor Cha, after the DPRK began stonewalling during Mike Pompeo’s latest trip to Pyongyang. Cha was one of many experts who expressed disbelief at the paucity of the Singapore statement after the Trump-Kim summit. 

Trump was pleased at his photo op that he tweeted ‘there is no more nuclear threat from North Korea.’ At home he basked in a sudden surge in popularity. The great dealmaker had triumphed where his predecessors had failed. ‘Rocket Man’ was suddenly ‘a good guy.’ There was no longer any need for US-South Korea joint military exercises. Trump even agreed that these were ‘provocative’ – language used by the DPRK for years.

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The summit of the year: US-North Korea

By Fraser Cameron

12 June 2018

Denuclearisation will be a big subject for discussion between Presidents Trump and Kim Jong-un at the June 12 summit in Singapore. But both leaders have mercurial personalities and vastly different expectations about the outcome, writes Fraser Cameron

 

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Indonesia Matters

Indonesia Matters

By Mascha Peters

1 June 2018

There are many reasons why Indonesia matters to the EU. Its size in land and people - Indonesia is the world’s largest island state with the world’s fourth largest population – corresponds with an unparalleled ethnical and religious diversity with over 300 ethnic and language groups in what is the world’s largest Muslim majority nation-state and the third largest democracy. 

On 9 July 2014 Joko “Jokowi” Widodo was elected as Indonesia’s seventh president. His victory - the narrowest since the end of the Suharto regime in 1998 (53% against 47% for his opponent, Prabowo Subianto) - raised expectations from the outset: The former Governor of Jakarta is the first Indonesian president without a high-ranking political or military background. Born in 1961 of Javanese origin, he studied forestry and ran a furniture factory before entering politics. A party outsider, he rose to power on the back of personal charisma and his reputation as a clean politician. His promise of change earned him the support of Indonesia’s large youth population; and next to Modi in India he was celebrated as Asia’s rising star.

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eu hr asia

EU fighting a lone battle for human rights in Asia

By Fraser Cameron

17 April 2018

The European Union has a long tradition of promoting democracy and human rights in Asia, often in informal cooperation with the United States. Until 2014, it seemed that things were moving in the right direction, but since then there has been backsliding in China and several Southeast Asian countries. Xi Jinping has tightened control in China, the military endures in Thailand, Duterte’s drug purge is ongoing in the Philippines, the Tatmadaw commits ethnic cleansing in Myanmar, Hun Sen and his party have dissolved the opposition in Cambodia, and so on.

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china arctic

China’s Arctic Policy

By Ariane Combal-Weiss

13 April 2018

China has released its first-ever Arctic policy white paper, outlining its future priorities including better understanding, protection and development of the region in addition to participating in its governance. Its approach is remarkably similar to that of the EU which has a strong emphasis on the environment and agreed international rules of behaviour. Inevitably the Chinese strategy has been dubbed the ‘Polar Silk Road’ and seen as part of its ambitious Belt and Road Initiative. 

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cptpp

Asia’s Trade Spaghetti Bowl -TPP11 and RCEP

By Dandan Wan

6 April 2018

Dubbed the TPP-11, the CPTPP (Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership) was signed by the remaining 11 TPP members on 8 March in Chile exactly one year after President Trump’s withdrawal from the agreement. Although the US exit reduced the size of the deal, which originally represented 40 percent of the global economy worth US $28 trillion[1], the new agreement strikes a blow against protectionism and reaffirms the members’ commitment to greater trade liberalization and regional integration in the Asia-Pacific.



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plastics

EU-Asia cooperation on plastics

By Ariane Combal-Weiss

3 April 2018

Both the EU and Asia are facing a massive problem of how to tackle plastic pollution. Plastics are a part of our daily lives and have brought about a revolution in sanitation and food sectors. But their carbon footprint is a disaster for our environment, including the oceans. 

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