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EU-US Cooperation on Asia

By Fraser Cameron

21 October 2020

How will a Biden administration seek to work with the EU on Asia? Assuming Joe Biden wins on 3 November there will be a sea change in attitudes towards transatlantic relations. Biden likes Europe, knows Europe and is keen to work with Europe. Biden will make it easier to cooperate with the EU by reaffirming the US commitment to the multilateral system. He has stated that the US will re-join the Paris climate change agreements, UNESCO and the WHO, extend the Start arms control agreement with Russia, and support the Iran nuclear deal. All this will be music to European ears. Biden has been more careful on trade but one can expect a firm commitment to reforming the WTO.

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Duterte, credit: Rappler

Philippines, the Pandemic and the President.

By Serena Dell'Angelo

25 September 2020

The year 2020 in the Philippines has been one of lock-down. The usually high-profile and energetic President Duterte has been relatively quiet, possible enjoying time off from international meetings and travels, activities that he evidently does not enjoy much. Instead, the focus has been on succession, settling internal scores, reinforcing its grip on power and, last but not least, securing his succession at the 2022 elections. Pundits still bet on his daughter, Sara Duterte, as the most likely successor.

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violence against women

Crimes against Women – EU and Asian responses

By Réka Koleszár

15 September 2020

Violence against women in conflict situations is almost an omnipresent phenomenon. Women have suffered in warfare in Asia, likewise in Europe and other continents with rape and other forms of aggression often carried out with impunity. Contemporary historical precedents of systemic violence against women in NE and SE Asia and the Balkans continue to cause disputes and influence the political climate.

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Merkel Xi

The EU’s ‘My Way’ with China

By Fraser Cameron

3 August 2020

In contrast to the US administration’s ideological war with China, the EU is still keen to maintain a cooperative relationship where possible with Beijing. According to one senior EU official, Pompeo’s speech at the Nixon centre last week was ‘high on bombast and low on policy.’ he added that the EU will not refrain from criticising China over human rights or taking action, as it did this week on Hong Kong, but it sees no other option than to work closely with China in the current crisis.


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COVID-19 – Lessons from East Asia

By Réka Koleszár

27 July 2020

While Europe has been hit hard despite early warnings, the East Asian countries are generally viewed as success stories regarding their handling of COVID-19. Their response to the crisis evolved over time and ultimately can be judged by the number of cases, the extent to which citizens respected the preventive measures and the mortality rate. Successful countries had a case-based strategy and aggressive intervention to identify, isolate, investigate contacts and monitor them. By looking at the example of different countries in East Asia, much can be learned about handling a pandemic and its aftermath.

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India Democracy

Values also key to EU-India Partnership

By Antti Tulonen

24 July 2020

Only a week after EU’s top diplomat Josep Borrell lamented that “Europe feels somewhat lonely, trying to hold the multilateral ring. For sure we know that we need partners.”, the successful India-EU summit on 15 July seemed to deliver with an agreement on peaceful nuclear cooperation, a declaration on sustainability and a strong joint statement and a roadmap for closer bilateral and multilateral cooperation. Arguably the summit outcome was a culmination of the shift from a predominantly trade focused relationship to a more strategic partnership first outlined in the EU's 2018 new policy for India. India does make for a very promising partner: a potential democratic superpower in the Indo-Pacific with a positive disposition towards the EU and a shared perspective on many global issues.

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medical supplies

Onshoring medical supply chains – not a good idea

By Antti Tulonen

6 July 2020

As China, the factory of the world, went into lock-down in February, the French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire was among the first to call for “relocalising” supply chains for key industries as lack of critical parts hampered car and other production lines in Europe. Soon after, it was the alarming gaps in medical supplies that hit the headlines. By May, joining the chorus of Macron and other national politicians, even the Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton was saying that globalization may have "gone too far" for medical supplies as well as other industries. Arguably, the dramatic medical shortages in crisis added much of the emotional weight to the call for more ‘strategic sovereignty’ that otherwise could have too strong a ring of protectionism for many among the free trade champions in the EU.

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ursula, summit

Tough talking at the EU–China summit

By Fraser Cameron

30 June 2020

On 22 June, the first summit took place between the new EU leadership team, headed by European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and President of the European Council Charles Michel, and China’s President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang, but there was little time for small talk. One official remarked, ‘the gloves were off from the start’ with no attempt to secure a traditional joint statement, let alone a joint press conference.

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Soldiers on border, Credit: Flickr, BMN Network

India-China Mistrust Continues

By Ishaansh Singh

20 June 2020

The latest India-China confrontation involving several fatalities is a reminder that their long-running border disputes are far from settled. Mutual distrust has characterised relations between the two nuclear-armed Asian giants since they went to war in 1962. At the same time they remain important trading partners.

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Hong Kong protest (Credit: wikimedia commons)

National Security Law, CCP versus Hong Kong

By Catarina Rogado

9 June 2020

It is widely believed that President Xi Jinping has used the cover of the Covid-19 crisis to introduce the contentious new national security legislation for Hong Kong. Beijing was clearly frustrated at the long-running demonstrations in Hong Kong last year following the introduction of an equally contentious extradition bill and hoped that the world’s attention would be focused on tackling the pandemic rather than Hong Kong.

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