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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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13

President Xi cements control

By Dandan Wan

29 March 2018

The highlight of the 13th National People’s Congress this month was the amendment to the constitution removing the two terms limits on the presidency thus allowing Xi Jinping to remain in office for a third term. President Xi also consolidated his power by ensuring that his supporters were appointed to top state and government positions. Despite his exclusion from the Politburo standing committee last October due to age limits, Wang Qishan, the former anti-graft tsar and Xi’s longstanding ally, was elected as Vice President. He is expected to be in charge of China’s global interests, especially the hot issue of dealing with the Trump administration amid the looming Sino-US trade war. This appointment is significant since the end of term limits extends to the Vice President. Li Zhanshu, the most trusted ally of Xi, took the helm of the national legislature body (NPC) to pursue China’s ongoing legal reform. Liu He, another Xi confidante and key economic advisor, was elevated to one of the four Vice Premiers under Li Keqiang.

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japan china trade asean

China and Japan rivalry in ASEAN

By Dandan Wan

23 February 2018

As the 600m strong Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) becomes more cohesive as a political and economic actor, Japan and China are competing for influence within the bloc. In the past 20 years, ASEAN has made steady progress in promoting regional integration. It has established the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC), East Asia’s first multilateral security dialogue the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), the East Asian Summit (EAS) and the ASEAN Plus frameworks with various partners including the EU. 

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Abe-Trump

Japan’s Indo-Pacific Strategy Gains Momentum

By Ariane Combal-Weiss

14 February 2018

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s ‘Free and Open Indo-Pacific’ strategy has gained currency over the last few months, much to the irritation of China. The term ‘Indo-Pacific’ was promoted by President Trump during his Asia tour and has been picked up by political leaders in India and Australia. On 12 November the four powers held talks covering the rules-based order in Asia, freedom of navigation and overflight in maritime commons, respect for international law, enhancing connectivity, maritime security and terrorism. Although each country offered a slightly different interpretation of the outcome, there was much talk about shared vision and interests.

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Aung San Suu Kyi

Myanmar- a Complicated Country

By Fraser Cameron

29 January 2018

While much of the outside world expresses outrage over the fate of the Rohingya, it is difficult to find anyone in Myanmar who sympathises with their situation. The government line that the recent troubles were started by ‘Muslim terrorists’ is widely shared. Most locals accept that there might have been an over-reaction from the armed forces but the common view is that the Rohingya (often described as ‘West Bengali’ or ‘Muslims living in Rakhine state’) had no right to be in Myanmar anyway. These widely-held views are reinforced through social media, especially Facebook, which Western diplomats say is full of anti-Rohingya sentiments. 

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tw

Cross-Strait Relations

By Dandan Wan

10 January 2018

Tensions across the Taiwan Straits have increased since Tsai Ing-wen, the leader of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), won the presidential election in May 2016.

Instead of acknowledging the “1992 Consensus” explicitly, she referred ambiguously to “the fact of the 1992 talks”, which triggered Beijing’s suspicion of her pro-independence stance. The “1992 consensus” is generally viewed as “One China, Respective Interpretation.” Under this formula, both Mainland China and Taiwan acknowledge that they belong to one China but they can keep to their own interpretation of what exactly “China” means. It was considered as the premise for the two sides to conduct dialogue by Mainland China.

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Greece and Chinese FDI

Greece and Chinese FDI

By Plamen Tonchev

27 December 2017

In early December 2017, the Athens-based Institute of International Economic Relations (IIER) released a report, titled “Chinese Investment in Greece and the Big Picture of Sino-Greek Relations” (http://idos.gr/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/Chinese-Investment-in-Greece_4-12-2017.pdf). The study, co-authored by myself and Ms Polyxeni Davarinou, attempts to shed light on what is seen by many as an emerging Sino-Greek tandem on the southeastern flank of the EU. 

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young korean

Sampo, Opo, Chilpo – More and More Young South Koreans are Leaving the Country

By Mascha Peters

20 December 2017

Young people in South Korea are facing an increasingly difficult social and economic environment. Despite a vast investment in higher education, there is much pessimism about their future prospects, especially among young women.

If you were born between 1980 and the mid-1990s in say Germany, you would be part of “Generation Maybe”. Born into an age of peace and rapid globalization the cliché wants it that you are part of an entitled generation of world citizens – highly educated, well connected, multilingual, yet so chronically overwhelmed by the number of prospects you cannot bring yourself to committing to more than a “maybe”. Thirty-somethings in South Korea would probably give up a lot to have that kind of problem. In fact that is exactly what they are doing – the Sampo, Opo or Chilpo generation, as they are called in Korea, is referring to the three, five or seven things Koreans in their 30s give up in order to have a better life: dating, marriage and children (three – sam), social life and house ownership (five – o), dreams and hopes (seven – chil).

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EU-Japan

EU- Japan Relations - Time for a Boost

By Fraser Cameron

11 December 2017

The EU and Japan are always viewed as like-minded partners with relations underpinned by a strategic partnership. Now both sides are moving towards a comprehensive economic partnership (EPA - more than a FTA) and a strategic partnership agreement (SPA). The former should give a much needed boost to trade relations but will the SPA be the key to a more productive political relationship?

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Australia

Australia 2017 Foreign Policy White Paper

By Ariane Combal-Weiss

8 December 2017

A new foreign policy white paper, published on 23 November 2017, highlights Australia’s growing security dilemma of having to navigate a course between an unpredictable US and a more assertive China. In his introduction to the white paper, Australian PM Malcolm Turnbull, called on Australia to be “sovereign not reliant” and “take responsibility for [its] own security and prosperity while recognising [it is] stronger when sharing the burden of collective leadership with trusted partners and friends”.

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