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Myanmar Ethnic Minorities

The Myanmar Government and Ethnic Minorities: An Unhappy Marriage

By Kaewkamol Pitakdumrongkit

26 April 2013

The recent communal rioting in Meiktila has led critics to doubt the Myanmar government’s ability to cope with its ethnic issue. Although outside efforts have failed to pressure Myanmar to institute improvements, the government will be able to curb its ethnic tensions and prevent them from spiralling out of control, making regional instability unlikely while continuing the relationship of an unhappy marriage.


The recent ethnic conflict in Meiktila, central Myanmar, is different from previous conflicts. It occurred in the inner Myanmar, not in the country’s border towns as before. This might have led some critics to doubt the government’s ability to deal with the ethnic problem since the conflicts have spread to the heartland.

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Pakistan Elections 2013

Pakistan’s 2013 Elections: A Milestone, but Fragile Democracy

By Abdul Basit

7 April 2013


The May 2013 election is going to be a milestone in Pakistan’s political and constitutional history. It will decide the direction of Pakistan’s political system  – whether towards enduring democracy or continued instability.


THE RETURN of Pervez Musharraf to Pakistan at the risk to his own life has brought attention to the upcoming national elections, which the former president is determined to contest as saviour of the nation despite his unpopularity. Indeed, the 11 May 2013 elections will be a milestone in Pakistan’s constitutional history after having passed an important political moment on 16 March 2013 when both the civilian government and parliament completed a full five-year term in office (2008-13).

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EU-China Economic Relations

Better news for EU-China economic relations?

By John Farnell

4 April 2013

Despite regular reports about trade disputes, the EU and China today enjoy a closer and more diverse economic relationship than ever before and the trend is upwards.

China is the EU’s second biggest export market and likely to remain one of the fastest growing. China has so far avoided a “hard landing”, there has been no property crash, no widespread social unrest despite a downturn in exports and domestic demand is picking up. And the EU and China are committing to cooperation in areas that matter economically: on investment, research and innovation, environment and energy policy.

Since the March National People’s Congress there may be additional grounds for optimism. If the early signals from the new Chinese leadership about economic reform are carried through, despite the formidable obstacles, then there is hope for positive change in the framework conditions for EU-China relations.

But action on the EU side is also necessary for that to happen.

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ASEAN–EU Relations: From Regional Integration Assistance to Security Significance?

By Anja Jetschke and Clara Portela

1 April 2013

The Foreign Ministers of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) held their annual summit from 17 to 18 November 2012 in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

European Union (EU) decision-makers have paid relatively little attention to the ASEAN region despite entering into a series of important agreements with ASEAN as a whole and with individual ASEAN member states: In July 2012 the EU entered into the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia (TAC), an important regulatory framework for the region. In October 2012, it finished negotiating a partnership and cooperation agreement (PCA) with Vietnam, and in December of the same year, it signed a free trade agreement (FTA) with Singapore. But despite these milestones, the EU generally has played a minor role in the region.

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Look East Policy

South Asia’s “Look East” Policies

By Pradumna B Rana and Chia Wai Mun

25 March 2013


“Look East” policies implemented by South Asian countries in the early 1990s have had positive impacts on their economies. These countries now need to move on to the second phase of their “Look East” policies.


SOUTH ASIAN countries initiated their “Look East” policies to promote closer relations with East Asia as part of their economic reform programme of the 1990s. India announced its “Look East” policy in 1991 and subsequently other countries followed suit. Although a lot more needs to done, significant steps were taken by these countries to deregulate their industrial sectors and to reduce tariffs. These policies have had significant positive impacts on their economies.

International trade between South Asia and East Asia has surged, albeit from low bases, and China has become the largest trading partner of India.

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Cyber Security

US - China Cyber Talks: Internet Security in the Global Economy

By C. Raja Mohan

18 March 2013


A series of recent statements from Washington and Beijing suggest the US and China may be preparing for an important dialogue on cyber security. Focused on the economic implications of cyber espionage, the incipient Sino-US dialogue could define the terms of the global debate on developing cyber norms.


THE US national security adviser Tom Donilon this month pointed to the unacceptable frequency and intensity of Chinese cyber attacks on American corporations and called for a comprehensive dialogue with Beijing. Until now the global debate on cyber security has been centered on the challenges of controlling Internet crime, coping with hostile attacks on critical infrastructure like electricity grids, and developing legal norms to limit cyber conflicts among nations.

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China Goes Global

Book Review: China Goes Global – The Partial Power by David Shambaugh, OUP

By Fraser Cameron, Director

12 March 2013

Is China really going to take over the world? Not anytime soon according to Professor David Shambaugh of George Washington University who has just published a new book examining the fundamentals of Chinese power.

Based on several years of research and hundreds of interviews, Shambaugh argues that China has an increasing global presence but this does not automatically translate into power or even influence. He suggests that China is suffering from an identity crisis which means that foreign policy can be confusing. Sometimes Beijing is assertive, sometimes cooperative. Sometimes it has clear aims, sometimes it stands on the side. It is increasingly embedded in the international system with a plethora of diplomatic meetings being held in China and third countries. The fact that China can send so many senior political figures on missions abroad gives it an advantage over other countries.

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Sustaining Europe’s Pivot to Asia: ASEAN - EU Dimension

By Prashanth Parameswaran

11 March 2013


While Europe’s recent pivot to Asia is welcome, the European Union (EU) and ASEAN need to capitalise on this momentum and take bold steps to advance their relationship.


DURING his visit to Singapore recently German foreign minister Guido Westerwelle made a convincing case for deeper European Union engagement in Asia and more specifically with ASEAN. Germany is hardly alone in recognising this. Indeed, 2012 seemed to be the year of Europe’s pivot to Asia. Leading officials attended key Asian summits, and the EU made advances in its relationship with ASEAN by suspending sanctions on Myanmar, acceding to the ASEAN’s Treaty of Amity and Cooperation and completing a successful ministerial meeting in April.

But while ASEAN-EU ties have certainly warmed recently due to Europe’s increasing interest in the region, “upgrading” the relationship between the world’s two major regional integration initiatives will require sustained and significant progress by both sides across several areas in the coming years.

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Palgrave Handbook of EU-Asia Relations

The Palgrave Handbook of EU-Asia Relations - Review

By Julia Marie Ewert

1 March 2013

The Palgrave Handbook of EU-Asia Relations
Edited by Thomas Christiansen, Emil Kirchner and Philomena Murray
Palgrave Macmillan
696p., £150.00
ISBN 978-0-230-37869-8

The Palgrave Handbook of EU-Asia Relations is a comprehensive compilation of articles dealing with EU-Asia relations. Divided into eight sections and 38 articles the book covers a great part of the mutual ties. Written by eminent scholars from diverse backgrounds, the book combines excellent research from both Europe and the Asia-Pacific. The eight different book sections cover the conceptualisation of the relationship, the comparative, political, economic, institutional and global dimensions, the role of China in EU-Asia relations and bilateral relations between the EU and various Asian countries.

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Park Geun Hye SK

The New South Korean President’s Foreign Policy Directions

By Justyna Szczudlik-Tatar

1 March 2013

The new South Korean President Park Geun-hye’s foreign policy focuses on pursuing a more balanced approach towards North Korea compared to the hard-line policy presented by her predecessor, fortifying the alliance with the U.S., and heightening relations with China and Japan. Nevertheless, recent provocations from Pyongyang pose a challenge for the moderate policy to the North she presented in the campaign. Park’s efforts to ameliorate regional security concerns are in the EU’s interest. They provide a foothold from which the EU can expand its visibility in the region, secure its economic interests and actively support the reconciliation in Asia by sharing experience.

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