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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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EU-ASEAN

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

By Prashanth Parameswaran

11 March 2013

Synopsis

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.

Commentary

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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Vietnam

Vietnam’s troubles

By Fraser Cameron, Director

8 February 2013

Visiting Vietnam recently I was struck by the amount of time given to the C word – corruption. Foreign diplomats, NGOs, most ordinary Vietnamese, and even a growing number of communist party officials agree that the situation regarding corruption has significantly deteriorated in the past couple of years. As the shine wears off the tiger economy, corruption is now a dominant theme at the highest echelons of the communist party of Vietnam (CPV). There is growing resentment in the country that so many senior party officials have become very rich.  Many believe that if the CPV fails to tackle corruption and deal with the problems facing ordinary citizens its iron grip on the state could be threatened.

When the Vietnamese tiger economy was growing fast there was a tendency to turn a blind eye to corruption. But as the economy began to falter (reduced growth, rising inflation, mounting public debts) more and more questions began to be raised.

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Indonesia 2013

Indonesia 2013: A Year of Voting Dangerously?

By Achmad Sukarsono

7 February 2013

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President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono this week expressed concern that local elections would be a distraction from governing in Indonesia, not only in 2014, when his term ends, but also this year, when at least 144 positions for governor, bupati (district chief), and mayor could be contested. He fears that incumbents, challengers, police, civil servants and other officials administering one-third of the country might focus more on these campaigns rather than doing their jobs. But the consequence of what he calls “a year of politics and elections” is more treacherous than just an increase in already poor service delivery and chronic civil service absenteeism.

As some recently warned, these local elections could make 2013 a dangerous year. It was a prophecy quickly fulfilled when in the first major race of 2013 one local councillor was killed on 29 January on the day Papua province voted for a new governor.

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Obama Hu Jintao

Is power really shifting to China?

By Guy de Jonquieres

4 February 2013

That economic and financial power is shifting from west to east – and specifically to China – has become a mantra of our age, repeated so often and so insistently that it appears to be widely regarded as self-evident. Frequently, it is accompanied by the assertion China is set irreversibly on the path to global pre-eminence, if not domination. It is only a matter of time, it
has even been suggested, before China rules the world.

Much less often is it asked exactly what China’s power consists of, how it might be exercised and for what purposes. It seems simply to be assumed that such a large and populous country, with an economy that has grown so big so fast, must have both the will and the capacity to impose its writ on the rest of the world. Yet that assumption, and the premises that underlie it, are open to serious question.

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DAP Malaysia

Malaysia’s 13th General Election: Prospects and Challenges for DAP

By Farish A. Noor

28 January 2013

The Democratic Action Party (DAP) which is one-third of the Pakatan Rakyat opposition alliance today, draws its support primarily from non-Malay, non-Muslim voters. How will the DAP fare at the coming general election if it has to make compromises with its coalition partners, including the Islamic party PAS that still upholds its vision of eventually creating an Islamic state in Malaysia?

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Merkel and Shinawatra

Where are the Women? Females in politics and business in Europe and Asia

By Julia Marie Ewert

14 January 2013

The recent winner of the Korean presidential elections, Park Geun Hye, has not only attracted attention due to her political views but also because she will be the first female President in Korean history. Whilst the number of women in leadership positions in politics and business has increased globally over the last decades, women are generally still largely underrepresented on corporate boards and in politics both in Europe and in Asia. What are the main causes of underrepresentation?

 

Europe

Although a majority of university graduates are female in many countries, only few women make it to the top in politics and business in Europe. Margaret Thatcher and Angela Merkel remain exceptions. Whilst the percentage of women as part of the European workforce has risen to 45% in 2011, the top positions are still predominantly held by men. According to EU statistics, in 2010 women held about 25% of ministerial posts but less than 14% of seats on corporate boards across Europe.

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Chinese MFA Spokesman Hong Lei

China Needs A More Coordinated Diplomacy

By Wenwen Shen

6 January 2013

When the new Chinese leadership took over last November, there were mixed expectations about foreign policy. Although the new leader Xi Jinping seems assertive by background and sophisticated in style, the absence of a foreign affairs specialist in the Politburo raised questions as to how co-ordinated the country’s diplomacy is likely to be. While a few watchwords came out from the 18th National People’s Congress’ report such as ‘independent foreign policy’, ‘naval power’, ‘peaceful diplomacy’ and ‘win-win results’, little is known about how these concepts will mesh together to ensure a purposeful Chinese diplomacy especially in an era when more and more actors play a role in the formulation of Chinese foreign policy.

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