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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

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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Vietnam’s troubles

By Fraser Cameron

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


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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