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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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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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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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