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Eu-Asia Centre

Baluchistan – Briefing Paper

By EU-Asia Centre

30 November 2014

Baluchistan is one of the poorest parts of south Asia and riven by conflict. The term ‘Baluchistan’ refers to two different areas - Pakistan’s largest and poorest province; and the wider geographic area that is regarded by Baluch nationalists as Baluchistan. The latter includes the Baluchistan province in the Southwest of Pakistan, the Sistan and Baluchestan province of south-eastern Iran, and the small Afghan region of Baluchistan. The great majority of the region’s inhabitants are Sunni Muslims. The biggest part of the Baluchistan region is in Pakistan (the province of Baluchistan) and its capital is Quetta. The section of Baluchistan that lies in Afghanistan includes the Chahar Burjak District of Nimruz province as well as the Registan desert in southern Helmand and Kandahar provinces. These parts have been part of Afghanistan since 1747. The governors of Nimruz and Helmand provinces in Afghanistan both are ethnic Baluch.

The focus of this background briefing is on Baluchistan as a province in Pakistan and political groups located there demanding different degrees of autonomy for the province or greater Baluchistan. However, it also includes some information about Sistan and Baluchestan, and, to a lesser degree, about the Baluch in Afghanistan.

For details of this briefing paper, please refer to the .pdf below

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ABE

Why the Election Mr Abe?

By Fraser Cameron, Director

24 November 2014

Few Japanese understand why Prime Minister Shinzo Abe called a snap election for 14 December when he still had a clear majority in the Lower House and two years before he had to go to the polls. The reason given, that he wanted a fresh mandate for his economic policies, seems strange and unconvincing to most Japanese.

Abenomics, as the PM’s policies have become known, promised to move Japan out of its decade-long stagnation. But so far the results have been mixed. This year Japan fell back into recession with GDP shrinking 1.6% in the third quarter.  It had fallen 7.3% in the second, but that followed the April sales tax hike from 6 to 8%.  The surprise was that there was no third-quarter bounce-back. The news was so grim that Prime Minister Abe said he would delay by 18 months the final tax hike (to 10%) set for next October, and promised to increase government spending.  

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Myanmar.

Myanmar: The Politics of Rakhine State

By International Crisis Group

22 October 2014

The International Crisis Group’s latest report, Myanmar: The Politics of Rakhine State, looks at how the legacy of colonial history, decades of authoritarian rule and state-society conflict have laid the foundation for today’s complex mix of intercommunal and inter-religious tensions. Rakhine State, whose majority ethnic Rakhine population perceive themselves to be – with some justification – victims of discrimination by the political centre, has experienced a violent surge of Buddhist nationalism against minority Muslim communities, themselves also victims of discrimination. The government has taken steps to respond: by restoring security, starting a pilot citizenship verification process and developing a comprehensive action plan. However, parts of this plan are highly problematic, and risk deepening segregation and fuelling tensions further, particularly in the lead-up to the 2015 elections.

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Yang Yanyi

Forging a China-EU Comprehensive Strategic Partnership with Global Influence

By Yanyi YANG

18 September 2014

In spring this year, Chinese President Xi Jinping paid state visits to the Netherlands, France, Germany, Belgium and the EU headquarters all for the first time in his presidency. The historic visits aimed to chart the course for China’s relations with Europe, step up cooperation and upgrade our strategic partnership. Leaders of the two sides not only reviewed and assessed progress of bilateral relations so far, but also planned for the future to ensure our relations take on greater global, strategic and exemplary relevance in the new era.

The China-EU relationship is one of the world’s most important bilateral relationships, with strategic significance for regional and global peace and development. China and the European Economic Community established diplomatic relations in 1975, opening a new chapter in bilateral exchanges. Since the late 20th Century, our relations have progressed, in line with the long-term vision and trend of our times, from constructive partnership to comprehensive partnership and further to comprehensive strategic partnership. 

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Spanish Business Presence SG

How to boost Spain’s business presence in Singapore: opportunities in the wake of the Free Trade Agreement with the EU

By Maria Garcia and Clara Portela

5 August 2014

The recently signed Free Trade Agreement between the EU and Singapore opens up new business opportunities for Spanish companies on the island, which is already Spain’s top trading partner in South-East Asia. One highlight of the accord is the elimination of restrictions on the percentage of foreign investment in financial services and sectors such telecommunications, engineering and shipping. At the same time, the possibility of being able to bid on more government contracts can help companies involved in environmental protection and construction firms. The food industry will benefit from the novel creation of a registry of geographical indications.

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China Japan

Old Scores and New Grudges: Evolving Sino-Japanese Tensions

By International Crisis Group

24 July 2014

The deterioration in relations between China and Japan has spiraled beyond an island sovereignty dispute and risks an armed conflict neither wants. A November regional summit is a fence-mending opportunity – if the two countries’ leaders rise above nationalism and manage multiple flashpoints.

Politically viable options to bridge the wide gap on the Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands dispute remain elusive. New frictions have arisen: China’s declaration of an Air Defence Identification Zone (ADIZ) above the East China Sea deepened Tokyo’s anxiety that it desires both territory and a new regional order; Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s visit to the Yasukuni Shrine and statements that suggest a retreat from past apologies for the Second World War atrocities reopened old wounds. Asia’s two most powerful countries increasingly prioritise defence build-up over diplomacy.

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asean_eu

ASEAN-EU to Talk Trade, Security

By Shada Islam

22 July 2014


Asia remains high on the European Union’s foreign and security policy agenda as foreign ministers from the EU and ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations[1]) meet in Brussels on July 23, their first such gathering since talks in Brunei over two years ago.

Next month, security discussions will dominate EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton’s participation in the influential ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) in Naypyidaw, Myanmar. And mid-October, European and Asian leaders will gather in Milan for summit talks on injecting new life and momentum into their 18-year old ASEM (Asia Europe Meetings) partnership. (read more)

Asia and Europe have worked hard to maintain momentum in their relations despite pressing - and difficult - domestic and regional concerns. Such endeavours are to their credit. However, the challenge facing participants at both the upcoming ASEAN and ASEM meetings is to build more trust and understanding - and take their relationship to a higher, more strategic level.

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HKBeijing

Hong Kong Votes, Beijing Fumes

By Dylan Loh Ming Hui

2 July 2014

An unofficial referendum conducted in Hong Kong, sponsored by the ‘Occupy Central’ movement, drew a surprising 800,000 votes cast – drawing fire from China. What are the implications of the vote for Beijing?

ALMOST 800,000 ballots were cast online and physically at polling stations in Hong Kong, in an unofficial referendum on Hong Kong’s electoral reform. The turnout is a sizeable proportion of the 3.5 million registered voters in the 2012 elections –representing about one in five registered voters.

The poll gave voters three options all of which would allow voters to directly nominate and elect their Chief Executive, although there is an option to abstain.

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Jokowi Prabowo

Indonesia’s Post-Election Foreign Policy: New Directions?

By Emirza Adi Syailendra

16 June 2014

Indonesia’s foreign policy under President Yudhoyono has led to a higher profile and more favourable global image for the country. What trajectory will Indonesia’s foreign policy take after the 9 July presidential election?

Commentary

INDONESIA’S FOREIGN policy-making is now highly personalised. Indonesia’s greater global diplomatic involvement has been associated with the growth of the economy and President Yudhoyono’s vision. As his term comes to an end, uncertainty is emerging over whether the global-mindedness of Indonesia foreign policy under him can be sustained.

For the upcoming presidential election, both Joko Widodo (“Jokowi’) and his rival Prabowo Subianto have been taking inspiration from the nationalist outlook of Sukarno. Jokowi has placed his own imprint on Sukarno’s Trisakti principle centred on national pride that places importance on three basic propositions: freedom to proactively assert the right of self-determination in the international scene; economic self-sufficiency; and building a strong national identity. Coupled with Prabowo’s posture as a strong leader in the image of Sukarno, the question arises as to the overall impact of a Sukarnoist influence on the future trajectory of Indonesia’s foreign policy.

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hkvote

Hong Kong's Future

By Tom Roe, Senior Vice President

21 May 2014

As Hong Kong approaches the 17th year of ‘one country – two systems’ it is timely to reflect on the state of play in the former British colony and the challenges it faces in preserving its democratic structures in the face of a more assertive China. This paper considers the role of ‘Perfidious Albion’ pointing to British arrogance and inconsistency towards Hong Kong and China. It considers the possible options for Beijing faced by the sensitive ‘democracy issue,’ suggesting it is likely to opt for some flexibility within a rigid framework. The paper also examines Hong Kong peoples’ fears and desires before concluding with an analysis of the prospects for Hong Kong, especially its future autonomy, freedoms and suffrage in light of the proposal currently under discussion for the election of the Chief Executive in 2017.

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