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xi and putin

The “New” Russia-China Relations -Implications for the EU

By Jess,Xufeng JIA

22 June 2015

·         Russia is increasingly turning towards China as a result of Western sanctions. But although there is much talk and diplomatic support there are few concrete results due to Russia’s structural economic problems.  
·         This short-term ‘axis of convenience’ could, however, develop into a more strategic alliance in the future given the right incentives on both sides.
·         The EU has taken a relaxed position to this new relationship. This may not be possible in future and the EU should reflect on how closer ties between Russia and China might affect important EU interests. 

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eu in asia

Europe in Emerging Asia

By Fraser Cameron

21 June 2015

This volume is a welcome addition to the growing literature on EU-Asia relations. It examines the problems and opportunities facing the EU as it grapples with a continent containing 60% of the world’s population and likely to contain 60% of the world’s middle class in less than two decades. The various authors make abundantly clear the growing interdependence between Europe and Asia.

One of the advantages of the book is the mix of authors, including experts and policy makers from both continents. But the book suffers, as is the fate of all edited volumes, from a certain inconsistency in the chapters.  China, India, Korea and Thailand are covered but not Japan. On the European side Britain and Poland are given prominence but there is nothing on Germany or France. Inevitably the chapters reflect the interests of the authors but nevertheless one finishes the book with a sense of having eaten a good meal, albeit with no dessert or coffee.

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eu asia maritime security

Don't mention Beijing: The EU and Asia's maritime security

By Centre for European Reform

28 May 2015

The security challenges facing EU member-states and south-east Asian countries are strikingly similar. Both regions have difficulties with their neighbours: assertive Chinese claims in the South China Sea are a less dramatic version of Russia’s annexation of Crimea; refugees in boats and illegal migration are creating humanitarian and security challenges, and piracy threatens sea-borne commerce. More co-operation between the EU and ASEAN (the Association of South East Asian Nations) on maritime security could help both of them, but it could especially contribute to south-east Asian security.  

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Eu-Asia Centre

Chinese ODI in Europe: Trends and Implications for the EU

By Jess,Xufeng JIA

15 May 2015

China is steadily increasing its stock of ODI in Europe, from €6.1 to €27 billion between 2010 and 2014, a trend that is generally encouraged by EU governments affected by the financial crisis. The first quarter of 2015 witnessed a surge of Chinese ODI that suggests even stronger growth this year. Europe began to receive significant Chinese ODI from 2001, when China started to deregulate its overseas investment and to encourage its national champions to ‘go-out’. Chinese ODI in the EU can be roughly divided into the pre-crisis stage (2001-2008), the crisis stage (2009-2012) and the post-crisis stage. The first stage was the testing stage for Chinese companies and triggered by domestic deregulation and China’s accession to the WTO. The second stage started when the financial crisis hit the EU. The Chinese government encouraged and facilitated Chinese companies’ ODI ambitions in Europe and many member states viewed Chinese ODI as a potential economic saviour and competed to attract investment from China. The third and current stage sees a more selective approach from China focusing on quality infrastructure projects and brand names. 

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Stirring up the South China Sea (III): A Fleeting Opportunity for Calm

By International Crisis Group

7 May 2015

The South China Sea is the cockpit of geopolitics in East Asia. Five countries – Brunei, China, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam – plus Taiwan have substantial and competing territorial and maritime claims in a body of water that is both an important source of hydrocarbons and fisheries and a vital trade corridor. The recent history has been scarred by cycles of confrontation. Today, the clashes are becoming more heated, and the lulls between periods of tension are growing shorter. As the region continues to grow in influence and power, the handling of the competing claims will set the tone for relations within East Asia for years. The cost of even a momentary failure to manage tensions could pose a significant threat to one of the world’s great collaborative economic success stories. Despite China’s controversial development of some of the reefs it controls, the current relatively low temperature of the disagreement offers a chance to break the cycle, but it is likely to be short-lived. The countries of the region, supported by the wider international community, need to embrace the opportunity while it lasts.

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Myanmar’s Electoral Landscape

By International Crisis Group

1 May 2015

Myanmar is preparing to hold national elections in early November 2015, five years after the last full set of polls brought the semi-civilian reformist government to power. The elections, which are constitutionally required within this timeframe, will be a major political inflection point, likely replacing a legislature dominated by the Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP), established by the former regime, with one more reflective of popular sentiment. The opposition National League for Democracy (NLD) party of Aung San Suu Kyi is well-placed to take the largest bloc of seats.

There have been major improvements in election administration since the deeply flawed 2010 elections and the more credible 2012 by-elections. While the election commission is still widely perceived as close to the government and the USDP, the transparent and consultative approach it has adopted and the specific decisions it has taken suggest it is committed to delivering credible polls. This includes major efforts to update and digitise the voter roll; consultation with civil society and international electoral support organisations on the regulatory framework; invitations to international electoral observers for the first time, as well as to domestic observers; changing problematic provisions on advance voting; and reducing the costs of a candidacy.The broader political environment is also more conducive to credible elections, with a significantly freer media and much improved civil liberties.

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 anniversary of the end of the Second World War

2015 and the History Game

By Fraser Cameron

27 April 2015

It is impossible to escape history and this is especially true in 2015, the 70th anniversary of the end of the Second World War. Nowhere has history poisoned the contemporary political atmosphere more than in East Asia where China and Korea have criticised Abe for failing to come to terms with Japanese aggression in the 1930s. On the Chinese side the emphasis is on the occupation of Manchuria and the ‘rape of Nanjing’ while the Koreans have tended to focus on the emotive issue of ‘comfort women’.  Abe will have several chances in coming weeks to deal with the history issue starting with this week’s visit to the US when he will be given the rare honour of speaking to a joint meeting of Congress. The major speech will be on 15 August, the anniversary of Hiroshima.

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China’s New Maritime Silk Road: Implications and Opportunities for Southeast Asia

By Institute of South East Asian Studies

21 April 2015

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY • In 2013, Chinese President Xi Jinping unveiled plans for two massive trade and infrastructure networks connecting East Asia with Europe: the New Silk Road and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road (“one belt one road”). The plans aim to reinvigorate the ancient Silk Roads with a modern network of high-speed rail, motorways, pipelines and ports stretching across the region. • The idea of the New Silk Road and the New Maritime Silk Road was raised because China’s domestic economy is experiencing structural changes that reflect a “new normal” of slower but better quality growth. 

The full report please see here.

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Korea-China Maritime Boundary Talks: Implications for South China Sea

By Rajaratnam School of International Studies

14 April 2015

THE LEADERS of China and South Korea agreed in July 2014 to launch a working-level group on boundary delimitation in the Yellow Sea. The first meeting took place on 29 January 2015, discussing Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs) and continental shelves. Contentious issues, including fisheries, the environment, scientific research, and resource development need to be resolved in a way which secures the long-term interests of both countries, and further working meetings will be held this year.

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Lee Kuan Yew and Singapore’s Foreign Policy: A Productive Iconoclasm

Lee Kuan Yew and Singapore’s Foreign Policy: A Productive Iconoclasm

By Rajaratnam School of International Studies

25 March 2015


Lee Kuan Yew’s mark on Singapore’s foreign policy is that of applying counter intuitive strategies to improve the island state’s international standing. In retrospect, this has ensured Singapore’s long term viability as a sovereign nation-state.


AS SINGAPORE’S first Prime Minister and the point man in negotiating decolonisation from Britain in the late 1950s and early 1960s, Lee Kuan Yew carries an aura of being one of the pioneers of the island state’s foreign policy. His political personality appears to have been directly mapped onto his steer age of foreign policy: cold unflinching appraisal of one’s circumstances, and self-reliance indesigning one’s survival strategies, but only up to the point that external parties can be persuaded that it is in their conjoined interests to partner Singapore in pursuing win-win collaborations.

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