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We index full-text journals with open access platforms in our NEW Asia-Studies Full-Text Plus section. Here is the list of journals available.

 
 

 

 
 

 

 
 

 

 
 

September, 2018 Current Topics

 

Source

 

 

 

 

A Return to War: Militarized Conflicts in Northern Shan State, July 2018. Myanmar’s internal armed conflict erupted in 1948 just after it gained independence from Britain. The principle armed actors in Myanmar’s civil wars have involved the Myanmar Defense Services, or Tatmadaw, and dozens of armed resistance groups. In 2008, after decades of militarized violence under civilian and then military regimes, the Tatmadaw initiated political reforms which allowed for the transition to a quasi-democratic or hybrid regime. In 2011, the newly elected Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) government commenced engagement with ethnic armed organizations (EAOs) in an effort to resolve the long-running civil war. These efforts have been continued by the National League for Democracy (NLD)-led government since March 2016....

 

ISDP

Air Warfare Destroyer - The Game-Changer, August 2018 is Robert’s second monograph for the ASPI case studies in defence projects series which brings out the human drama and dilemmas of decision-making in what is a multi-billion-dollar, high-stakes business to equip the Australian Defence Force. Our aim, which he delivers on superbly, is to present a balanced, ‘warts and all’ account of the challenges involved in getting these decisions right. There’s so much more to complex project management than simply cost, schedule and capacity. Robert shows how politics (both big and little p), technology, budgeting and the fallibility of human decision-making all intersect to make the defence capability development and acquisition business one of the most demanding of all public sector tasks...

 

ASPI

Mice that Roar, August 2018. This report argues that over the past five years, there’s been an increase in coastguard and maritime border response capabilities across much of ASEAN. ASEAN states have primarily focused their new capabilities on enhancing physical presence patrols and response within their respective exclusive economic zones (EEZs). Coastguards have become important strategic cushions between navies in ASEAN. Underpinning this regional maritime strategic trend is an assumption that coastguard vessels are less threatening, in terms of their potential use of force, to the captains and crews of other nations’ vessels during unplanned encounters at sea...

 

ASPI

Anti-Money Laundering. A Case Study, July 2018. The Australian Government’s technological monopolies have ended. Technological developments, especially those that have been disruptive, have been driven primarily by private corporations for at least the past 10 years. Meanwhile, legislative responses to those changes, be they disruptive or otherwise, have been increasingly delayed. Acceleration in the development and use of technology has been matched by changes in the capability of those who would do us harm. In the face of rapid social change, governments have lost more than a technological edge, as the very conceptualisations of sovereignty and geographical jurisdictions are being challenged...

 

ASPI

National Security in the Philippines Under Duterte, June 2018. In May 2016, Rodrigo Duterte, the long-term mayor of Davao City, won a resounding victory in the Philippines national presidential election, becoming the country’s first elected leader from the conflict-ravaged province of Mindanao. He has since set in train a highly populist agenda that has seen internal security and stability as the main priority of his tenure. Central to that focus has been countering terrorism, ending longstanding armed insurgencies and addressing violent crime at home, while pursuing a flexible policy overseas that’s aimed at giving him sufficient time and space to deal with pressing domestic concerns...

 

ASPI

Latest APEC publications:

 

APEC

Indonesia's Economy: Between Growth and Stability, August 2018. Views of the Indonesian economy oscillate between optimism that it is set to become the world’s next economic giant and fear of renewed instability. Such views, however, get the story backwards. Indonesian policymakers have consistently prioritised stability over growth. The more concerning issue is that the economy is now heading into its fifth consecutive year of subdued growth. Although growth is solid at about 5 per cent a year, it is inadequate in terms of the job creation and economic modernisation required to meet Indonesia’s development needs and ambitions. The problems are structural...

 

Lowy

ASEAN–Australia Relations: The Suitable Status Quo, August 2018. The first ASEAN–Australia Special Summit held in Sydney in March 2018 led some Australian commentators to advocate for Australia to join the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Even if Australian membership could be made possible by changing the ASEAN Charter and achieving a consensus among ASEAN member states in favour of membership, it would not serve Australian interests in Southeast Asia as well as Australia’s current dialogue partner relationship with ASEAN...

 

Lowy

Unregulated Population Migration and Other Future Drivers of Instability in the Pacific, July 2018. Unregulated population migration within the Pacific has serious security and stability implications for the region, including Australia and New Zealand. Drivers of unregulated population migration include non‑traditional security challenges such as changing environmental and climatic conditions, disaster management, food and water scarcity, and pandemics. Other drivers include man‑made stresses such as civil conflict and fragile and unstable governments, growing interest from external actors, and organised crime...

 

Lowy

“Americanism, Not Globalism”: President Trump and the American Mission, July 2018. From the end of the Second World War, the dominant current of American exceptionalism in the rhetoric and outlook of US presidents has been the belief that the United States has a special mission to redeem the world by extending liberty and democracy to all peoples. However, President Donald Trump is an exception. He believes that in the post-Cold War era successive administrations in Washington have pursued reckless visions of regional or global hegemony — especially in the Middle East — leaving the home front to languish and the nation open to ridicule...

 

Lowy

Australia-US Convergence on the "Indo-Pacific": AUSMIN 2018, August 2018. The AUSMIN meeting held last month brought together the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Secretary of Defense James Mattis with the Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop and Minister for Defense Marise Payne. Its Indo-Pacific focus was unmistakable. Whereas the 2017 AUSMIN Joint Declaration mentioned the “Indo-Pacific” but once and for the first time at AUSMIN, the 2018 Joint Declaration mentioned the “Indo-Pacific” 11 times; with the “Asia-Pacific,” the previously dominant term of strategic reference, unmentioned...

 

EWC

India-Indonesia Relations and Indo-Pacific Security, August 2018. Though India and Indonesia do have long historical and cultural linkages, strategic partnership has been a recent development. The two share multiple common concerns, one of which pertains to China’s rapid rise and its intentions in the maritime theater. Since 2014, the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been trying to boost India’s ties with many Southeast Asian countries as part of its ‘Act East Policy’ which was recently manifest in his visit to Indonesia in late May just ahead of his first-ever speech at the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore...

 

EWC

Malaysia's Development Depends on International and Domestic Support for Maritime Connectivity, August 2018. Southeast Asia consists of two portions, mainland Southeast Asia and maritime Southeast Asia. More than 80 percent of the region’s surface is covered by the ocean, which means that maritime connectivity is crucial for the development of trade and transportation. The region contains several of the world’s busiest international sea lines of communication. Several major ports are located there, namely, the Port of Singapore and Port Klang and Port of Tanjung Pelepas (PTP) in Malaysia. The Strait of Malacca receives an average of 80,000 vessels annually...

 

EWC

Unraveling China’s Investments in Malaysia, August 2018. China was not an important investor in Malaysia prior to 2012. However, after the announcement of “One Belt, One Road” (or OBOR) in late 2013 — subsequently renamed the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) — Malaysia has increasingly attracted more investments from China. According to the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU)’s China Going Global Investment Index, which ranks 59 major economies in terms of their attractiveness to Chinese firms, Malaysia’s ranking jumped up from 20th in 2015 to fourth in 2017. While the speed at which China’s investment has increased has attracted public attention and concern, there are other dimensions to China’s investment that may not be so obvious to the public eye...

 

EWC

Malaysia's Defense Policy After the 2018 Elections, August 2018. The shocking election win by Malaysia’s opposition coalition in the country’s general elections in May raised the prospect of dramatic changes across Malaysia’s politics, economics, and society. But one of the other key areas of uncertainty is the security realm, and how Malaysia’s approach could shift over the next few years under the new Pakatan Harapan (PH) government currently led by Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammad...

 

EWC

Malaysia's May 2018 General Election and Foreign Policy, August 2018. The 14th Malaysian General Elections (GE14) held in May saw the then main opposition alliance of Pakatan Harapan, together with an allied party from East Malaysia, win a surprising 121 of 222 Parliamentary seats, allowing them to form a simple majority government. Former Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad is once again leading the nation at the age of 92. The Barisan Nasional coalition, which ruled from even before independence, now sits on the opposition bench alongside the Islamist party PAS, while Barisan’s election allies from Sarawak in East Malaysia already have left the coalition to form an independent block of their own...

 

EWC

Myanmar Opens a New Chapter in Dealing with Big Neighbor China, July 2018. Myanmar’s Shan state — the country’s biggest state — has a long border with China, and is on the cusp of becoming the axis of the China-Myanmar Economic Corridor (CMEC), part of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). It is home to the famed “Burma Road” which had been a lifeline for the Republic of China before and during WWII — a conduit for US war supplies to the beleaguered Chinese forces holding back a Japanese invasion. And long before it was the “Burma Road” the route had seen trade and invasion from China into Myanmar for centuries. Tea, opium, silver, and lead were among the commodities carried by mule caravans to Yunnan and beyond...

 

EWC

Trends in Southeast Asia 2018 #19: Agriculture in Johor: What’s Left? Despite decades of industrialization, Johor remains an agricultural powerhouse. The state is Peninsular Malaysia’s largest contributor to agricultural gross domestic product, and its official agricultural productivity is Malaysia’s third highest. Johor’s agricultural strengths lie primarily in product specialization, namely the farming of oil palms, various fruits and vegetables, poultry, pigs, cut flowers, and ornamental fish. Johor’s production clusters have taken decades, if not centuries, to build up their regional dominance. Urbanization, often blamed for diminishing agriculture’s importance, has actually helped drive Johor’s farm growth, even until the present day...

 

ISEAS

SME Policies and Performance in Malaysia, July 2018 This study aims to achieve two major objectives. First, to assess policies and initiatives implemented for the development of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Malaysia from the Eighth Malaysia Plan (2001-2005) to the Eleventh Malaysia Plan (2016-2020) as well as the SME Masterplan (2012-2020). Second, to analyze the performances and contributions of SMEs in Malaysia. The study provides a critical analysis of the adequacy of the Eleventh Malaysia Plan for SME development including whether the targeted goals for SMEs towards 2020 can be achieved...

 

ISEAS

Latest ADBI Working Paper Series:  

ADB

Latest ADB Economics Working Papers:  

ADB

Latest ADB Publications:  

ADB

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

August, 2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

International Journal of Korean Studies, Volume XXI, Number 2, 2017  

IJKS

Study on Single Window Systems' International Interoperability: Key Issues for Its Implementation, August 2018. This paper discusses the general framework of Single Window System International Interoperability (SWSII) by introducing common concepts and the ten SWSII principles, the latter being uniquely formulated for this particular study.  With only a handful Regional Single Window (RSW) implementations globally, it reviews ASEAN, the Pacific Alliance and RADDEx by outlining common themes and translating them into lessons learned. It also showcases the single window journeys of three economies namely Australia, Indonesia and Peru. These economies are at different stages of their SWS and SWSII initiative, but yet demonstrate the benefits of effective, efficient and reduced cost of trade across the milieu...

 

APEC

Financing Food Value Chain, June 2018. Following an earlier policy brief that looks at various services in a food value chain, this policy brief delves deeper into one of them – financial services. The brief begins by describing a value chain example and identifying where and what types of financing are typically needed. It then discusses various financing instruments or financing structures that are used by financial services suppliers to grant financing. Finance structures usually vary depending on the risks they are trying to mitigate. The brief also reviews the challenges of getting finance, followed by discussion on risks and insurance in the food value chain and finally on policy implications.

 

APEC

China’s Local Governments and Small Enterprises as Overseas Investors, July 2018. Xi Jinping is widely seen as being China’s most powerful leader since Deng Xiaoping and perhaps since Mao. While it is right and prudent to focus on what Xi says and does (and loudly says that he wants), there is a danger that analysis of China’s trajectory and international impact is becoming too Xi-centric. Even if observers are not specifically fixated on what Xi as an individual wants, they may nevertheless be overly focussed on the goals and ambitions of the central Chinese state, and overlook the interests and objectives of actors below the national level. Take the expansion of Chinese overseas investment as an example. The actions of Chinese companies overseas are often perceived as an illustration of Chinese economic statecraft, with companies acting on behalf of the state to attain strategic objectives...

 

EWC

Thailand’s Political Dynamics and the Consequences for Regional Economic Integration, July 2018. Thailand will assume the chair of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in 2019. As the chair has the ability to set forth certain regional agendas, the Kingdom’s vision and positions will affect not only economic integration within ASEAN, but also the bloc’s economic relations with non-ASEAN players. History teaches us that a state’s domestic political dynamics can significantly alter its foreign economic policies. Will this be the case for Thailand? Although the country’s GDP grew by 4.8% in the first quarter of 2018 – the fastest rate since 2013 — this upturn did not increase the junta’s popularity among the Thai public. For one thing, the distribution of benefits were uneven...

 

EWC

Economic Pragmatism and Regional Economic Integration: The Case of Cambodia, July 2018. Cambodia’s foreign policy strategy has been chiefly shaped and driven by “economic pragmatism,” meaning the alignment of foreign policy with economic development interests. The Cambodian government’s two main approaches to regional economic integration are (1) transforming the international environment into a source of national development and (2) diversifying strategic partnerships based on the calculation of economic interests. International economic cooperation and regional integration are key principles of Cambodia’s foreign policy, which emphasizes shared development and win-win cooperation...

 

EWC

Constraints to India’s Support for Regional Economic Integration, July 2018. In February 2018, India regained its position as the fastest growing large economy in the world, growing at more than seven percent for three preceding quarters and surpassing China. However, despite support for sub-regional integration in the Bay of Bengal region, the prospect that India will lead the charge on regional integration or even play a central role in efforts in Asia overall, remains dim. Several constraining factors, many of which have to do with India’s domestic political economy, make such a leadership role unlikely. Pushback from interest groups, India’s federal structure and the ruling party’s nationalist rhetoric are among several that shape India’s approach to economic liberalization in general and regional integration in particular...

 

EWC

Chinese Investment & Workers in Indonesia’s Upcoming Elections, July 2018. As China steps up its investments in Indonesia, more Chinese workers are migrating there, creating resentment among the local population. This could become an important and destabilizing issue in the context of Indonesian elections to be held in April 2019. While the Indonesian Ministry of Manpower records only around 25,000 Chinese workers overall in the country, discredited reports circulating online claiming that millions of Chinese workers are flooding into the Indonesian job market have in recent years sparked major public debates about the role of Chinese workers in the country. The most recent debate took place from March to May 2018, when President Joko Widodo (popularly known as Jokowi) issued a presidential regulation simplifying existing procedures for foreigners wanting to work in Indonesia...

 

EWC

The Domestic Political Impact of Rapid Economic Change in the Indo-Pacific Region, July 2018. Nowhere in the world are these impacts more visible and more dynamic than in the nations of the Indo-Pacific, many of which will hold elections within the next year. These challenges are not new, but they have intensified. Beginning in the 1980s, the revolution in communications technology and the advent of large-scale container shipping swept across East and Southeast Asia, connecting people and markets as never before. In the 1990s, burgeoning production networks linked the more competitive and investment-friendly developing economies—such as Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, South Korea, and Taiwan—with world markets, leaving more closed economies such as Laos, Myanmar, and India lagging behind...

 

EWC

Trends in Southeast Asia 2018 #18: U.S. Relations with Southeast Asia in 2018: More Continuity Than Change. The United States maintains a comprehensive and robust presence throughout Southeast Asia that has grown dramatically since the 1980s. It includes the commercial, security, education and diplomatic, and other domains. America’s strengths and contributions to the region lie particularly in both hard and soft power, but the U.S. economic footprint is both broad and deep. However, this presence is not very well appreciated or reported by regional media — whereas China’s presence and influence is pervasive. Most Southeast Asian governments are often reluctant to recognize or publicize the U.S. presence or contributions to regional security, stability, and growth...

 

ISEAS

Trends in Southeast Asia 2018 #17: The Private Healthcare Sector in Johor: Trends and Prospects. The future of the private healthcare in Johor and in the Iskandar Malaysia (IM) special economic zone in particular is intimately tied to larger property developments and trends in the region, both because private healthcare developers are increasingly the same as property developers and because IM’s future population growth relies heavily on corporate settlement in IM and the jobs that such settlement generates. Volatility in corporate investment and settlement in IM may have significant consequences for the sector’s development. The Federal and Johor State Governments intend to turn IM into a world-class private healthcare destination for local residents and foreign visitors alike. A range of strategies and policies have been launched to develop IM’s medical care, aged care, and lifestyle and well-being sectors...

 

ISEAS

Trends in Southeast Asia 2018 #16: Developing Eastern Johor: The Pengerang Integrated Petroleum Complext. The Pengerang Integrated Petroleum Complex (PIPC) is a huge development that has emerged on the east coast of Johor. Comprising Petronas’ largest refinery facility and numerous ancillary and supporting industrial areas, it is pegged to diversify Malaysia’s petrochemical industry and reap the benefits of the area’s fortunate position on international maritime trade routes. While initial responses to the PIPC development were of concern for Singapore’s oil and gas business, the island-nation’s long reputation and position in the industry means that the PIPC has some steep learning curves to traverse before coming on par with its southerly neighbour. However, the PIPC is likely to provide a solution to Singapore’s limitations in terms of costly services and limited land space. It may also rejuvenate an industry now seen by some SMEs to be somewhat stagnant...

 

ISEAS

Trends in Southeast Asia 2018 #15: State Formation in Riau Islands Province. The formation of the Riau Islands Province (RIP) in 2002 is argued to be part of a broader trend of pemekaran (blossoming) that saw the creation of seven new provinces and more than 100 new districts throughout Indonesia after the fall of the New Order. This article argues that the main motivation for these subnational movements was a combination of rational interests and cultural sentiments. In the case of RIP, rational interests involved struggles over unfair distribution of power and resources, including the way development under the control of (mainland) Riau Province had been detrimental to the peripheral and archipelagic people of Riau Islands...

 

ISEAS

Asian Development Outlook 2018 Supplement: The Outlook Remains Stable, July 2018. Developing Asia is largely on track to meet growth expectations as set out in April in Asian Development Outlook 2018 (ADO 2018). The regional gross domestic product (GDP) is forecast to expand by 6.0% in 2018 and 5.9% in 2019, the rate envisaged in April, with subregional forecasts upgraded for Central Asia. Regional growth forecasts are maintained at 6.5% for 2018 and 6.4% for 2019 when excluding the newly industrialized economies of Hong Kong, China; the Republic of Korea; Singapore; and Taipei,China. The combined growth forecast for the major industrial economies—the United States (US), the euro area, and Japan—is retained from ADO 2018 as growth in the US and the euro area remains robust. In Japan, though, unanticipated contraction in the first quarter (Q1) prompts a slight revision of the 2018 growth...

 

ADB

Asia Bond Monitor, June 2018. Emerging East Asia’s local currency bond market registered marginal growth of 1.1% quarter-on-quarter in the first quarter of 2018 to reach a size of USD12.8 trillion at the end of March. Significant bond inflows were noted in emerging East Asia at the beginning of 2018, with all markets with available data recording inflows due to positive investor sentiment. Yields in emerging East Asia trended upward between 1 March and 31 May amid global economic expansion and tightening United States (US) monetary policy. However, as the US continued its policy normalization in Q1 2018, emerging East Asia currencies depreciated, which led foreign investors to reduce their exposure to the region...

 

ADB

Pacific Economic Monitor, July 2018. Access to electricity is low in the Pacific, particularly in the more remote and less developed parts of the subregion. Factors contributing to this include dependence on costly fossil fuels for power generation, inadequate investment in infrastructure, and electricity services that may be beyond the means of poorer rural households. To help address these challenges, most Pacific governments are taking steps to shift toward renewable energy and ultimately meet ambitious targets under international climate change commitments. Further, they have made strategic investments in more effi cient transmission networks, and better collection and payment systems...

 

ADB

Fiscal Policy Conditions for Government Budget Stability and Economic Recovery: Comparative Analysis of Japan and Greece, July 2018. In the literature on fiscal sustainability, the Domar condition and Bohn’s condition are often used to check whether a government’s debt situation is in a dangerous zone. We first show that the Domar condition is obtained only from the government budget constraint (namely the supply of government bonds) and does not take into account the demand for government bonds. Second, we reveal that Bohn’s condition does not satisfy the condition of economic stability: even if this is satisfied, economic recovery may not be achieved. We propose a new condition that satisfies both the stability of the government budget and the recovery of the economy...

 

ADB

Financial Inclusion, Financial Regulation, Financial Literacy, and Financial Education in the Kyrgyz Republic, July 2018. While financial inclusion is considered one of the key drivers of development today, it is quite new to the Kyrgyz Republic. The Kyrgyz Republic attempted to introduce the notion of financial inclusion after a violent power shift in 2010. The economy experienced an overall decline, the banking sector shrank, and financial intermediation slowed down. The National Bank introduced a number of regulatory measures to tighten the supervision of the financial sector and increase consumer protection. Some of the efforts have worked well: the banking sector has rebounded, savings have been mobilized, and financial markets have started developing. However, national development patterns, such as unstable economic growth, a high poverty rate, and weak governance are the key vulnerabilities for increasing inclusivity of financial products and services...

 

ADB

Latest ADB Publications:  

ADB

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

July, 2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

High Frequency Macroeconomic Forecasts Current Quarter Model: 2018Q3, July 2018. According to its High Frequency Macroeconomic Forecast, real GDP is estimated to grow by 4.4% in 18Q2, extending the strong 4.7% GDP growth in 18Q1, reflecting high domestic demand. In 18Q3, real GDP growth is expected to moderate to 3.9% when compared with the same period last year. Comparing to the 3.8% growth in 2017 as a whole, we expect Hong Kong’s GDP will grow at faster pace at 4.0% in 2018...

 

HKU

Virginia Review of Asian Studies 2018.

 

VRAS

Raising Additional Buyer's Stamp Duty Rates and Tightening Loan-to-Value Limits to Promote a Stable and Sustainable Property Market, May 2018. In this paper, we introduce the Makan Index as a measure of the cost of eating out. This measure was built on survey data (n = 2,389) collected using a standard set of food items across 26 (URA) planning areas in Singapore, focusing on only three types of eating places: coffee shops, hawker centres and food courts. The Index was then compared across different planning areas and its correlation with socioeconomic characteristics of the planning areas was analysed. The results of this study show that the cost of eating out differs across planning areas...

 

IPS

Religion and the Secular State in Uzbekistan, June 2018. Major political and economic reforms have been initiated since Shavkat Mirziyoyev became the country’s President in fall 2016. The interaction between state and religion has been part and parcel of this reform process. This area is a contentious one, rife with confusion. Many consider Central Asia peripheral to the Muslim world, but in fact the territory of present-day Uzbekistan occupies a central position in the history and development of the religion. The intellectual effervescence of the region a millennium ago, which has recently been dubbed the “Lost Enlightenment,” included advances in both science, philosophy and theology, as well as the rise of Islamic mysticism...

 

ISDP

Australia in Space: Views from The Strategist, June 2018. The first of July 2018 marks an important day for Australia’s quest to become a more important actor in space, with the creation of an Australian Space Agency under the leadership of Megan Clark. For the first time, Australia looks to have direction, coordination and focus in its endeavours beyond earth. Understanding what this means for Australia is the focus of this report. The decision to boldly go into space marks an important step forward for Australia, which traditionally has been content to be dependent on foreign providers for space capability...

 

ASPI

ASEAN’s Role in the US Indo-Pacific Strategy, June 2018. Kavi Chongkittavorn, Visiting Fellow at the East-West Center in Washington, explains that “All in all, it is incumbent on ASEAN to reach out to the United States, Japan, India, and Australia.” Ever since US President Donald Trump announced the Indo-Pacific strategy at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation leaders’ meeting in November, 2017 at Danang, Vietnam, the leaders from of the 10 member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), have been anxious trying to figure out what it really means and to understand the possible long-term regional implications...

 

EWC

Getting Singapore in Shape: Economic Challenges and How to Meet Them, June 2018. The transformation of the Singapore economy over the past five decades has been impressive, producing rapid economic growth and delivering extraordinary improvements in social welfare. During that period, Singapore has evolved into a developed economy with multiple engines of growth including globally competitive manufacturing clusters, one of the world’s pre-eminent financial and transportation centres, and the location for regional or global headquarters of major corporations...

 

Lowy

Trends in Southeast Asia 2018 #14: Pancasila and the Challenge of Political Islam: Past and Present. Islam has become an important symbol in post-Suharto Indonesia, and political figures or parties feel they cannot afford to be seen to be against the religion or be considered unfriendly to it. Islamism emerges to challenge Pancasila (or cultural pluralism) again. Islamists already challenged Pancasila soon after Indonesian independence. But during that initial era under Sukarno, this challenge was already under control. Under Suharto, Pancasila as an ideology was effectively used to govern Indonesia, and political Islam was suppressed. However, Suharto began to co-opt Islamic political leaders during the last decade of his rule...

 

ISEAS

Trends in Southeast Asia 2018 #13: The “Free and Open Indo-Pacific” and Implications for ASEAN. In recent times, the United States, Japan and Australia have all promoted extremely similar visions of a Free and Open Indo-Pacific as the central organizing concept to guide their efforts in the region. The concept is essentially a reaffirmation of the security and economic rules-based order which was cobbled together after the Second World War — especially as it relates to freedom of the regional and global commons such as sea, air and cyberspace, and the way nations conduct economic relations. Be that as it may, the Free and Open Indo-Pacific is an updated vision of collective action to defend, strengthen and advance that order. It signals a greater acceptance by the two regional allies of the U.S. of their security burden and takes into account the realities of China’s rise and the relative decline in dominance of the U.S...

 

ISEAS

Trends in Southeast Asia 2018 #12: Living on the Edge: Being Malay (and Bugis) in the Riau Islands. In Indonesia’s Riau Islands Province — a place envisioned as a distinctly “Malay Province” upon its legal formation in 2002 — ethnic Malays are the proud heirs and custodians of a rich legacy associated with a once-sprawling Malay empire that stretched across present-day transnational borders from Indonesia, to Singapore, to Malaysia. Malays of Bugis descent have long played a disproportionately central role in the history (and the historiography or “history-telling”) of the region that now encompasses Indonesia’s Riau Islands Province. While steadfastly “Malay”, members of this community readily acknowledge that their ethnically Bugis roots maintain an enduring historical and ideological salience in their everyday lives...

 

ISEAS

Trends in Southeast Asia 2018 #11: Indonesia and China’s Belt and Road Initiatives: Perspectives, Issues and Prospects. For Indonesia, which is keen to accelerate its infrastructure development, Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is seen as an opportunity to tap into China’s huge financial resources and technological capability. There has however been no concrete BRI project agreed to between China and Indonesia so far. While China considers all projects, including infrastructure projects and economic interactions as part of BRI, Indonesia only considers those infrastructure projects initiated during the Xi Jinping period as BRI projects...

 

ISEAS

Financial Inclusion, Financial Literacy, and Financial Education in Georgia, June 2018. Georgia is outperforming developing Eastern European and Central Asian countries in terms of access to finance but is very much behind in terms of usage of financial products and technologies. We provide a comprehensive overview of the current state of financial inclusion and financial literacy in Georgia based on the latest literature, statistical evidence, and recent surveys. We review current government policy initiatives and strategy documents aimed at improving financial access of SMEs and households; analyze the state of the regulatory framework in Georgia; focus on the causes behind the current low levels of financial inclusion and financial literacy among the young, the poor, and the rural population; and provide policy recommendations to comprehensively address the financial inclusion problem in Georgia.

 

ADB

International Outsourcing, Environmental Costs, and Welfare, June 2018. Firms in the North remain unaccountable for the environmental costs of outsourcing; tight environmental regulations and international cooperation are needed to improve environmental conditions in outsourcing sites in the South. We explore the welfare consequences of international outsourcing in the presence of resulting environmental damage in a three-stage model of North–South trade. In stage 1, outsourcing firms in the North (e.g., United States and Europe)cause environmental damage to the vendor country in the South, as exemplified by the People’s Republic of China. But, as its primary goal, the South pursuing economic development is willing to bear the costs of environmental degradation...

 

ADB

Financial Inclusion, Regulation, Financial Literacy, and Financial Education in Tajikistan, June 2018. Tajikistan has a long way to go to for its population to achieve sufficient understanding of different financial products. We analyze financial inclusion, literacy, and education in Tajikistan. We discuss the progress in financial inclusion and the sector’s response to the major external shock associated with the sharp fall in Tajik labor migrants’ remittances. We analyze the policies dealing with different aspects of financial inclusion with a focus on the regulatory framework, penetration of new financial technologies, and the existing barriers to inclusion; and we give recommendations on how to improve financial inclusion and financial literacy in the country.

 

ADB

Deep Economic Integration and State Capacity: A Mechanism for Avoiding the Middle-Income Trap? June 2018. Exiting the middle-income trap requires costly improvements in state capacity. Can deep economic integration increase state capacity and, if so, how? This paper provides a conceptual framework, new measurement, and evidence. Focusing on a panel of European Union membership candidate countries, this paper documents the large variation in the evolution of state capacities and empirically identify key links and implementation sequences. The main result is the centrality of an intricate relationship between bureaucratic independence and judiciary capacity. Change in these two is a precondition for increasing internal and external competitions, which are key factors for successfully escaping the middle-income trap.

 

ADB

Latest ADB Publications:  

ADB

Latest APEC publications:

 

APEC

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

June, 2018 Current

 

 

 

 

 

 

Instability in the Pacific Islands: A Status Report, June 2018. The Pacific Islands are highly diverse in political status, population, development, migration prospects, and potential for instability. Resilience is most under challenge in western Melanesia: Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, and Vanuatu are states-in-formation characterised by extraordinary linguistic and group diversity giving rise to weak consciousness of nationhood. Fiji is different: a weak democracy but a strong state. Many observers see increasing tensions, disputes, and violence over land in Pacific urban areas as people’s traditional connections with rural villages diminish and landlessness becomes more common...

 

Lowy

Trump, Kim and the North Korean Nuclear Missile Melodrama, May 2018. As the leaders of the United States and North Korea prepare to meet for the first time, the North Korean nuclear issue sits delicately poised between crisis and breakthrough. Under the Trump presidency, North Korea’s scripted brand of hyperbole and brinksmanship is encountering the political theatre of President Donald Trump. Any US president confronted by a direct threat from North Korean nuclear missiles would treat it as a first-order security challenge. Yet Donald Trump’s “maximum pressure” campaign, and showmanship, have also elevated North Korea’s regional melodrama in ways that potentially advantage Kim Jong-un. Even if it fails to yield any tangible outcomes, meeting a serving US president would still be hugely beneficial to Pyongyang as a means of strengthening Kim’s domestic and international position, particularly in respect of its chronic legitimacy deficit in the inter-Korean comparison...

 

Lowy

India's Role is Key for Including Central Asia in Japan's Free and Open Indo-Pacific Strategy, May 2018. Central Asia has become an increasingly important region for the international community including Japan. Tokyo initially pursued bilateral relationships with each of Central Asian country through its “Silk Road Diplomacy” in the late 1990s, but started to strengthen the relationships by initiating the multilateral “Central Asia plus Japan” Dialogue in 2004. Since then, Japan has strived to become a “catalyst” for regional cooperation that would enable the Central Asian countries to achieve “open, stable and autonomous development.” A more developed and secure Central Asia is also expected to provide Tokyo with a reliable alternative source of energy supply such as oil, natural gas and rare earth metals including uranium...

 

EWC

Making Sense of the Indo-Pacific Strategy: An Inheritance from the Past, May 2018. The term “Indo-Pacific” has gained wider currency as the Trump administration promotes the Indo-Pacific Strategy as its flagship policy towards the region. Since the substance of this strategy has yet to be made clear, one could easily make speculations that the Indo-Pacific Strategy is a “containment policy” towards China given the emphasis the new National Defense Strategy has given to great power competition...

 

EWC

The 32nd ASEAN Summit’s Economic Priorities and Implications for US-ASEAN Economic Relations, May 2018. The leaders of the ten member countries of the Association of the Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) gathered at the 32nd ASEAN Summit in Singapore from April 25th - 28th, 2018 under the theme of “Building a Resilient and Innovative ASEAN.” Among the economic cooperation priorities agreed to were the continued advancement of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC), pursuit of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), and establishment of an ASEAN Smart Cities Network (ASCN)...

 

EWC

The Next Big Grey Thing - Choosing Australia's Future Frigate, May 2018. The SEA 5000 Future Frigate program has three separate broad objectives. The first is to replace the Anzac-class frigates from the mid-2020s, providing the RAN with a new class of warship with the desired capabilities. The second is industrial: faced with a steady loss of shipyard jobs over the past few years, the Australian Government wants work at the ASC Shipyard in South Australia to begin early in the 2020s. The third objective is to set up a continuous shipbuilding program that will continue to deliver locally built vessels in perpetuity, with an eye to being able to export systems, components or perhaps even warships in the future...

 

ASPI

Territorial Complementarities and Competition for Oil and Gas FDI in the SIJORI Growth Triangle, May 2018. After the initial euphoria, the SIJORI Triangle - formed by Singapore, Johor (Malaysia) and Riau Islands (Indonesia) - seems to have been completely forgotten. The growth triangle concept was initiated to enhance foreign investment. This paper aims to explore whether firms in the oil and gas industry are really strategically making use of the different factor endowments accessible in close spatial proximity. Based on FDI data and expert interviews, Singaporean firms are taking strategic advantage of the different factor endowments, especially in storage and offshore equipment manufacturing. However, Johor and Riau Islands still focus on lower value-added activities...

 

ISEAS

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