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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.

 
 

 

 
 

 

 
 

 

 
 

November, 2019 Current Topics

 

Source

 

 

 

 

Engineering Global Consent: The Chinese Communist Party's Data-Driven Power Expansion, November 2019. The Chinese party-state engages in data collection on a massive scale as a means of generating information to enhance state security—and, crucially, the political security of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP)—across multiple domains. The party-state intends to shape, manage and control its global operating environment so that public sentiment is favourable to its own interests. The party’s interests are prioritised over simply the Chinese state’s interests or simply the Chinese people’s interests. The effort requires continuous expansion of the party’s power overseas because, according to its own articulation of its threat perceptions, external risks to its power are just as likely—if not more likely—to emerge from outside the People’s Republic of China’s (PRC) borders as from within...

 

ASPI

A New Sino-Russian High-Tech Partnership, November 2019. Sino-Russian relations have been adapting to an era of great-power rivalry. This complex relationship, categorised as a ‘comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination for a new era’, has continued to evolve as global strategic competition has intensified. China and Russia have not only expanded military cooperation but are also undertaking more extensive technological cooperation, including in fifth-generation telecommunications, artificial intelligence (AI), biotechnology and the digital economy. When Russia and China commemorated the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Soviet Union and the People’s Republic of China in October 2019, the celebrations highlighted the history of this ‘friendship’ and a positive agenda for contemporary partnership that is pursuing bilateral security, ‘the spirit of innovation’, and ‘cooperation in all areas’...

 

ASPI

Nuclear Strategy in a Changing World, October 2019. The immense destructive power of nuclear weapons continues to shape the international strategic balance, not least Australia’s place as a close ally of the United States in an increasingly risky Indo-Pacific region. What is the continuing utility to America’s allies of extended nuclear deterrence? Where is the risk of nuclear proliferation greatest? How should the world deal with the growing nuclear capabilities of North Korea? Is the nuclear order as sturdy and stable and it needs to be?...

 

ASPI

Ocean of Debt? Belt and Road and Debt Diplomacy in the Pacific, October 2019. China’s Belt and Road Initiative has raised important questions about the risk of debt problems in less-developed countries. The risks are especially acute for the small and fragile economies of the Pacific. Our analysis, however, finds a nuanced picture. The evidence to date suggests China has not been engaged in deliberate ‘debt trap’ diplomacy in the Pacific. Nonetheless, the sheer scale of China’s lending and its lack of strong institutional mechanisms to protect the debt sustainability of borrowing countries poses clear risks. Chinese lending is more intense as a share of GDP in smaller economies. If China wants to remain a major development financier in the Pacific without fulfilling the debt trap accusations of its critics, it will need to substantially restructure its approach, including by adopting formal lending rules similar to those of the multilateral development banks...

 

Lowy

The Bougainville Referendum and Beyond, October 2019. Australia has a long history and a complicated relationship with Bougainville, an island group to the east of the PNG mainland that was administered by Australia as part of Papua New Guinea for 60 years between 1915 and 1975. On 23 November 2019, its 300 000 people will commence voting in an independence referendum, and a clear majority is expected to vote for independence from Papua New Guinea. The Bougainville Peace Agreement requires PNG and Bougainville to negotiate an outcome after the conclusion of the referendum, and Canberra has indicated that it will respect any settlement reached between them. James Marape, the new PNG prime minister, has expressed a clear preference for an autonomous, not independent, Bougainville...

 

Lowy

US-Southeast Asia Trade is Increasing, but so are Deficits, October 2019. Conventional narratives are either supported by facts or overcome them. Recent increased trade flows between the US and the ten economies of Southeast Asia suggest that the predominant narrative of the commercial displacement of the United States by China in Southeast Asia is incorrect. However, the United States’s growing trade deficits and shrinking surpluses with Southeast Asia do bolster an American mercantilist narrative that bilateral deficits are an economic loss for the US caused by Southeast Asian governments’ unfair trade policies...

 

EWC

A Vietnam Perspective on Taiwan’s New Southbound Policy, October 2019. In an effort to promote Taiwan’s engagement with Southeast Asia and other Southern countries in the Indo-Pacific, President Tsai Ing-wen declared the New Southbound Policy at the very beginning of her presidency. Vietnam, though not having official relations with Taiwan, appears to endorse the New Southbound Policy and Taipei’s positioning of Vietnam at the heart of the policy. Given that context, the implementation of the New Southbound Policy will have impacts on Vietnam’s overall relations with Taiwan. The “southbound policy,” originally coined as the “Go South” policy, is not a new concept designed by Tsai herself...

 

EWC

Too little, too late for Myanmar in Taiwan’s New Southbound Policy? October 2019. Since the early 1990s, a vast bipartisan consensus among Taiwanese policymakers has looked at Southeast Asia as a credible countercheck to China’s growing leverage over the island. As a result, the idea of a ‘go south’ policy aimed at strengthening Taipei’s economic and political standing with ASEAN countries has made headlines both during the Lee Teng-hui and Chen Shui-bian presidencies, before being rebranded by the current Tsai Ing-wen government under the banner of the ‘New Southbound Policy’ (NSP) in 2016. In a nutshell, the strategy seeks to reinvigorate Taiwan’s links with its southern neighbors, whilst safeguarding both the special relationship with the United States and its extensive economic ties with the Chinese mainland. Taiwan-Myanmar relations have to be seen against this wider and deeper backdrop,..

 

EWC

Progress and Limitations in Malaysia-Taiwan Relations under Taiwan’s New Southbound Policy, October 2019. Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen has made the New Southbound Policy (NSP) a main anchor of Taiwan’s foreign policy. The NSP is not entirely “new”: Both Presidents Lee Teng-hui and Chen Shui-bian pursued similar policies aimed at strengthening Taiwan’s economic exchanges with the region and improving its political and diplomatic positioning. In comparison, Tsai’s NSP, while continuing emphasis on economic exchanges, is notable for its greater focus on people-to-people exchanges, and at the same time its political or symbolic dimensions are more subtle or even deliberately downplayed. In general, Malaysia welcomes the NSP. Since 2016, there has been an acceleration of economic exchanges, intensification of people-to-people ties, and increased sub-national level interactions...

 

EWC

India’s Act East and Taiwan’s New Southbound Policy are Win-Win, October 2019. Taiwan’s New Southbound Policy (NSP) is a policy initiative introduced by president Tsai Ing-wen after she came to power as the president of Taiwan in May, 2016. The NSP aims to strengthen Taiwan’s relationship with eighteen primary target countries: 10 in the ASEAN region, six states in South Asia, and Australia and New Zealand. Though the NSP is not the first of its kind, Tsai Ing-wen’s vision is new and comprehensive in several aspects and has a broader goal and audience than previous initiatives...

 

EWC

Monetary Authority of Singapore: Macroeconomic Review, Volume XVIII, Issue 2, October 2019 (Full Report, Presentation Slides for Briefing):  

MAS

Effects of Dark Trading on Liquidity of Singapore Equity Market, November 2019. The growth of dark trading in equities has driven academic research and attracted attention from regulators concerned about its effects on market quality. In this paper, we analyse and simulate the effects of dark trading on the market quality and efficiency of Singapore’s equity market. While our results generally support the conventional criticisms of dark trading, we find that on-exchange liquidity ("lit market liquidity") starts to worsen only when the proportion of dark trading increases beyond certain levels. In fact, our simulations suggest that some dark trading can actually improve lit market liquidity for illiquid, and small and mid-market capitalisation stocks...

 

MAS

MAS Survey of Professional Forecasters, September 2019. The Singapore economy expanded by 0.1% in Q2 2019 compared with the same period last year, lower than the 1.6% projected by respondents in the previous survey. In the current survey, year-on-year growth in Q3 2019 is expected to come in at 0.3%. The respondents expect GDP growth to come in at 0.6% in 2019, a step down from 2.1% in the previous survey...

 

MAS

Economic Reforms in the Aftermath of Regime Change in Malaysia, October 2019. The 14th General Election in May 2018 brought about an unexpected change in political rule in Malaysia for the first time since the country’s independence in 1957. In its first year of rule, the new Pakatan Harapan-led government implemented several populist economic policies that were drawn from its election manifesto. While these policies may have moderated populist politics to some extent, they have also weakened the government’s fiscal capacity. Ethnic fragmentation and a strengthened opposition alliance have also made it difficult for the new government to implement its ambitious institutional reform agenda. The new government needs to formulate and implement a new growth strategy that overcomes some of the existing structural weakness of the economy...

 

ISEAS

Agglomeration, Human Capital and Foreign Labour: The Case of Malaysia, September 2019. Trade, FDI and foreign labour have been key factors in the growth and transformation of Malaysia. The deindustrialization of the Malaysian economy has been attributed by some to the excessive dependence on the relatively low-skilled foreign labour in the country. This study finds that there is some evidence that foreign labour weakens the relationship between labour productivity and agglomeration. This is likely to take place through the weakening of human capital-effects by low-skilled foreign labour. Policies aimed at managing foreign labour need to take into account geographical agglomeration effects...

 

ISEAS

Latest APEC publications:

 

APEC

Asia Bond Monitor, September 2019. Local currency bond markets in emerging East Asia expanded steadily during the second quarter of 2019 despite ongoing trade conflicts, an economic slowdown in the People’s Republic of China, and moderating global growth. At the end of June, there was $15.3 trillion in local currency bonds outstanding in the region, 3.5% more than at the end of March and 14.2% more than in June 2018. Bond issuance in emerging East Asia amounted to $1.6 trillion in the second quarter, 12.2% higher than in the first quarter...

 

ADB

ASEAN+3 Bond Market Guide: Exchange Bond Market in the People's Republic of China, October 2019. This edition focuses on the exchange bond market in the People’s Republic of China, which is one of the country’s most important bond markets and one of only two that are accessible to foreign investment. The ASEAN+3 Bond Market Guide: Exchange Bond Market in the People's Republic of China is an outcome of the strong support and kind contributions of ASEAN+3 Bond Market Forum members and experts, particularly those from the country...

 

ADB

Latest ADB Working Paper Series:  

ADB

Latest ADBI Working Paper Series:  

ADB

Latest ADB Publications:  

ADB

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

October, 2019

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hong Kong: High Frequency Macroeconomic Forecasts Current Quarter Model: 2019Q4, October 2019. According to its High Frequency Macroeconomic Forecast, real GDP is estimated to drop by 0.1% in 19Q3 when compared with the same period in 2018, reverted from the 0.5% growth in 19Q2. Clouded by the US-China trade friction, world economic slowdown and escalating protests in Hong Kong, Hong Kong’s economy is inevitably dragged into negative growth in the second half of 2019. In 19Q4, real GDP is expected to fall by 0.9% when compared with the same period last year. We forecast a zero growth in Hong Kong’s GDP in 2019 as a whole, holding back the 3.0% growth in 2018. It is a downward revision of our previous forecast by 1.8 percentage points, reflecting the plunge in domestic demand...

 

HKU

Now I Know my ABCs: U.S.-China Policy on AI, Big Data, and Cloud Computing, September 2019. Artificial Intelligence (AI), Big Data, and Cloud Computing (ABC) have generated unprecedented opportunities and challenges for economic competitiveness, national security, and law and order, as well as the future of work. ABC policies and practices have become contentious issues in U.S.-China bilateral relations. Pundits see a U.S.-China AI race and are already debating which country will win. Kaifu Lee, the CEO of Sinovation Ventures, believes that China will exceed the United States in AI in about five years. Others argue that China will never catch up. This essay focuses on two issues: the comparative ABC strengths of the United States and China in data and research and development (R&D); and the emerging ABC policies and practices in the two nations...

 

EWC

U.S.-China Trilateral Aid Cooperation: Features, Prospects, and Recommendations, August 2019. The current trade war between China and the United States has drawn global attention to competition in U.S.-China relations. Such competition should not, however, obscure areas of mutual interest where cooperation is possible. Based on U.S.-China trilateral pilot projects, trilateral cooperation creates opportunities for aid officials and practitioners from China and the United States to communicate, but it would be ambitious to expect the limited number of pilot projects to shape Chinese aid practices or improve Chinese aid performances in the short term. These pilot projects are small in scale, and the level of coordination between China and the United States should be strengthened further...

 

EWC

Making the Millennium Challenge Corporation Compact Work for Sri Lanka, September 2019. In April 2019, the Board of Directors of the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) approved a compact program for Sri Lanka. This is a large five-year grant that was provided to Sri Lanka on the basis that it meets the MCC’s eligibility criteria of good governance, economic freedom, and investment in its citizens. It will be implemented by a team appointed by the Sri Lankan government, under the guidance of MCC. As the process has taken longer than expected, it is hoped that the MCC Board when they meet on 18 September 2019 will grant additional time for the MCC Sri Lanka Compact (MCC Compact) to be approved by Sri Lanka’s Cabinet. President Maithripala Sirisena has suggested that a decision would be taken after the upcoming Presidential elections in Sri Lanka in December 2019...

 

EWC

Australia-Afghanistan Relations: Reflections on a Half-Century, September 2019. It is now fifty years since diplomatic relations were formally established between the Commonwealth of Australia and the Kingdom of Afghanistan. Superficially, the two countries might seem to have little in common. Nonetheless, there is more to unite Australians and Afghans than one might think at first glance. Even before the Australian colonies federated, Afghans made their way to Australia to provide transport by camel in Australia’s inland. By the time of the 2016 census 46,800 Afghans were living in Australia. And since 2001, more than 25,000 members of the Australian Defence Force have served in Afghanistan. Recent years have brought Australia and Afghanistan far closer to each other than ever before in their history...

 

ASPI

Trends in Southeast Asia 2019 #14: China’s Evolving Policy towards the Chinese Diaspora in Southeast Asia (1949–2018). The Chinese diaspora, consisting of both Chinese living overseas who are citizens of China (huaqiao), and people of Chinese descent who are citizens of foreign countries (huaren), have significantly shaped the making of modern China. China’s policy towards its diaspora is primarily governed by its national interests and foreign policy imperatives. However, the Chinese government has been careful to ensure that the huaqiao and the huaren fall into different policy domains: Chinese citizens living overseas are subject to China’s domestic policies, while Chinese descendants who are citizens of other countries come under China’s foreign affairs. Nevertheless, from the beginning, the latter continue to be regarded as kinsfolk distinct from other foreign nationals...

 

ISEAS

Trends in Southeast Asia 2019 #13: Quality, Equity, Autonomy: Malaysia’s Education Reforms Examined. The Pakatan Harapan (PH) government promised education reforms before getting elected in 2018, and presently grapples with the complexities of making good on those pledges while seeking to negotiate continuity and change with regard to the previous administration’s Malaysian Education Blueprint launched in 2013. This article situates the education reforms in the context of Malaysia’s highly centralized administration, embedded practices and policy initiatives of recent years. Discussion focuses on three areas—quality, equity, autonomy—where PH has more distinctly differentiated itself from its predecessor...

 

ISEAS

Trends in Southeast Asia 2019 #12: Free and Open Indo-Pacific Strategy Outlook. The United States launched a new Free and Open Indo-Pacific (FOIP) strategy in late 2017 after reluctantly concluding that its patient effort to engage and socialize China to the rules-based order since 1972 had failed. China’s behaviour since 2009 convinced the United States that China is a revisionist power seeking to impose an authoritarian model of governance in Asia which, if successful, would end the rules-based order in the Indo-Pacific as well as endanger US security and vital trade interests. The new US FOIP strategy initiative seeks to engage like-minded nations in economic, security (both traditional and non-traditional), and political governance partnerships to construct a collaborative and scalable network of relations that will be able to respond flexibly to meet a wide range of stakeholder needs and regional contingencies across the Indo-Pacific region...

 

ISEAS

Trends in Southeast Asia 2019 #11: Between Social Services and Tolerance: Explaining Religious Dynamics in Muhammadiyah. Muhammadiyah, together with the Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), are seen as the two pillars of moderate Islam in Indonesia. Muhammadiyah is currently often perceived to be the more conservative of the two and to have more affinity with Islamist groups. On political issues, for instance, it is steered by Islamist imagery. On cultural issues, Muhammadiyah is often guided by old enmity towards what is called the TBC (takhayul, bid’ah dan churafat; delusions, religious innovation without precedence in the Prophetic traditions and the Qur’an, and superstitions or irrational belief). This position has placed Muhammadiyah in an uneasy relationship with both local cultures and traditionalist Islam...

 

ISEAS

Asian Development Outlook 2019 Update and Highlights. Developing Asia’s gross domestic product is forecast to slow from 5.9% in 2018 to 5.4% in 2019 and 5.5% in 2020. Inflation across developing Asia is forecast to increase from 2.5% in 2018 to 2.7% this year and in 2020. Growth in developing Asia is moderating but remains robust. As global trade slows and investment weakens, regional growth forecasts are trimmed from Asian Development Outlook 2019 by 0.3 percentage points for 2019 and by 0.1 points for 2020 compared to April forecasts. The revisions reflect gloomier prospects for international trade and evidence of slowing growth in the advanced economies and the People's Republic of China, as well as in India and the larger economies in East and Southeast Asia...

 

ADB

Selected Asian Development Bank Member Fact Sheets: Afghanistan, Austria, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Korea, Republic of, Netherlands, Norway, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Taipei,China, and Turkey.

 

ADB

Latest ADBI Working Paper Series:  

ADB

Latest ADB Publications:  

ADB

Asian Development Review, Vol. 36, No. 2, 2019 (Full Report):
This edition focuses on perspectives on structural change, whether the traditional path of moving from agriculture to industry and services still holds, the impact of globalization, and the effect of structural change on labor markets. It also discusses the macroeconomic effects of public infrastructure in the Philippines, the impact of extreme natural hazards such as droughts and floods on health-care utilization and expenditures in Sri Lanka, and the relationship between the exporting and ownership characteristics of firms in providing a safe working environment in Viet Nam's manufacturing firms.

  ADB

APEC Capacity Building Workshop on WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, September 2019. This publication provides background of the project, summary of presentations, discussions and recommendations from the workshop, APEC Capacity Building Workshop on TFA for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) held in Ho Chi Minh, Viet Nam on 13-14 June 2019.The workshop was conducted with the following objectives: (1) increase knowledge of MSMEs and experts from MSME associations and supporting organizations on the TFA (the Agreement, ratification of WTO members, implementation of WTO members, opportunities and challenges, how the TFA benefits SMEs, etc; (2) share experience from speakers and among participants, and discuss on how to integrate the TFA in SME development policies and (3) network MSMEs and experts from MSME associations and supporting organizations.

 

APEC

Small-scale LNG in Asia-Pacific, September 2019. Interest in the use of small-scale LNG (SSLNG) has increased in recent years as demand for natural gas in the Asia-Pacific region continues to increase. SSLNG has some unique advantages such as lower initial investment, shorter construction periods and increased operational and logistical flexibility. This makes SSLNG a particularly advantageous way of supplying natural gas to outlying islands or remote regions. This study aims to assess the opportunities and challenges of introducing SSLNG in the Asia-Pacific region and considers study-cases and policies that may favor its expansion in the region.

 

APEC

SMEs’ Integration into Global Value Chains in Services Industries: Tourism Sector, August 2019. This report presents a comprehensive research on structures, main strategies for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to participate in tourism global value chains (GVCs), as well as best government practices and policies on facilitating MSMEs access to tourism GVCs. It has been prepared to facilitate better understanding of the structure of tourism GVCs and the opportunities and challenges for tourism MSMEs in the Asia Pacific and provides APEC policy makers a set of recommendations to improve strategies to integrate MSMEs into tourism GVCs and how to enhance MSMEs competitiveness in tourism services . It includes survey results that present APEC economies’ issues to address the integration of MSMEs into GVCs, as well as a set of case studies including developed and developing economies’ best practices.

 

APEC

Philippine Institute for Development Studies - Research Paper Series:  

PIDS

Philippine Institute for Development Studies - Development Research News:  

PIDS

Latest Philippine Institute for Development Studies - Discussion Papers:  

PIDS

Latest Philippine Institute for Development Studies - Policy Notes:  

PIDS

Journal of Global Buddhism, Vol 19, 2018 and Vol 20, 2019.  

JGB

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

September, 2019

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once More with Feeling: Russia and the Asia-Pacific, August 2019. The rise of Asia is the central challenge of Vladimir Putin’s foreign policy. No other continent will have a greater impact on Russia’s international prospects in the coming decades. The Asia-Pacific, in particular, is already the principal region of global growth, geopolitical rivalry, and clashing values. Moscow’s long-time Westerncentrism is increasingly obsolescent, and the need for a fundamental reorientation of Russian foreign policy has become compelling. Recent developments point to a new level of commitment in Russia’s engagement with the Asia-Pacific. Moscow has moved beyond platitudes about a ‘turn to the East’ and is pursuing a multi-dimensional approach towards the region: reinforcing the partnership with China; reaching out to other major players; and promoting itself as a significant security and economic contributor...

 

Lowy

Thematic Review of Collateral Management Standards and Practices of Corporate Lending Business, August 2019. The slowdown in global growth over the past year, amid heightened uncertainty and increased downside risks posed by trade and geopolitical developments, would have an impact on credit risk faced by banks. As credit risk remains a key concern for the financial sector, MAS expects banks to be vigilant in adopting sound credit risk management standards and practices to guard against these external vulnerabilities. Against this backdrop, MAS conducted a thematic review on collateral management standards and practices of banks’ corporate lending business over 2018 and 2019. This is the third in a series of credit thematic reviews of banks’ corporate loan portfolios, which started in 2015. These thematic reviews, taken together, covered key control elements of banks’ credit life cycle, and highlighted sound practices that the industry should benchmark against...

 

MAS

MAS-SGX Trade Surveillance Practice Guide, August 2019. In its regulation of the capital markets, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (“MAS”) seeks to promote fair, efficient and transparent markets, where participants have equal access to information and transparent trading rules are effectively enforced. Such market integrity preserves investor confidence and is crucial for well-functioning capital markets that support trade and economic growth. As a frontline regulator, the Singapore Exchange Regulation (“SGX RegCo”), an independent subsidiary of the Singapore Exchange (“SGX”), works closely with brokers, MAS and other stakeholders to uphold robust compliance and surveillance standards, and encourages early disruption of irregular trading activities in SGX’s markets...

 

MAS

Joko Widodo’s Re-Election and Indonesia’s Domestically Anchored Foreign Policy, August 2019. On July 14, newly re-elected Indonesian incumbent President Joko ‘Jokowi’ Widodo delivered a speech on his visions for the second term, set to kick off in October 2019. The president’s speech did not touch upon foreign policy, a subject many have claimed to be his weakness. Expectedly, Jokowi focused his speech on infrastructure and economy — which reflects the administration’s main concerns since he first assumed presidential office in 2014. This does not mean, however, that Indonesia under Jokowi has been neglecting foreign affairs. It is perhaps true that Jokowi has not been a president with a grand vision for foreign policy...

 

EWC

Emerging Trends in India-U.S. Oil and Gas Engagement, August 2019. Oil and gas trade is emerging as a new area of engagement between India and the United States against the backdrop of increasingly complementary interests. The emergence of the United States as the world’s top oil and gas producer in the last few years dovetails perfectly with India’s energy-deficient status and growing demand. With high rates of economic growth and over 17 percent of the world’s population, India’s energy consumption growth is largely fed by foreign imports of fossil fuels. While the increasing supply and demand are the obvious drivers of this upward trend in trade, the contours of energy ties have been fleshed out in the India-US Strategic Energy Partnership (SEP) launched in April 2018. The trade component of the SEP envisages the sale of oil and gas to India from the burgeoning shale rigs in the United States...

 

EWC

Towards a Commonwealth Law Enforcement Innovation Framework, August 2019.In March 2019, ASPI, with the sponsorship of Oracle, coordinated the ASPI–Oracle Innovation Framework Workshop. The workshop brought together subject-matter experts from federal law enforcement agencies, academia and the private sector to explore the feasibility of a Commonwealth law enforcement innovation framework (CLEIF). This followed a 2018 research project that explored the current state of innovation in law enforcement. That research was based on a case study of innovation in Australia’s federal anti-money-laundering (AML) provisions...

 

ASPI

Indo-Pacific Election Pulse 2019: Thailand, Indonesia, India and Australia: Views from the Strategist, August 2019.With democracy under stress globally, a deeper understanding of the impact elections in the Indo-Pacific in 2019 will have on the region’s strategic direction is crucial. In the context of growing concerns over the strength of democracy, the influence of authoritarianism and ideological competition, this Strategic Insight—a collection of articles from The Strategist — delves into the complexities and implications of elections in India, Indonesia, Australia and Thailand.

 

ASPI

The Australian Defence Force and Contested Space, August 2019. This new Strategy report looks at war on the high frontier of outer space, and what the implications such a development might have for the ADF. It highlights that space is not a sanctuary from geopolitical rivalries. The report notes that Australia is heavily dependent on the space environment, both for its national prosperity and societal well-being, and for its defence and national security, and the report examines Australia’s current approach to use of space for Defence. The report then examines emerging counterspace threats. China and Russia are moving towards deploying a suite of ‘counterspace capabilities’ to deny access to essential space systems used by the US and its allies, including Australia, prior to, or at the outset of a military conflict...

 

ASPI

Defence Projects and the Economy, August 2019. This report examines what the national economy stands to gain from nearly $100 billion of planned investment in new defence capital equipment including submarines, frigates and military vehicles. The report emphasises that although the general public has been informed about some of the economic benefits of those projects, it has limited access to reliable information on most of their economic costs. Nor has the public been fully informed of how much of what goes into the projects will be produced in Australia...

 

ASPI

Strong and Free? The Future Security of Australia's North, August 2019. This report argues that ‘there is a need to reconceptualize Northern Australia, as a single scalable Defence and National Security ecosystem’. This ecosystem should be developed to ‘deliver integrated support to current and future ADF and National Security operations’. The strategic importance of Australia’s north to Australia’s defence has long been recognized by government and policy makers. Despite strategic policy commitments to Northern Australia, there is a growing body of evidence indicating that the gap is widening between strategic policy and Defence’s actual activities and presence in the north. This could well be symptomatic of a gap in Australia’s northern development policies...

 

ASPI

Projecting National Power: Reconceiving Australian Air Power Strategy for an Age of High Contest, August 2019. Author Peter Hunter says, ‘There’s rich potential for the Air Force’s new platforms—from F-35 to P8 to Growler—to help project our national influence. Air power’s value will be measured not just by its ability to deter and discourage traditional military threats, but also by its role in helping achieve influence in our region.’ Dealing with challenges like coercive diplomacy and political warfare will mean the ADF needs to help shape regional events to our advantage, as well as prevent others from doing things we don’t want. But that will require disruptive thinking about how air power assets can be used in unconventional ways...

 

ASPI

Firm Performance and Structural Change: The Case of Thailand, August 2019. A key aspect of the development process is structural change. For most countries, this takes the form of a decline in the contribution of the agriculture sector in the economy accompanied by the rise of the shares of manufacturing and services. The theories and empirics of structural change have mostly focused on economy-wide and sectoral-level analysis. There is a scarcity of studies on the microeconomics of structural change due to the lack of long-term panel data at the firm level. This study undertakes a microeconometric analysis of structural change by studying how firm-level performance as defined by ROA and ROE is affected by structural change in the Thai economy. A key finding of this study is that trends in the financial performance of firms provide a useful perspective of the micro-level impact of structural change in the economy.

 

ISEAS

Latest APEC publications:

 

 

APEC

Latest ADBI Working Paper Series:  

ADB

Latest ADB Publications:  

ADB

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

August, 2019

 

 

 

 

 

 

Foreseeing India-China Relations: The 'Compromised Context' of Rapprochement, July 2019. India-China relations witnessed a new wave of optimism for a progressive and engaging partnership following the Wuhan Summit, the informal 2018 meeting between Narendra Modi and Xi Jinping. Key to this has been continuous exchange of political and official visits from both sides. However, these exchanges might not be sufficient to remove uncertainty and suspicion from their relations. As long as China’s relationship with the United States remains adversarial, China will embrace India—without guaranteeing that it will not adopt a confrontational posture in the future. Their shifting relations, though suggesting an official longing for an upward trajectory, are based on a compromised context. External circumstances have pushed them to rapprochement, but could also drive them apart. Whether India and China will sustain this rapprochement is difficult to foresee...

 

EWC

Australia’s Approach to the South China Sea Disputes, July 2019. Over the past five years, Australia has expressed concern over China’s island building, militarization of land features, and excessive maritime claims in the South China Sea (SCS). Australia shares similar interests with the United States in upholding the maritime rules-based order, yet there are important divergences that reflect differing perspectives on geostrategic competition in the Indo-Pacific. While bipartisan support for the U.S. alliance remains strong, the importance of protecting trade relations with China has also shaped Canberra’s response to the SCS disputes...

 

EWC

Belt and Road Initiative 2.0: ‘Qualitatively’ Different? June 2019. Following five years of periodic controversies and criticism – some factual, others contrived – President Xi Jinping used the Belt and Road (BRI) Forum in April to set the agenda for the next five years of his hallmark project. At the forum’s second edition, meant to promote a “stronger partnership network,” the Chinese leader pledged to “clean up,” stressed “zero tolerance” to corruption, and emphasized readiness to adopt “internationally acceptable” standards in the bidding process of BRI projects in the future. This language indicates Beijing’s openness to constructive criticism and willingness to objectively tweak some inherent weaknesses in the strategy and implementation mechanisms for the BRI during the 2013-2018 period...

 

EWC

Jokowi’s Second Term: Economic Challenges and Outlook, July 2019. After winning the 2019 election, President Joko ‘Jokowi’ Widodo’s has a great opportunity to bring the Indonesian economy into a stronger footing. Jokowi’s economic policies achieved mixed outcomes in his first term (2014–2019). He hasn’t delivered a promised 7% economic growth, but steady 5% growth is perceived as a commendable achievement, given slowing global growth, rising uncertainties, and low commodity prices. Macroeconomic stability has been well maintained, and Indonesia’s creditworthiness has improved during this first term...

 

ASPI

From Board Room to Situation Room. Why Corporate Security Is National Security, July 2019. Corporations already protect their assets and functions. Corporate security encompasses those managers who address the preventive ‘likelihood’ and the resilience ‘consequence’ elements of risk management and seek to secure the business from a wide range of hazards, including criminals, issue-motivated groups, terrorism, cyberattacks, environmental events, natural disasters, espionage and supply-chain disruption. However, considering the company’s capabilities as part of our national security capabilities isn’t normally a factor in business planning. Our approach to national security planning should now include key companies and their supply chains: it’s time to rethink our national security approach in a more complex, dynamic and interconnected world...

 

ASPI

The Post-Caliphate Salafi-Jihadi Environment, July 2019. In 2019, the global Salafi-jihadi architecture is very different from the one that emerged in September 2001, when transnational terrorism burst on to the international scene, or July 2014, when ISIL controlled more than 34,000 square miles in Syria and Iraq and thousands of young men and women were flocking to be part of its ‘caliphate’. Many of the leaders of the Salafi-jihadi movement are gone. Some, like Osama bin Laden and Abu Muhammad al-Adnani, have been killed, and many others have been captured or are in hiding. And yet, despite having no territory and having lost many of their leaders, both al-Qaeda and ISIL continue to pose a threat to the maintenance of international peace
and security. In fact, one could argue that they pose more of a threat today, as the structure of the groups has moved from integrated to fragmented, making command and control more tenuous...

 

ASPI

North of 26° South and the Security of Australia Views from the Strategist, July 2019. The idea of the north of Australia being central to the new concept of the defence of Australia in the 1970s derived from the key strategic fact that the only country in the region with the conventional military capabilities to threaten Australia was Indonesia. In the 1950s and early 1960s, Indonesia had the world’s third-largest communist party and was armed by the Soviet Union with modern submarines and long-range bombers. Australia’s response was to acquire F-111 fighter-bombers and Oberon-class submarines. However, by the 1980s, much of Indonesia’s military equipment was either out of date or suffering from a chronic lack of maintenance. Hence, the 1986 Dibb review and the 1987 defence white paper focused on the potential threat of low-level conflict, which could conceivably be escalated to the use by Indonesia of its deteriorating Soviet military equipment...

 

ASPI

Between Japan and Southeast Asia: Australia and Us–China Economic Rivalry, June 2019. Recently, the economic front of US–China major-power rivalry has deepened and expanded beyond the legalistic confines of the World Trade Organization (WTO). Many in Australia, which has the US as its security ally and main source and destination of investment and China as its main trading partner, are rightly concerned by this evolution. Within the WTO and outside, Australia’s alignment on the economic dimensions of the US–China contest has been consistent for decades. Here, Australia is less aligned with the US than Japan and less aligned with China than Southeast Asian states despite trading more heavily with China...

 

ASPI

The Leniency Programme in Malaysia’s Competition Regime: A Critical Evaluation, July 2019. Malaysia’s competition law came into force in January 2012. Detailed guidelines on a leniency programme were published in October 2014. Despite the leniency programme being designed based on best-practices found in more mature competition regimes and ICN, it has been under-utilised in the cartel cases investigated in Malaysia. This under-utilisation of the programme could be due to the enforcement agency having too much discretionary powers. Another reason could be the lack of immunization from civil proceedings. De-facto government oversight and spillover from deterioration in the country’s state of governance in the past could also have affected the public’s perception of quasi-independent commissions. This is reflected in the perceptions of the business community on courts and corruption in the country.

 

ISEAS

High Frequency Macroeconomic Forecasts Current Quarter Model: 2019Q3, July 2019. According to its High Frequency Macroeconomic Forecast, real GDP is estimated to grow by 1.3% in 19Q2 when compared with the same period in 2018, improved from the 0.6% growth in 19Q1. The US-China trade tension severely dampened Hong Kong’s consumer sentiment and external trade in the first half of 2019 but it is expected to improve slightly in the upcoming quarters. In 19Q3, real GDP is expected to grow by 1.6% when compared with the same period last year. We forecast Hong Kong GDP to grow by 1.8% in 2019 as a whole, slower than the 3.0% growth in 2018 and a downward revision of our previous forecast by 0.5 percentage points...

 

HKU

Emergency Liquidity Assistance in Singapore, June 2019. This Monograph outlines the approach taken by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) in providing Emergency Liquidity Assistance (ELA) to financial institutions (FIs). As a central bank, MAS conducts money market operations daily to ensure that there is an appropriate amount of liquidity in the banking system. To reduce interest rate volatility and to facilitate the smooth functioning of S$ payment systems, MAS also operates two liquidity facilities1 – the MAS Intra-day Liquidity Facility (ILF) and the MAS Standing Facility (SF). These facilities allow eligible FIs to obtain intra-day or overnight S$ liquidity on a collateralised basis. Details of MAS’ liquidity management framework are set out in the monograph on Monetary Policy Operations in Singapore...

 

MAS

A Guide to Digital Token Offerings, April 2019. This paper provides general guidance on the application of the relevant laws administered by MAS in relation to offers or issues of digital tokens in Singapore.  For purposes of this guide, the securities laws refer to the Securities and Futures Act (Cap. 289) (“SFA”) and the Financial Advisers Act (Cap. 110) (“FAA”). The contents of this guide are not exhaustive, have no legal effect and do not modify or supersede any applicable laws, regulations or requirements...

 

MAS

Incentive Structures in the Banking Industry, March 2019. Financial institutions (FIs) across jurisdictions have shown a clear shift in their view of the importance of sound culture and conduct in the years following the Global Financial Crisis. Notwithstanding the heightened awareness of their importance, progress in steps taken to improve culture and conduct has been uneven. We continue to witness how gross misconduct and unethical practices by FIs in some countries have eroded customers’ trust and public confidence in the financial sector. In many of these incidents, imprudent incentive structures were contributing factors...

 

MAS

MAS' Approach to Macroprudential Policy, January 2019. The Monetary Authority of Singapore is an integrated financial supervisor that is responsible for “fostering a sound and reputable financial centre and promoting financial stability in Singapore. MAS achieves this objective through microprudential supervision of individual financial institutions and macroprudential oversight of the financial system as a whole. The objectives of MAS’ supervision and the principles that guide our approach are set out in “Objectives and Principles of Financial Sector Oversight in Singapore”, issued in April 2004. The schematic representation below illustrates how the various supervisory functions of MAS support its mission to promote a sound and progressive financial services sector...

 

MAS

Fostering an Enabling Policy and Regulatory Environment in APEC for Data-Utilizing Businesses, July 2019. The objectives of this study is to better understand: 1) how firms from different sectors use data in their business models; and considering the significant increase in data-related policies and regulations enacted by governments across the world, 2) how such policies and regulations are affecting their use of data and hence business models. The study also tries: 3) to identify some of the middle-ground approaches that would enable governments to achieve public policy objectives, such as data security and privacy, and at the same time, also promote the growth of data-utilizing businesses. 39 firms from 12 economies have participated in this project and they come from a diverse group of industries, including aviation, logistics, shipping, payment services, encryption services, and manufacturing. The synthesis report can be found in Chapter 1 while the case study chapters can be found in Chapter 2 to 10.

 

APEC

Promoting Regional Connectivity of Professionally Qualified Engineers in APEC, June 2019. This project comprises two main components: creation of the APEC Engineer Databank and the organization of the HRDWG-GOS Workshop and Dialogue on Promoting Regional Connectivity of Professionally Qualified Engineers in APEC. This report provides insights into the databank’s usage statistics to examine its usefulness as the official platform; and captures the gist of views and ideas raised by participants of the HRDWG-GOS workshop and dialogue. It concludes with specific short- and long-term recommendations that aim to guide APEC to support cross-border mobility for professionally qualified engineers.

 

APEC

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ADB

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ADB

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

July, 2019

 

 

 

 

 

 

Modernization and Regional Cooperation in Central Asia: A New Spring? November 2018. Until recently, regional cooperation among Central Asian states has left much to be desired. While a number of initiatives have been launched over the past quarter-century, there is no functioning mechanism for coordination among the region’s states, and by early 2018, a decade had passed since Central Asian leaders met without the presence of foreign powers. Little wonder, then, that despite the close cultural and historical connections linking Central Asians together, the very existence of a Central Asian region has come to be questioned. In the past two years, there are important indications that this gloomy picture is rapidly changing. The pace of interaction among regional states has grown considerably. Controversies over border delimitation and water use have been largely resolved...

 

ISDP

Overestimating the Power of China´s BRI – Lessons Drawn from Japanese ODA Engagement in Asia, June 2019. China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) proposed by President Xi Jinping in 2013 is among the most ambitious global visions promoted by one country. The general goal of BRI is the provision of economic infrastructure worth at least $1 trillion to improve the land and sea routes between Asia, Africa, and Europe. In order to attract additional international investments to finance the initiative, China even created a multilateral bank – the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) — in 2015. However, China’s ambitious BRI strategy has met considerable criticism from politicians and policy-makers, journalists, analysts, and scholars. These criticisms include accusations of pursuing debt-trap diplomacy to gain concessions from countries participating in BRI...

 

EWC

Pathways for the United States and Vietnam to Establish a Strategic Partnership by 2020, June 2019. The United States and Vietnam, former enemies, have transformed relations into a partnership since rapprochement in 1995. Moving away from their twentieth-century enmity, the two sides reached a breakthrough in relations with the establishment of a comprehensive partnership in 2013. A further step was taken in 2017 when a joint statement was issued for enhancing the comprehensive partnership. The next step should be establishing a strategic partnership by 2020. The foundation of the relationship between the United States and Vietnam comprises more than strategic considerations. It is deeply emotional, as people from both sides have worked together to address war legacies...

 

EWC

Slim Prospects for US-Pakistan Relations to Pivot from AFPAK to Indo-Pacific, June 2019. The United States has not reoriented its Pakistan strategy away from a solely Afghanistan-Pakistan basis toward a wider Indo-Pacific perspective. Even so, a significantly positive transformation in Islamabad’s domestic environment and foreign relations can change the U.S. and international perspectives about Pakistan. For starters, there is a strong perception in Washington policymaking circles that until the Afghanistan issue is resolved, chances are slim that the United States will think of Pakistan in a broader Asian framework. Even the resolution of the Afghanistan conundrum would not guarantee an improved U.S.-Pakistan relationship...

 

EWC

North Korea: Sanctions, Engagement and Strategic Reorientation, October 2018. This paper examines the roles that sanctions, and inducements might play in resolving the North Korea problem. It finds that while the "maximum pressure" narrative is plausible, the evidence to substantiate it is thin. Likewise, the North Korean regime is aware of the potentially constraining (or even destabilizing) political implications of cross-border economic integration and has acted to structure engagement in ways to blunt its transformative impact. Maximizing the transformative possibilities of engagement will require conscious planning by North Korea's partners...

 

EWC

Australia-China Law Enforcement Cooperation, June 2019. Australia and China have an extensive and growing economic relationship underpinned by diverse people-to-people connections. China is Australia’s largest two-way trading partner in goods and services (A$195 billion in 2017–18). Chinese investment into Australia’s real estate industry increased by 400% in the five years to 2015, to A$12 billion in 2014–15. Money flows from China into Australia almost doubled between 2011–12 and 2015–16, from A$42 billion to almost A$77 billion. China is Australia’s largest source of overseas students (over 157,000 studied in Australia in 2016) and second largest and highest spending inbound tourism market (with 1.2 million visits in 2016). This economic relationship is mutually beneficial, but it also creates opportunities for criminals...

 

ASPI

Women, Peace and Security: Defending Progress and Responding to Emerging Challenges, June 2019. his is the third year ASPI has run a series on The Strategist to coincide with International Women’s Day and examine Australia’s approach to women, peace and security (WPS). The series offered a timely opportunity to assess progress and identify some of the challenges that need further examination as the international community prepares to mark twenty years since the adoption of the first UN Security Council resolution on women, peace and security, and as Australia approaches the release of its second National Action Plan on WPS. The range of topics and themes canvassed in this year’s collection of articles reminds us that we cannot afford to be complacent...

 

ASPI

Forward Defence in Depth for Australia, June 2019. With the re-election of the Scott Morrison-led Coalition government in May 2019, the future shape of Australian defence policy needs to be examined. The strategic assumptions that underpinned defence policy choices in the 2016 Defence White Paper were made in the years preceding the release of that document and extend from earlier white papers, including those released in 2009 and 2013. Their foundation goes back to the days of the 1986 Dibb Report and the 1987 Defence White Paper. In the next Defence White Paper, which could emerge as early as 2021, a continued approach that places too much emphasis on defending the inner arc—notably the ‘sea–air gap’—would not adequately address emerging strategic risks to regional stability. The strategic environment has evolved at such a pace that policies announced in 2016 have been overtaken by events. It’s time for a review of Australian defence strategy. It’s time for something new.

 

ASPI

ANZUS and Alliance Politics in Southeast Asia, June 2019. Discussion over the future of US alliance politics in Asia has recently intensified. China’s power is growing, and US President Donald Trump is showing antipathy towards what he views as insufficient allied efforts to support America’s defence strategy in the region. While much attention has been understandably directed towards the US’s security ties with Japan and South Korea during Trump’s ongoing efforts to negotiate a denuclearisation agreement with North Korea, US strategic relations with Southeast Asia and its neighbours—what’s termed here as the ‘southern flank’—are also critical to Washington’s own long-term geopolitical interests and to that region’s sustained economic growth and geopolitical stability.

 

ASPI

The PNG-Australia Development Partnership: A Redesign That’s About Listening and Transformation, June 2019. Stephanie Copus-Campbell brings a deep knowledge and passion about Papua New Guinea (PNG) to her work. In this ASPI Strategic Insight, she describes both her personal history with this key neighbour to Australia’s north and the complex, difficult challenges PNG faces. Refreshingly, she uses this context to propose a redesign of Australian development engagement with PNG, which is particularly timely and needed as the Australian and PNG governments contemplate further cooperation flowing on from the initiatives agreed with Port Moresby in Canberra’s ‘Pacific step up’...

 

ASPI

Behind the Veil: Women in Jihad After the Caliphate, June 2019. Women have long played an important role in jihad, but the Islamic State has, since its inception, expanded both the potential and scope of those female roles. The caliphate may be no longer, but Islamic State’s military defeats have not dampened the appeal of jihad in many quarters. In fact, conditions are already set for an IS resurgence. There is a global cohort of over 73 000 women and children (10 000 of them foreigners) in Kurdish camps who surrendered after the fall of Baghouz. The Islamic State considers this cohort, as well as other female supporters, a key part of its future survival. As Islamic State shifts from governance project to global terrorist movement, women will continue to play an important part of that transformation...

 

Lowy

Trends in Southeast Asia 2019 #10: Interreligious Conflict and the Politics of Interfaith Dialogue in Myanmar. Amidst successive episodes of interreligious violence in Myanmar between 2012 and 2014, interfaith dialogue emerged as a crucial conflict resolution and prevention mechanism. The 2011–16 Union Solidarity and Development Party administration often indirectly promoted the use of interfaith dialogue to defuse interreligious tensions and conflicts, though its political will was questionable. Various governmental, intergovernmental, and non-governmental actors have engaged in interfaith dialogue, peace, and harmony initiatives in the past seven years...

 

ISEAS

Trends in Southeast Asia 2019 #9: The Significance of Everyday Access to Justice in Myanmar’s Transition to Democracy. Legal pluralism in Myanmar is a reality that is not sufficiently recognized. A lack of recognition of and clear mandates for the informal justice providers, along with the absence of coordination between these providers and the judiciary, present critical challenges to local dispute resolution and informal legal systems. This results in a high level of unpredictability and insecurity concerning the justice outcomes and in the underreporting of cases. The lack of jurisdictional clarity represents an even greater challenge in areas of mixed control and where numerous armed actors are present...

 

ISEAS

Smallholders and the Making of Malaysia’s Oil Palm Industry, June 2019. As part of efforts to curb the oil palm industry’s harmful socio-environmental impacts in Southeast Asia, scholars and policymakers have been showing more interest in independent smallholder farming arrangements. Smallholders, however, continue to encounter significant barriers to entry. Focusing on Southeast Asia, scholars have often claimed that oil palms are naturally endowed with processing cost economies favoring large-scale production arrangements. With their limited access to capital, technology, and skills, smallholders are disadvantaged relative to estates. The history of Peninsular Malaysia, with particular reference to Johor, suggests a different argument...

 

ISEAS

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APEC

Asia Bond Monitor, June 2019. This issue of the Asia Bond Monitor features a special chapter on housing bond markets, including insights on how they can be further developed in the region. Local currency bond markets in emerging East Asia continued to expand over the first quarter of 2019 despite trade conflicts and moderating global growth. At the end of March, there were $15 trillion in local currency bonds outstanding in emerging East Asia, 2.9% more than at the end of 2018 and 14.0% more than at the end of March 2018. Bond issuance in the region amounted to $1.4 trillion in the first quarter, 10.0% higher than in the last quarter of 2018 on the back of stronger issuance of government debt.

 

ADB

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