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2022 Highlights

 

 

 

 

 
     

 

2021, 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015

2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004

     

 

August, 2022

 

 

 

 

 

 

India and the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework, July 2022. India’s decision to join the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) may have surprised many who have followed India’s recent record in joining bilateral and multilateral economic arrangements. In 2019, India announced that instead of signing the deal, it would leave the negotiations for the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), a fifteen-member trade agreement in the Asia Pacific. In 2020, India and the United States’ effort to sign a bilateral trade and investment agreement stalled. In 2021, the United States and India announced that working towards a free trade agreement was off the table...

 

EWC

Taiwan Matters for America Special Series:  

EWC

US-Korea Relations:  

EWC

Special Series on The Pacific Islands:  

EWC

How to Make Indonesia’s Sovereign Wealth Fund Work, July 2022. Indonesia has finally joined a long list of emerging economies with sovereign wealth funds. Indonesia Investment Authority (INA) was established in 2021 with the task of making long-term investments to support sustainable national development. INA’s immediate role is to purchase attractive assets from infrastructure-related state enterprises, which have built up large debts since the government actively mobilised them in the mid-2010s. Through this process, state enterprises will eventually be able to use the proceeds to strengthen balance sheets and conduct more development projects. Moreover, INA is searching for external co-investors. Since domestic financial resources are limited, foreign investment could contribute to accelerating the implementation of economic projects. While benefiting from co-investors’ large capital pool and know-how, INA, in turn, could help co-investors manage financial, political, and geostrategic risks. Although still at an early stage, talk on co-investment is progressing with diverse financiers...

 

Lowy

Japan’s Security Strategy, July 2022. This special report demonstrates the extraordinary proactivity of Japan towards issues of regional order-building, security and defence policy, and military capability development and teases out the implications for Australia as a closely aligned partner. The author collates and presents a wide range of disparate official source documentation and thematic analyses to render an appraisal of Japan’s security strategy in a comprehensive but digestible format. The report concludes that, while Japanese activity in the security sphere has been unprecedented and prolific, Canberra must also be aware of certain limitations in terms of resources, and political caveats to Japan becoming a ‘normal country’ or bona fide ‘great power’. Canberra, too, must be a creative, practical policymaker if the full benefits of the deepening special strategic partnership with Japan are to contribute to a truly free and open Indo-Pacific.

 

ASPI

North of 26 Degrees South and the Security of Australia: Views From the Strategist, Volume 5, July 2022. The Northern Australia Strategic Policy Centre’s latest report is a series of articles published in The Strategist over the last six months, building on previous volumes by identifying critical intersections of national security, nation-building and Australia’s north. This issue, like previous volumes, includes a wide range of articles sourced from a diverse pool of expert contributors writing on topics as varied as biosecurity, infrastructure, critical communications, cyber-resilience, maritime infrastructure, foreign investment, space, and Indigenous knowledge-sharing. It also features a foreword by ASPI’s new Executive Director, Justin Bassi. The 19 articles propose concrete, real-world actions for policy-makers to facilitate the development, prosperity and security of Australia’s north. The authors share a sense that those things that make the north unique – its vast space, low population density, specific geography, and harsh investment environment – are characteristics that can be leveraged, not disadvantages.

 

ASPI

Trends in Southeast Asia 2022 #12: The Halal Project in Indonesia: Shariatization, Minority Rights and Commodification. Discussions on halal are not newly invented in the context of Indonesia only since the formalization of the halal issue in the 1990s. The matter has been recognized since the coming of Islam to the archipelago. As with other religions such as Judaism, Islam also has regulations on the lawfulness and the unlawfulness of consuming and producing goods, which are classified as halal (permissible) and haram (impermissible or forbidden). In addition, halal and haram are considered important distinctions in Islam. Because halal and haram have doctrinal positions in Islam, all Muslims are committed to upholding that difference in their daily life. Other than taking part in mandatory prayers, Muslims are regulated in what is permissible and impermissible in eating, drinking and other behaviours. Those who do not obey are categorized as sinful Muslims...

 

ISEAS

Trends in Southeast Asia 2022 #11: Justifying Digital Repression via “Fighting Fake News” - A Study of Four Southeast Asian Autocracies. In mainland Southeast Asia, the governments of Cambodia, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam have been using the pretext of curbing “fake news” to control digital space. The phenomenon of “fake news” gained international traction in light of, among other things, the 2016 US elections and Brexit, in which false online information contributed to the rise of hate speech and extremism, political divides and the eroding of democracy. While these concerns are legitimate and have led to the implementation of various regulatory measures and content moderation policies, political leaders, especially autocratic ones, have found it useful to make policy responses to “fake news” as a means to stifle critics. This weaponizing of “fake news” allegations has served to tighten the regimes’ grip on information to the detriment of a healthy information environment...

 

ISEAS

Russian Foreign Policy under Putin: What Does it Mean for India? July 2022. The special and privileged strategic partnership between India and Russia has been under renewed scrutiny since the latter launched an invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. New Delhi has continued to carry out a fine balancing act in maintaining its engagement with Moscow while also managing close ties with its Western partners. Driven by national interests and geostrategic calculations, bilateral ties have remained strong despite a sense of stagnation in recent years. What factors account for this development, what are the opportunities and challenges, and how have Russian foreign policy decisions impacted its relationship with India? This issue brief traces the history of Indo-Russia ties in the 21st century to answer these questions and understand their current trajectory amidst the ongoing war.

 

ISDP

India’s Act East Policy: Finding Opportunities in Post-Pandemic Adversities, July 2022. India’s Act East Policy has fallen short of its promised potential due to factors like China’s increasing influence in the region, rising tensions between India and China, and India’s withdrawal from the RCEP. Since the end of 2019, the COVID-19 pandemic has damaged economies, disrupted supply chains, interrupted services, and led to many more challenges. Despite such issues, the pandemic triggered a new urgency to re-imagine the cooperation and explore new avenues of collaboration under the Act East Policy. This issue brief discusses the new areas of cooperation – in health, digitalization, and the green economy – with India’s eastern neighbors.

 

ISDP

China in Sri Lanka and Solomon Islands: Role of Littorals in the Geopolitical Competition, July 2022. This issue brief discusses the growing Chinese sphere of influence in Sri Lanka and Solomon Islands, its impact on the region and on the regional powers, India and Australia. The Rajapaksa regime in Sri Lanka and Sogavare administration in Solomon Islands face significant geostrategic competition where security agreements and multiple infrastructure projects are carried out in the littorals by extra-regional powers. Both regimes faced public protest, and are seen as fragile democracies where Chinese maneuvers are visible. China is making inroads using the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) to expand into Sri Lanka’s regional provinces. How do Sri Lanka and Solomon Islands threaten their immediate regional power? How can the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF)/Quad help vulnerable nations to realign with a rules-based order? What is the role of littorals in the security balance?

 

ISDP

Asian Development Outlook (ADO) 2022 Supplement: Recovery Faces Diverse Challenges. This Supplement revises the growth forecasts for developing Asia from 5.2% to 4.6% for 2022 and from 5.3% to 5.2% for 2023, reflecting worsened economic prospects because of COVID-19 lockdowns in the People’s Republic of China (PRC), more aggressive monetary tightening in advanced economies, and fallout from Russia’s protracted invasion of Ukraine. The inflation forecast for developing Asia is revised up, from 3.7% to 4.2% for 2022 and from 3.1% to 3.5% for 2023, amid higher fuel and food prices. Inflation pressures in the region are, however, less than elsewhere in the world...

 

ADB

Trade Interdependencies in COVID-19-Related Essential Medical Goods: Role of Trade Facilitation and Cooperation for the Asian Economies, July 2022. This paper empirically investigates the state of trade interdependency for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) essential medical goods—vaccines and their value chains, personal protective equipment, and diagnostic test kits—across 29 Asia and the Pacific economies. Expanding on Hayakawa and Imai (2022), the analysis investigates whether trade facilitation, proxied by membership in regional trade agreements (RTAs), can help mitigate any adverse impact on trade in essential medical goods...

 

ADB

Latest ADBI Working Paper Series:  

ADB

Latest ADB Publications:  

ADB

Latest APEC publications:

 

APEC

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

July, 2022

 

 

 

 

 

 

Philippine Perspectives on the 75th Anniversary of US-Philippines Bilateral Relations, June 2022:  

EWC

The Australian Defence Force and Its Future Energy Requirements, June 2022. The global energy system is undergoing a rapid and enduring shift with inescapable implications for militaries, including the ADF. Electrification and the use of alternative liquid fuels are occurring at scale across the civilian economies. Despite that, fossil fuels, such as diesel and jet fuel, will be around for a long time to come, given their use in long-lived systems like air warfare destroyers, Lockheed Martin’s F-35 aircraft, M1A2 Abrams tanks, and in capabilities still in the design stage but planned to enter service beginning in the mid-2030s such as the Hunter-class frigates. Australian supply of these fuels is provided by globally sourced crude oil flowing through a handful of East and Southeast Asian refineries. Supply arrangements for these critical commodities are likely to become more fraught, however. This is already occurring because of the fracturing of global supply chains and the drive for national resilience in many nations, driven by Covid-19, the return of coercive state power and, of course, Putin’s war in Ukraine. Australia’s dependence on imports for liquid-fuel security, at least as it pertains to the ADF, extends well beyond insufficient reserves and refineries...

 

ASPI

Countering the Hydra: A Proposal for an Indo-Pacific Hybrid Threat Centre, June 2022. Enabled by digital technologies and fuelled by geopolitical competition, hybrid threats in the Indo-Pacific are increasing in breadth, application and intensity. Hybrid threats are a mix of military, non-military, covert and overt activities by state and non-state actors that occur below the line of conventional warfare. The consequences for individual nations include weakened institutions, disrupted social systems and economies, and greater vulnerability to coercion—especially from revisionist powers such as China. But the consequences of increased hybrid activity in the Indo-Pacific reach well beyond individual nations. The Indo-Pacific hosts a wide variety of political systems and interests, with multiple centres of influence, multiple points of tension and an increasingly belligerent authoritarian power. It lacks the regional institutions and practised behaviours to help ensure ongoing security and stability. And, because of its position as a critical centre of global economic and social dynamism, instability in the Indo-Pacific, whether through or triggered by hybrid threats, has global ramifications...

 

ASPI

Ukraine-Russia War: A Prelude to a Post-Western International Order? June 2022. This Issue Brief analyzes how the collective action of developed countries in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has demonstrated just how dominant the so-called “Western” international order is. Instead of a post-Western international order emerging, the developed countries’ response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and concerns about China’s revisionist track record, reveals how so-called Western international order is adapting to outcompete and be resilient against revisionist states that chose to use military or other means to revise international order in their favor.

 

ISDP

Rethinking Greater Central Asia: New American and Western Approaches to Continental Trade and Afghanistan, June 2022. Greater Central Asia is reeling from the twin shocks of the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan and Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. The chaotic U.S. withdrawal risks postponing indefinitely Central Asian efforts to escape the region’s key geography-induced challenge – its landlocked status – as the prospect of building direct links to the world seas through that country now seem bleak. Russia’s aggressive behavior in Ukraine suggests it could be poised to assert itself in Central Asia as well, benefiting from Central Asia’s inability to connect directly to the world economy. These events, to which China’s growing role in the region should be added, suggest that U.S. and EU approaches to the region – governed through relatively recent strategy documents – must be rethought. The Afghan government formed in 2002 had worked with international funders and partners to reopen the ancient corridors to the South and to transform them into modern roads and railroads supplemented with pipelines for the east-west shipment of gas and north-south power lines for transmitting electricity...

 

ISDP

Political and Economic Reforms in Kazakhstan Under President Tokayev, November 2021. Kazakhstan’s leaders have long harbored ambitious visions for their country’s future. The country’s first President, Nursultan Nazarbayev, launched several far-reaching goals for the country’s development, most notably in 2012 the “Kazakhstan 2050” strategy, which aimed for Kazakhstan to take a place among the world’s 30 most developed states by mid-century. For a young country in the third decade of its independence, such lofty goals clearly required far-reaching reforms. Still, Kazakhstan’s leadership focused primarily on reforming the country’s economy. While acknowledging the need for political reforms, the leadership explicitly followed a strategy that prioritized the economy. President Nazarbayev on numerous occasions stated that “we say: the economy first, then politics.” But major shifts in the global political economy in the past decade forced a revision to this strategy. By 2015, it had become clear that a focus on economics alone would not be sufficient for Kazakhstan to reach its stated goals...

 

ISDP

After the India-US Civil Nuclear Agreement: Assessing India’s Responsible Nuclear Status in Global Governance, June 2022. India has maintained a historical opposition to joining the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) and the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), in arguing that both treaties create an unfair hierarchical system in global governance. However, in spite of contesting these norms that govern nuclear practices, India has been successful in gaining de facto recognition from the United States through a bilateral signing of the 123 Agreement. While examining this paradox, this paper argues that even with the rendered de facto recognition, India’s nuclear identity remains far from being normalized...

 

ISDP

Kazakhstan’s June Referendum: Accelerating Reform,  May 2022. The violence of January 2022 exposed both the demand for greater change in Kazakhstan’s society, as well as elite conflicts involving influential forces seeking to block President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev’s reform initiatives. As President Tokayev emerged from the crisis with greater authority over the country’s governing institutions, he fast-tracked a political reform package planned for later in the year, and submitted it to a nationwide referendum scheduled for June 5. The changes envisaged accelerate the pace of reform in the country, but remain within the fundamental paradigm of top-led gradual change to the system that has been Tokayev’s intention since his election in 2019. Conditions for their implementation will not be easy, given a difficult economic and geopolitical environment. Still, these reforms represent a shift: while earlier reforms sought to build participatory and competitive politics only very slowly at the local level, the current reform package envisages a gradual liberalization of the political system at all levels in order for the system to maintain its legitimacy.

 

ISDP

Trends in Southeast Asia 2022 #10: Muslim Sectarianism versus the De-escalation of Sectarianism in Malaysia. In 1992, a group of academics from the National University of Malaysia (UKM) organized a seminar titled “Seminar Ahli Sunnah dan Syiah Imamiyyah” (“Seminar on Ahl al-Sunnah and Imami Shi’ism”) in Kuala Lumpur. The two-day event arguably aimed to demonize the Shi’a sect and its adherents, as evident from the content of the presentations which will be discussed below. Among the various presenters was Wan Zahidi Wan Teh (1992, pp. 1–34), a lecturer from the Department of Shariah who presented a paper on “Ahlul Bait Menurut Pandangan Sunnah dan Syiah” (“The Prophet’s Household According to Sunnis and Shi’as”). After a lengthy explanation of his own understanding of the Ahlul Bait, he argued that Shi’as should not have the right to talk about the Ahlul Bait, and he dismissed them as a movement founded by Jews. He then quoted the founder of Wahhabism, Imam Muhammad bin Abdul Wahhab, and referred to Shi’as as apostates (ibid., p. 30). Proclaiming himself as adefender of Islam, he concluded that the goal of Shi’as in Malaysia...

 

ISEAS

Attitudes towards Work and Workplace Arrangements Amidst COVID-19 in Singapore, April 2022. This paper presents the attitudes and perceptions of Singaporeans towards work and workplace arrangements amidst the global COVID-19 pandemic. It also examines their work experiences, beliefs and aspirations, as well as their well-being during this period. The pandemic has pushed both employers and employees to consider new ways of work. While many employers, prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, have been slow in initiating flexible working arrangements, the pandemic has accelerated the adoption of such practices. Indeed, the world’s biggest experiment on remote working has proven that employees generally remain productive even when they are not on-site. A major draw of flexible working arrangements has been its potential to allow greater work-life harmony. For working parents, especially females who typically carry a heavier caregiving burden, flexible working arrangements has allowed them to work while taking care of their children. It has also given more opportunities for men, who otherwise would have been confined to the office, to better share in domestic work...

 

IPS

Precarity in Platform Work: A Study of Private-Hire Car Drivers and Food Delivery Rider, February 2022. Since 2019, aided by a Social Science Research Council Thematic Grant, researchers from the Institute of Policy Studies began research to understand the experiences of platform workers, specifically the experiences of private-hire car (PHC) drivers and delivery riders. This research was complemented by a collaboration with technology super-app Gojek which started in January 2021 and ended in April 2021. While planned before the COVID-19 pandemic and extended well into the current times, the studies were conducted against the backdrop of increasing economic and social uncertainty and work precarity; conditions that have existed before the pandemic but further amplified since then. We were interested in areas such as the profile of these workers, the reasons for their joining and/or leaving (if at all) platform work, financial and physical health, job protections and precarity, future job prospects and to discover other job-related insights to obtain a better appreciation of these workers, as well as their contexts. This working paper reflects our ongoing work in this area...

 

IPS

Latest ADBI Working Paper Series:  

ADB

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ADB

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ADB

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APEC

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

June, 2022

 

 

 

 

 

 

China's Military Advances Make Case for Strategic Stability Talks, May 2022. China has long sought to distinguish its nuclear posture and force structure from those of Russia and the United States. However, its recent military advances and shifts in arsenal size, mating posture, alert status, dual-capable systems, and machine learning and autonomy demonstrate an ever-growing degree of convergence with these two countries. While introducing the potential for arms races or crises, these developments also increase the impetus for strategic stability dialogues. Unlike arms control negotiations, which tend to concentrate on limits to weapons development and numbers, strategic stability dialogues are broader and focus on weapons employment and escalation. Though past efforts to engage in such talks have met with challenges, the appeal of strategic stability talks may be growing.

 

EWC

NATO’s Asia-Pacific Partners & Their Ukraine Response: Why Global Partnerships Matter for America, May 2022. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is traditionally thought of as a military alliance between 28 European member states and 2 North American member states (Canada and the United States). However, NATO has been stepping up engagement with its four “Asia-Pacific partners” (Japan, South Korea, Australia, and New Zealand) since December 2020, when these four countries participated for the first time in a NATO Foreign Ministerial Meeting. But these four countries have been involved with NATO as “partners across the globe” for decades — Japan since the early 1990s, South Korea and Australia since 2005, and New Zealand since 2001...

 

EWC

Turning Point? Putin, Xi, and the Russian Invasion of Ukraine, May 2022. At their Beijing summit in February 2022, Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin proclaimed a “friendship without limits”. Yet Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, and the Chinese response to it, has exposed the limitations of the Sino–Russian partnership. Far from being an “axis of authoritarians”, this is a traditional great power relationship centred in strategic calculus. Chinese and Russian interests diverge in key respects, and the war has highlighted contrasting visions of global order and disorder. Xi Jinping has attempted to steer a “neutral” course that preserves the partnership with Russia while protecting China’s global interests. This balancing act will become harder to sustain as the war in Ukraine drags on. Beijing’s default position is still to lean towards Moscow. For both sides, the partnership is too important to fail. But over time, its quality will erode. As China and Russia follow different trajectories of development, the commonalities between them will become fewer. The relationship will become increasingly unequal and dysfunctional, and be defined principally by its constraints...

 

Lowy

China’s Messaging on the Ukraine Conflict, May 2022. In the early days of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, social media posts by Chinese diplomats on US platforms almost exclusively blamed the US, NATO and the West for the conflict. Chinese diplomats amplified Russian disinformation about US biological weapon labs in Ukraine, linking this narrative with conspiracy theories about the origins of COVID-19. Chinese state media mirrored these narratives, as well as replicating the Kremlin’s language describing the invasion as a ‘special military operation’. ASPI found that China’s diplomatic messaging was distributed in multiple languages, with its framing tailored to different regions. In the early stage of the conflict, tweets about Ukraine by Chinese diplomats performed better than unrelated content, particularly when the content attacked or blamed the West. ASPI’s research suggests that, in terms of its international facing propaganda, the Russia–Ukraine conflict initially offered the party-state’s international-facing propaganda system an opportunity to reassert enduring preoccupations that the Chinese Communist Party perceives as fundamental to its political security...

 

ASPI

The Transnational Element of a ‘Domestic’ Problem: Policy Solutions to Countering Right-Wing Violent Extremism in Australia, May 2022. The rise of right-wing violent extremist (RWE) ideas bursts to the forefront of public attention in flashes of violence. Shootings and vehicular attacks perpetrated by individuals motivated by hateful views stun the public. They have also sharpened government attention to and galvanised action on addressing such violence. These incidents of violence and these disturbing trends call for renewed vigilance in confronting RWE, which ASIO has since classified as ‘ideologically motivated violent extremism’ (IMVE), in Australia’s security agencies’ policy and law enforcement responses. As governments respond to IMVE, it is important to nuance how they conceptualise the challenges posed by RWE and, therefore, scope their solutions...

 

ASPI

AUKUS Update #1: May 2022. On the 16th of September 2021, the leaders of Australia, the UK and the US announced the creation of a new trilateral security partnership called ‘AUKUS’—Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States. The three national leaders stated, ‘We will foster deeper integration of security and defense-related science, technology, industrial bases, and supply chains. And in particular, we will significantly deepen cooperation on a range of security and defense capabilities.’ At a time of rapidly increasing strategic uncertainty, when it’s increasingly clear that authoritarian regimes are willing to use military power to achieve their goals, it’s important to monitor the implementation of AUKUS so that governments and the public can assess whether it’s achieving the goal of accelerating the fielding of crucial military technologies...

 

ASPI

Understanding the Price of Military Equipment,  May 2022. Confusion reigns in discussions about the cost of the Department of Defence’s equipment projects. Whether we’re talking about media articles, parliamentary committee hearings, letters to the editor, duelling internet commentators or any other forms of discourse that address Defence acquisitions, the only thing that’s clear is that we’re almost always talking past each other when it comes to the cost of military equipment. Defence doesn’t help when it releases only a bare minimum of information. This sorry state of affairs reached its peak several years ago, when it turned out that when Defence said that the cost of the Attack-class submarine was $50 billion it really meant that the cost was somewhere around $90 billion. The situation gets even murkier when commentators compare the cost of military acquisition projects here in Australia with ones overseas. It’s very rare that we can make a direct, apples-to-apples comparison between local and overseas projects, and very often it’s more like apples-to-orangutans. Being completely unaware of the basis of the costs they’re comparing doesn’t stop some commentators from making strong claims about the rapacity of foreign arms companies or the competence of the Australian Defence Department...

 

ASPI

India and the Persian Gulf: Bilateralism, Regional Security and the China Factor, May 2022. This issue brief discusses how regional security in the Persian Gulf is vital for the international oil and gas market, and maritime security in the western Indian Ocean. For India, the region is additionally significant for the presence of its large expatriate population in the GCC and as an “extended neighborhood.” For three decades, India’s policy towards the Gulf and wider West Asia/Middle East region has been marked by bilateralism within the broader framework of a multi-aligned foreign policy. India eschews taking sides in regional disputes as it can harm its primary interests pertaining to trade, commerce, business, security and
defense cooperation. However, the developments in the Indo-Pacific, deterioration of Sino Indian relations, the expansion of China threat perception to western Indian Ocean, and the convergence on the China factor with the US and European countries is pushing India to recalibrate its regional approach as noticeable from three recent events.

 

ISDP

South Korea’s Foreign Policy in Changing Times: Reversing Course?  May 2022. The tragedy currently unfolding in Ukraine may be a symptom of new dynamics in global geopolitics. The changing balance of power epitomized by the rise of China and the shrinking American interest and resolve in asserting its traditional global role has emboldened Putin’s ambition to restore the past glory of the Russian empire. The same dynamics have also made geopolitics acuter in East Asia, from which South Korea can never be free. The COVID-19 pandemic since 2020 has only accelerated the competitive nature of international power dynamics. Faced with the broader shift in world order, how will South Korea’s foreign policy under the new government unfold? This policy brief attempts to explain the main objectives of the incoming government’s foreign policy and how these might be implemented. In so doing, it evaluates the new government’s view of the past five years of South Korean foreign policy under outgoing President Moon Jae-in – a policy which it seeks in part to reverse.

 

ISDP

Trends in Southeast Asia 2022 #9: Financial Technology Adoption in Greater Jakarta: Patterns, Constraints and Enablers. The COVID-19 pandemic has arguably accelerated changes in consumer behaviour, leading to more people performing economic activities online. One important change is the adoption of fintech as a preferred transaction and payment method. This trend is driven by a significant proportion of the unbanked population and the lower-income segment in urban areas. New fintech start-ups such as ShopeePay (E-wallet), Shopee Paylater (Buy Now Pay Later or BNPL) and Kredivo (Online Lending Service) and Bibit (Mutual Fund Invesment) have all introduced innovative ways to offer online financial services in Indonesia’s rapidly growing digital economy. Fintech enterprises offering E-wallet, BNPL, Online Lending...

 

ISEAS

Trends in Southeast Asia 2022 #8: Understanding and Reducing Methane Emissions in Southeast Asia. The Global Methane Pledge was ratified at the end of 2021. While intense discussion of its significance dominated the climate discourse in North America and Europe, the reception of the Pledge in Southeast Asia was lukewarm. This paper aims to help the policy community understand four major aspects concerning methane emissions: basic science, global ambition, regional trends, and sector challenges. In 1990, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published its First Assessment Report, in which scientists stated with certainty that human-caused greenhouse gases were accumulating in the atmosphere. One of these significant gases was methane. Since then, global methane emissions have increased by 17.4 per cent, reaching 8.3 billion tCO2e in 2018...

 

ISEAS

Monetary Authority of Singapore: Macroeconomic Review, Volume XXI, Issue 1, April 2022 (Full Report):  

MAS

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APEC

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ADB

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ADB

Latest ADB Publications:  

ADB

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

May, 2022

 

 

 

 

 

 

High Frequency Macroeconomic Forecasts Current Quarter Model: 2022Q2, April 2022. Underpinned by vibrant consumer confidence and employment condition, Hong Kong economy experienced a robust growth of 6.4% in 2021. However, tight social distancing measures brought by COVID- 19 Omicron variant eroded Hong Kong’s output growth in 22Q1. Consumer sentiment was heavily dampened with retail sales volume dropping by 17.6% in February 2022. Hong Kong’s real GDP is estimated to drop by 2.9% in 22Q1, reflecting the impact of the disruption from the epidemic. The unemployment rate climbed to 5.0% in 22Q1 from 3.9% in 21Q4. As the relaxation of infection-control measures comes into effect, unemployment rate is expected to go down to 4.4% in 22Q2. With the Omicron epidemic still unfolding in various cities in Mainland China, Hong Kong’s economic growth is expected to be mild. Hong Kong’s real GDP is forecast to grow by 0.9% in 22Q2. Despite a challenging global environment due to the coronavirus and war in Ukraine, the Hong Kong economy is expected to manage a mild growth of 1.6% to 2.6% in the year 2022 as a whole...

 

HKU

Tesla Goes to China, April 2022. Over the past decade, Tesla has been one of the most successful American companies in the US’s electric vehicle (EV) industry. Not satisfied with dominating the US market, the company turned in 2014 to China to expand its vehicle sales. There, Tesla entered a market with a mix of privately owned companies, joint ventures, and state-owned manufacturers, all operating since 2009 with government support. Indeed, in China, as it did in the United States, Tesla has benefitted greatly from both central and local government subsidies to EV manufacturers and customers. In 2020, China was reported to be the fastest growing market for Tesla, whose new manufacturing base in Shanghai made its vehicles more cost competitive. With China’s government mandating that by 2030, 40 percent of all vehicle sales should be EVs, the future seems bright. But challenges include planned changes in government-supported incentives.

 

EWC

Being Chinese in Australia Poll, April 2022. Australia is home to more than 1.2 million Chinese-Australians, some 5% of the Australian population, many of whom report being uniquely affected by the country’s fraught relationship with China, the foreign interference debate and the Covid-19 pandemic. The second Lowy Institute’s Being Chinese in Australia poll, published a year since the first survey, is based on fieldwork carried out in late 2021. It reveals that many Chinese-Australians continue to face discrimination and negative treatment in Australia. One in three respondents reports having been treated differently or less favourably in 2021 because of their Chinese heritage. Most Chinese-Australians identify strongly with both countries and cultures. The vast majority take pride in the Australian way of life and culture, though this sentiment is down from 2020. Similarly, affinities with China have also dropped...

 

Lowy

Charting Their Own Course - How Indonesians See The World, April 2022. With Indonesia seeking to play a larger role on the global stage, and many outside powers hoping to woo Southeast Asia’s largest country, there is a pressing need to better understand how its people see the world and themselves in a changing international environment. The Indonesia Poll 2021 — Charting their own course, conducted a decade after the Lowy Institute’s last poll in the country, is based on fieldwork carried out in December 2021. The survey consists of a nationally representative sample of some 3000 Indonesians aged 17 to 65 across 33 provinces of Indonesia. The polling results reveal that the citizens of the world’s third most populous democracy are optimistic about the future but wary of the great powers that are seeking to court them. They are increasingly sceptical about China, and particularly of Chinese investment, but neither are they overly enthusiastic about the United States...

 

Lowy

Building Genuine Trust: A Framework and Strategy for Indigenous Stem and Cyber Pathways, April 2022. Indigenous recruitment and retention in the Australian Defence organisation is defined by a high target of 5% participation in the armed services and 3% in the Australian Public Service component of the Defence Department by 2025. The participation target is a point of pride and a source of clear goodwill and has provided momentum in several areas of Defence for Indigenous employment and pathways. However, the individual areas of success and effort are yet to translate into an effective whole-of-Defence framework with cohesive lines of effort. This policy report suggests how that can change. It provides a framework and strategy for Defence to support science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) recruitment and retention and cybersecurity careers, particularly through engagement with the vocational education and training system and through targeted relationship building with university- and school-based Indigenous STEM initiatives...

 

ASPI

The Hunter Frigate: An Assessment, April 2022. Powerful and survivable large surface combatants, in numbers commensurate with the expected threat and national budgetary limitations, remain central in the order of battle of any navy of a middle-power such as Australia, but they need to be fit for purpose. Australia’s government policy has acknowledged deteriorating geostrategic circumstances since 2009, culminating in its 2020 Strategic Update where we are not left in any doubt of the concern over China’s intentions and a stretched United States. The warships Australia acquires should be suitable for the circumstances it finds itself in...

 

ASPI

Artificial Intelligence: Your Questions Answered, April 2022. This collection of short papers developed by the Australian Institute for Machine Learning (AIML) at the University of Adelaide and the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) offers a refreshing primer into the world of artificial intelligence and the opportunities and risks this technology presents to Australia. AI’s potential role in enhancing Australia’s defence capabilities, strengthening alliances and deterring those who would seek to harm our interests was significantly enhanced as a result of the September 2021 announcement of the AUKUS partnership between the US, the UK and Australia. Perhaps not surprisingly, much public attention on AUKUS has focused on developing a plan ‘identifying the optimal pathway to deliver at least eight nuclear-powered submarines for Australia’...

 

ASPI

Artificial Intelligence and Policing in Australia, April 2022. Ability and capacity to screen, analyse and render insights from the ever-increasing volume of data—and to do so in accordance with the constraints on access to and use of personal information within our democratic system. Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning are presenting valuable solutions to the public and private sectors for screening big and live data. AI is also commonly considered and marketed as a solution that removes human bias, although AI algorithms and dataset creation can also perpetuate human bias and so aren’t value or error free. This report analyses limitations, both technical and implementation...

 

ASPI

VAMPIRE VAMPIRE VAMPIRE: The PLA’s Anti-ship Cruise Missile Threat to Australian and Allied Naval Operations, April 2022. This report examines anti-ship cruise missiles (ASCM) possessed by the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), which is China’s armed forces, and the serious threat posed to Australian and allied naval forces operating in the Indo-Pacific region. The PLA has spent over 20 years preparing to fight and win wars against technologically advanced adversaries, such as the United States and its allies. PLA preparations have included long-term investments in various capabilities that would be needed to facilitate and sustain ASCM strike operations, even whilst under heavy attack from technologically advanced powers...

 

ASPI

A Case for Elevating the Cyber–Maritime Security Nexus, March 2022. The Indo-Pacific strategic concepts promulgated by Japan (reaffirmed in 2016), the US (2017), Australia (2017), India (2018), Germany (2020), the Netherlands (2020), the EU (2021), France (reaffirmed in 2021), the UK (2021) and others demonstrate the region’s geostrategic significance. While the various concepts differ significantly in scope, essence and strategy, they share one commonality: the idea of connected oceans in which Southeast Asian nations sit at the heart and form the epicentre of great-power competition that has come to define the Indo-Pacific. The region has become a ‘crowded space’ as the long-term and newer actors increase various engagement initiatives...

 

ASPI

ASEAN’s Newer Member Countries in Two Financial Crises: Impact, Response and Lessons, April 2022. ASEAN has been through two major financial crises in the last quarter century: the 1997-98 Asian Financial Crisis (AFC) and the 2008-09 Global Financial Crisis (GFC). Although there is a voluminous literature covering the original five members, it has largely ignored the newer members – Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar and Vietnam (BCLMV). For the first time, a systematic analysis of the experience of the newer members of ASEAN relating to the AFC and the GFC focusing on impact, policy response and lessons is provided. Their participation in regional financial cooperation initiatives in helping prevent or mitigate the impact of future crises, and how these initiatives need to be enhanced to better serve them is also considered.

 

ISEAS

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APEC

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ADB

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ADB

Asian Development Outlook 2022: Mobilizing Taxes for Development, Full Report, Highlights, Special Topic and Theme Chapter.  This report outlines economic prospects in developing Asia amid global turbulence and lingering pandemic risks. It discusses the implications of school closures and the invasion of Ukraine, and explores mobilizing taxes for development. Developing Asia’s outlook remains positive, with growth of 5.2% expected in 2022 and 5.3% in 2023. Downside risks include spillover from geopolitical tensions, such as via higher-than-expected commodity prices. The Russian invasion of Ukraine has upended the global economic outlook and greatly amplified uncertainty for a world economy still contending with COVID-19. Aggressive monetary policy tightening in the United States could lead to financial instability. In the medium term, scarring from the pandemic poses significant risks, including learning losses from continued school closures that could worsen economic inequality...

 

ADB

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

April, 2022

 

 

 

 

 

 

US Southeast Asia Policy: Towards A Balance of Commitment Approach, March 2022. US commitment to Southeast Asia since the end of the Vietnam War has been subject to a series of ebbs, flows and imbalances, with policymakers struggling to sustain increased and calibrated commitment to the region as evidenced by the growing securitization of US policy in the post-September 11 period or the under resourcing of components of the US pivot to Asia in the post-2007-2008 Global Financial Crisis period. A balance of commitment approach in US Southeast Asia policy can help policymakers be more attentive to both the interrelationships between power, threats and resources shaping decisions in the US domestic political system and the careful calibrations of components in commitment level and distribution in Southeast Asia required to sustain an expanded, balanced approach that serves US interests and meets regional needs...

 

EWC

Revising Down the Rise of China, March 2022. The future of China’s ongoing global rise is of great importance to both China and the rest of the world. Predicting long-term economic performance is inherently difficult and open to debate. Nonetheless, we show that substantial long-term growth deceleration is the likely future for China given the legacy effects of its uniquely draconian past population policies, reliance on investment-driven growth, and slowing productivity growth. Even assuming continued broad policy success, our projections suggest growth will slow sharply to roughly 3% a year by 2030 and 2–3% a year on average over the three decades to 2050. Growing faster, up to say 5% a year to 2050, is notionally possible given China remains well below the global productivity frontier. However, we also show that the prospect of doing so is well beyond China’s track record in delivering productivity-enhancing reform, and therefore well beyond its likely trajectory. China also faces considerable downside risks.
Our projections imply...

 

Lowy

Understanding Global Disinformation and Information Operations: Insights From Aspi’s New Analytic Website, March 2022.  ASPI’s Information Operations and Disinformation team has analysed each of the data sets in Twitter’s Information Operations archive to provide a longitudinal analysis of how each state’s willingness, capability and intent has evolved over time. Our analysis demonstrates that there is a proliferation of state actors willing to deploy information operations targeting their own domestic populations, as well as those of their adversaries. We find that Russia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, China and Venezuela are the most prolific perpetrators. By making these complex data sets available in accessible form ASPI is broadening meaningful engagement on the challenge of state actor information operations and disinformation campaigns for policymakers, civil society and the international research community

 

ASPI

Taking the Low Road: China’s Influence in Australian States and Territories, February 2022.  In November 2020 a Chinese official passed a list of 14 grievances to Australian journalists, highlighting what Beijing regarded as missteps in the Australian government’s relations with China. A striking feature of the list is that many concern Australian Government attempts to limit Chinese engagement with the states and territories, or state-based institutions such as universities. Why did state and territory relations with China concern Canberra? This study explores the changing nature of China’s engagement with Australian states and territories, local governments, city councils, universities, research organisations and non-government organisations, all nested in Australian civil society. What emerges is the astonishing breadth and depth of China’s engagement, much of it the welcome outcome of Australia’s economic and people-to-people engagement with China over many decades...

 

ASPI

Russian Federation and China: Cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative, March 2022. This Issue Brief looks at six Sino-Russian projects that have been placed under the rubric of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Since, at the political level, China is rather flexible in defining what counts as a BRI project and both Russian and Chinese media follow such flexibility, there is a need for analysts to have a clearer picture of what projects are exactly being counted under the BRI. This Issue Brief shows that three of them — Yamal LNG, Asinovskiy Timber Industry Park, and the Belkomur — actually date back to before the birth of the BRI and were rebranded as BRI projects. The other three projects, namely the MGP Power of Siberia-1, Nizhneleninskoe-Tongjiang Railway Bridge, and the Moscow-Kazan Expressway, were created after the BRI came into being in 2013.

 

ISDP

Trends in Southeast Asia 2022 #7: Cyber Troops, Online Manipulation of Public Opinion and Co-optation of Indonesia’s Cybersphere. As the world’s third-largest democracy, Indonesia was once touted as a role model for democratization in Southeast Asia, especially after the reformist Joko Widodo (known as “Jokowi”) was elected president in 2014. However, recent studies show that Indonesia is becoming a “defective democracy”, following a series of “democratic setbacks” since the second half of Jokowi’s first term in office. A process of democratic regression has been deepening since,4 if not undergoing an all-out “authoritarian turn”. As Larry Diamond states, one of the key signs of democratic regression is a substantial decline of civil liberties. This has been apparent in Indonesia. In its 2020 Democracy Index, the Economist Intelligence Unit ranked Indonesia’s civil liberties among the worst in ASEAN (below Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand). Similarly, the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance found that the deterioration of civic space indicates democratic backsliding in Indonesia. As Wijayanto argues, a clear indicator of that are growing threats to media freedom...

 

ISEAS

MAS Survey of Professional Forecasters, March 2022. The Mar 2022 Survey was sent out on 17 Feb 2022 to a total of 26 economists and analysts who closely monitor the Singapore economy. This report reflects the views received from 23 respondents (a response rate of 88.5%) and does not represent MAS’ views or forecasts. All responses were received after the outbreak of hostilities in Ukraine on 24 Feb. The Singapore economy expanded by 6.1% in Q4 2021 compared with the same period last year. This was higher than the respondents’ forecast of 4.6% in the previous survey. In the current survey, the respondents expect the economy to grow by 3.7% year-on-year in Q1 2022...

 

MAS

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APEC

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ADB

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ADB

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ADB

Asian Development Review, Vol. 39, No. 1, 2022 (Full Report):

 

  ADB

Asian Development Review, Vol. 38, No. 2, 2021 (Full Report):

 

  ADB

Asia Bond Monitor, March 2022. Monetary stances in emerging East Asia remain largely accommodative. While the improving economic performance and rising inflation in advanced economies has led to adjustments in their monetary policies, most central banks in emerging East Asia maintained accommodative monetary policies, even as some regional markets, such as the Republic of Korea and Singapore, tightened their monetary stances due to inflationary pressure. Ample liquidity supported regional financial conditions during the review period from 30 November 2021 to 9 March 2022, with some weakening signs related to the United States (US) Federal Reserve’s tapering and its signaling of monetary tightening, and the Russian Federation’s (Russia) invasion of Ukraine...

 

ADB

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

March, 2022

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Geopolitics of Climate and Security in the Indo-Pacific, February 2022. Climate change is much more than an environmental crisis—it’s a systemic crisis that will transform the geopolitical landscape. And the consequences for the Indo-Pacific, already the most exposed region in the world to climate hazards and home to the world’s fastest growing populations, economies and geopolitical rivalries, will be profound. In this volume, leading experts explore the impacts of this rapidly emerging climate threat on regional systems by interrogating a 1.5°C 2035 climate change scenario developed by the ASPI Climate and Security Policy Centre. The chapters here attempt to understand the unpredictable effects of climate change on the region’s already fragile human systems, from great-power competition and militaries, governance and politics, food and water insecurity, and ethnic separatism, to energy and trade systems, sovereign risk and digital disinformation...

 

ASPI

The Future of Assistance to Law Enforcement in an End-To-End Encrypted World, February 2022. Domestic telecommunications companies assist law enforcement by the lawful interception of otherwise private communications when presented with a valid warrant. This has been a powerful tool to combat crime. In the 2019–20 financial year, for example, 3,677 new warrants for telecommunications interception were issued, and information gained through interception warrants was used in 2,685 arrests, 5,219 prosecutions and 2,652 convictions. That was in the context of 43,189 custodial sentences in the same year. But law enforcement and security officials assert that the usefulness of ‘exceptional access’, as it’s called in this paper, has declined over time as strong encryption has become increasingly common...

 

ASPI

Meeting Antarctica’s Diplomatic Challenges: Joint Approaches for Australia and the United States, February 2022. This report describes current security and environmental policy challenges related to Antarctica and proposes options for Australia and the United States to address them. It assesses the current and potential future actions of strategic competitors like China and Russia, and proposes policy responses. It suggests ways in which the US and Australian governments can work more closely to protect and promote the Antarctic Treaty System (ATS), advancing support for an approach to governance that the two nations have felt for decades is in their respective national interests. This requires both countries (as well as others) to make a clear-eyed assessment of current and future fault lines and move more quickly to address political and environmental challenges that have implications well beyond Antarctica. In particular, this involves determining when it’s necessary to counter the ambitions of strategic competitors, such as China and Russia, in the Antarctic context, and when cooperation may be the more appropriate objective...

 

ASPI

Taking the Low Road: China’s Influence in Australian States and Territories, February 2022. In November 2020 a Chinese official passed a list of 14 grievances to Australian journalists, highlighting what Beijing regarded as missteps in the Australian government’s relations with China. A striking feature of the list is that many concern Australian Government attempts to limit Chinese engagement with the states and territories, or state-based institutions such as universities. Why did state and territory relations with China concern Canberra? This study explores the changing nature of China’s engagement with Australian states and territories, local governments, city councils, universities, research organisations and non-government organisations, all nested in Australian civil society. What emerges is the astonishing breadth and depth of China’s engagement, much of it the welcome outcome of Australia’s economic and people-to-people engagement with China over many decades. But it’s equally apparent that China has made covert attempts to influence some politicians and overt attempts to engage states, territories and key institutions in ways that challenge federal government prerogatives and have brought the two levels of government into sharp public dispute...

 

ASPI

The Costs of Discounted Diplomacy, February 2022. This report outlines how and why Australia has under-appreciated diplomacy and under-invested in diplomatic capability—and why things should change. The prominence of deterrence, alliances and border controls in Australian security thinking has pushed diplomacy into the shadows. Over the last twenty years, Australian governments, sensibly, have invested massively in defence, intelligence and border control. Over the same period, though, the operating budget for DFAT’s foreign policy and diplomatic work, has been cut by 9 per cent. In a more contested and multipolar international environment, lightweight diplomacy reflects lightweight thinking. Australia will be safer, richer, better regarded and more self-respecting if our diplomatic influence is enlarged, not if it remains stunted...

 

ASPI

Digital Southeast Asia, February 2022. Covid-19 and the subsequent public-health responses have disrupted social and economic lives across the globe. Fiscal support measures may have alleviated the initial fallout in some places, but one of the bigger shocks has been the accelerated adoption and integration of and reliance on digital technologies. While this is a positive contribution towards digital development, it has also accentuated the already large gap between those able to adopt digital technologies and those without sufficient means to do so. For the many fragile democracies in the Indo-Pacific, this is creating conditions that could undermine democratic resilience. A central question for these democratic governments is how to drive accelerating digital transformation and ICT-enabled growth towards poverty reduction, sustainable economic growth and building social cohesion while maintaining resilience to cybersecurity threats...

 

ASPI

Agenda for Change 2022: Shaping a Different Future for Our Nation, February 2022. In line with previous Agenda for Change publications from 2016 and 2019, this piece is being released in anticipation of a federal election as a guide for the next government within its first months and over the full term. Our 2022 agenda acknowledges that an economically prosperous and socially cohesive Australia is a secure and resilient Australia. ASPI’s Agenda for change 2019: strategic choices for the next government did, to a great extent, imagine a number of those challenges, including in Peter Jennings’ chapter on ‘The big strategic issues’. But a lot has changed since 2019. It was hard to imagine the dislocating impacts of the Black Summer fires, Covid-19 in 2020 and then the Delta and Omicron strains in 2021, trade coercion from an increasingly hostile China, or the increasingly uncertain security environment. Fast forward to today and that also applies to the policies and programs we need to position us in a more uncertain and increasingly dangerous world...

 

ASPI

Big Data and National Security: A Guide for Australian Policymakers, February 2022. Big data has created a complex new information and infrastructure landscape. Big tech companies that have capitalised on its three core features — data abundance, digital connectivity, and ubiquitous technology — are the new oligarchies and are increasingly controlling the capabilities essential for a functioning society. Big data has profound impacts on society. It enables everything from access to knowledge and global communication, to delivery of services and infrastructure. However, big data is exacerbating existing national security threats and creating new and unpredictable ones. It can be weaponised for war, providing information dominance and kinetic targeting capability. Big data has the capacity to enable or eliminate the barriers of entry for surveillance and oppression. It drives information warfare as well as social and political interference...

 

Lowy

Drug Trafficking in the Pacific Islands: The Impact of Transnational Crime, February 2022. Transnational crime[1] — specifically drug production and trafficking — is one of the most serious security issues facing the Pacific Islands region. Methamphetamine, heroin, and cocaine trafficking is on the rise. The Pacific Islands have become a production site and trafficking destination as well as trafficking thoroughfare, and indigenous/local crime syndicates now work in partnership with transnational crime syndicates. The criminal deportee policies of Australia, the United States, and New Zealand are contributing to the problem, as is the Covid-19 pandemic, by exacerbating the vulnerabilities on which transnational organisations and local crime actors capitalise. The Pacific and its partners have responded by strengthening regional policing architecture and governance through enhanced law enforcement mechanisms, but challenges remain as the illicit drug trade adapts and takes root in the region.

 

Lowy

Collective Self-Defense Against Authoritarianism: Lessons for EU, February 2022. Economic coercion and disinformation have been a clear factor in Europe’s ties with both China and Russia. They are part of the reactionary policy used by authoritarian regimes to undermine liberal democracies and strengthen their influence. China’s sanctions on European countries and Russia’s pressure on Ukraine and other former Soviet territories present serious threats to Europe. The boycott of Lithuanian goods by China following Lithuania’s decision to allow a representative office under the name of Taiwan instead of Chinese Taipei demonstrated the severe impact that China can have on the EU Single Market...

 

ISDP

What Will Be the India-ROK Trajectory Post 2022 Presidential Elections? February 2022. As Moon Jae-in moves towards the end of his presidency, his legacy in the foreign policy domain consists most prominently of his administration’s New Southern Policy (NSP) Plus, which comes as a strategy to bolster ties with ASEAN and India as a way to shift the peace dynamics in the region and sustain peace and stability in the Korean Peninsula. Since 2018, India and South Korea have seen great momentum in both defense and economic domains. With a change in guard in the Blue House, this paper looks at how the NSP and India-South Korea ties will fare under the new leadership...

 

ISDP

Between Bandits and Bureaucrats: 30 Years of Parliamentary Development in Kyrgyzstan, January 2022. In 2010, Kyrgyzstan took a decisive step towards establishing a parliamentary form of government. A decade later, the parliamentary experiment had, at least for the time being, come to an end; in January 2021, the Kyrgyz electorate approved the return to a presidential form of government, and in May 2021, a new presidentialist constitution was adopted. To understand, the role and powers of Kyrgyzstan’s parliament, unparalleled in the Central Asian region as well as in most other post-Soviet countries, this study details the evolution of this particular political institution over the past 30 years...

 

ISDP

Future Defence Policy Regarding the Emergence of New Military Technology Threats, January 2022. The ability to combine technological advancements with new policies and doctrines is vital for national security. Being able to organize, equip, train, and deploy forces to effectively deal with new challenges requires more than simply introducing new high-tech equipment into existing structures. In the current security environment, innovations ranging from artificial intelligence, to increasingly sophisticated autonomous drones, to space-based weapon system are forcing planners and analysts to constantly reevaluate their calculations. This report was written on behalf of the Korea’s Association for International Security and Cooperation (AISAC) and first presented at the International Seminar on “New Security Threats and International Peace Cooperation”, in Seoul on Oct 14. 2021.

 

ISDP

North Korea and the Role of Science Diplomacy, January 2022. This study analyzes education, science, and technology initiatives as a potential bridge toward peace on the Korean Peninsula by asking what the potential impact of education and science in diplomacy with North Korea is and what problems these initiatives face. Science diplomacy with North Korea has been on the rise since the country began to open itself to the international community in the mid-1990s, despite periodic tensions and sanctions limiting such activities in more recent years. This paper explores the main facets of science diplomacy (educational exchanges, knowledge transfer, information, and technology provisions) as a potential entry point, perhaps less sensitive to political vagaries, to start joint projects and foster relations between South Korea and the U.S. with North Korea.

 

ISDP

Trends in Southeast Asia 2022 #6: Religious Extremism in Major Campuses in Indonesia. Religious extremism among university students remains a cause for concern for Indonesian government officials, including President Joko Widodo. The president spoke publicly at least twice on the threat of religiously extremist groups that target university students for recruitment. On 13 September 2021, during a meeting with the Indonesian Rectors’ Council, the president reminded university rectors to remain vigilant against individuals or groups that introduce and inculcate extremist ideas among students...

 

ISEAS

Trends in Southeast Asia 2022 #5: A Study of Vietnam’s Control over Online Anti-state Content. The authorities in Vietnam have never ceased to fret over “toxic content” (nội dung xấu độc) on the Internet; and indeed the definition of “toxic content” has shifted over the years. In the 1990s, “toxic content” was mostly associated with pornography. In December 1996, for example, in order to convince the authorities to allow for the arrival of the Internet in Vietnam, its advocates reportedly had to prove to Vietnam’s top leaders that pornographic websites could be effectively blocked...

 

ISEAS

Trends in Southeast Asia 2022 #4: “Building a Sailboat in a Storm”: The Evolution of COVAX in 2021 and Its Impact on Supplies to Southeast Asia’s Six Lower-Income Economies. As it became increasingly evident that vaccines would be central to the recovery from the global pandemic, the COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access (COVAX) Facility was created to ensure equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines, especially for poorer countries. However, the erratic and delayed COVAX shipments in the first half of 2021 led to doubts about the Facility’s ability to fulfil its pledge of securing and delivering 2 billion doses by the end of the year. In June, the Malaysian vaccine minister Khairy Jamaluddin derided it as an “abysmal failure”...

 

ISEAS

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APEC

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ADB

Latest ADB Working Paper Series:  

ADB

Latest ADB Publications:  

ADB

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

February, 2022

 

 

 

 

 

 

China and COVID-19: Alienation and Its Discontents, January 2022. China’s responses to COVID-19 reveal an evolving dynamic of (a) containment and control; (b) limited disclosure; and (c) escalating resistance. These stand against a background of historical grievance against the West and alienation from the international health policy community exemplified by the United States and its European allies with whom China has ongoing disputes over trade, human rights, and security. China’s COVID-19 response involves reaction to conflicting WHO themes of modernization and colonialization that both invite and inhibit participation by developing countries. Proclaiming support for modernization in medical training, equipment, and services, the PRC has also emphasized the role of Chinese Traditional Medicine, while resisting WHO calls for disclosure of raw data, lab records, and case files. China’s posture will require a measure of accommodation in global efforts to contain the pandemic and prepare for future outbreaks, combined with renewed efforts to improve cooperation and transparency.

 

EWC

US-South Korea and the Philippines: Towards a Trilateral Security Initiative, January 2022. It is possible for the United States (US), the Republic of Korea (South Korea), and the Republic of the Philippines (the Philippines) to pursue increased trilateral security cooperation as the three countries seek to respond to a more uncertain strategic environment in the Indo-Pacific region. History and more recent developments offer insights into the possibilities for such trilateral security cooperation. The three states and their respective relationships converged during the Korean War. During this conflict, all three fought for the principles of democracy centered on freedom and peaceful coexistence. The battle of Yultong is evidence that the three states can face a common aggressor. Although wartime cooperation did not result in a trilateral security agreement, there are signs that the countries’ relationships with each other have matured since the Korean War...

 

EWC

China’s Dilemmas in Bailing Out Debt-Ridden Sri Lanka, January 2022. To mark the 65th anniversary of bilateral diplomatic relations, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi met with President Gotabaya Rajapaksa in Sri Lanka on 10 January 2022. The meeting occurred amidst the rapid global transmission of the Omicron virus, talk of Sri Lanka defaulting on its foreign debt repayments, and an economic slowdown in China. Whether China will bail out debt-ridden Sri Lanka or Sri Lanka should seek IMF assistance are pressing policy questions. Sri Lanka had visible macroeconomic imbalances before the Covid-19 pandemic, as indicated by slowing growth, considerable fiscal and balance of payments deficits, and high external debt. The pandemic and strict containment measures caused an unprecedented economic contraction with negative growth of -3.6% in 2020...

 

EWC

US-ROK Cooperation Can Improve IP Protection in Southeast Asia by a Strategic Focus on Online Counterfeiting, January 2022. One of the fastest-growing areas driving connectivity and digital innovation in Southeast Asia is e-commerce. In parallel, the sale of counterfeit goods online has become one of the fastest-growing forms of intellectual property (IP) infringement. Therefore, the sustainable continuation of the region’s unprecedented e-commerce growth requires enhancing IP protection as a legal means to support innovation and rules-based digital trade. As innovation-based economies with robust IP frameworks that have supported the growth of world-renowned brands, both the United States and South Korea (ROK), have an interest in backing strong IP protections across Southeast Asia. The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is the fourth- and second-largest export market for the United States and South Korea respectively...

 

EWC

Creating Smarter and More Sustainable Cities in Southeast Asia: A Roadmap for United States-South Korea Cooperation, January 2022. Southeast Asia is considered one of the “world’s most vulnerable” regions to climate change, according to the Asian Development Bank. Consequently, the region has numerous sectoral bodies and dialogue platforms dedicated to combatting the problem. Yet the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) can still benefit from external capacity-building assistance. Benefits are especially tangible for vanguard projects such as smart cities, which aim to integrate digitalization and the Internet of Things (IoT) to resolve waste management, transportation, and other urban sustainability issues. As key investors in ASEAN’s smart city initiatives, South Korea (ROK) and the United States have helped address capacity shortfalls through cross-regional private sector engagement. Apart from economic prospects, smart city projects in ASEAN serve as a critical juncture for the US Free and Open Indo-Pacific Strategy and South Korea’s New Southern Policy Plus...

 

EWC

Northern Sovereign Maritime Sustainment, January 2022. Maritime sustainment in Australia’s north presents far-reaching opportunities and new challenges for the Department of Defence, industry and local governments. Traditional Defence and industry models used in Australia’s southern states have less utility in the north if they aren’t adapted to the region’s unique economic context. As such, a deeper understanding of industry capability in the north coupled with greater collaboration and partnering is needed to overcome those challenges and take advantage of the opportunities. In developing the report, the authors consulted a wide range of stakeholders. They included representatives from the Department of Defence, people representing the interests of the state, territory and local governments in northern Australia, port operators in Australia’s north, business organisations and the defence industry. The report highlights opportunities that could arise from improved collaboration between Defence, local governments, defence industry and SMEs. This report has again reinforced the need for the Australia government to articulate how it will utilise northern Australia’s strategic geography as a strength both now and in a future conflict if deterrence fails...

 

ASPI

Trends in Southeast Asia 2022 #3: Communicating COVID-19 Effectively in Malaysia: Challenges and Recommendations. Malaysia first encountered COVID-19 in January 2020 and the crisis has now dragged on for almost two years. Initially lauded for the successful containment of the virus in early 2020, a combination of factors led to a sudden deterioration in conditions. In early 2021, there was a sudden escalation in infections and deaths which peaked in August. Today COVID-19 is being cautiously treated as “endemic” and the economy is slowly reopening given the decline in numbers since August 2021. For a population of about 32.7 million, positive infection and death rates were relatively high. Total cumulative infections and deaths as at 4 December 2021 stood at 2,643,620 cases and 30,538 deaths respectively...

 

ISEAS

Trends in Southeast Asia 2022 #2: SME Responses to Climate Change in Southeast Asia. Climate change is not only one of the great challenges of this century for governments and individuals; it is also a major issue for the millions of micro-, small- and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) that exist across Southeast Asia. The current level of knowledge about the impact of climate change on this sector is low. There are a number of important questions for which more evidence is needed: Do small business operators think climate change is an important issue? How are SMEs in the region attempting to reduce their emissions, if at all? What do they intend to do in future to deal with a warming climate? What obstacles do they face? And what effective assistance and advice are needed for them to deal with the issue...

 

ISEAS

Trends in Southeast Asia 2022 #1: Assessing the Benefits of the ASEAN+6 Single Window for ASEAN Members. The application of technology and innovation in international trade procedures play an important role in making trade simpler, cheaper, more resilient and sustainable. One such initiative in ASEAN is the establishment and implementation of the national single window (NSW). The NSW is an electronic facility that allows parties involved in international trade and transport to submit all information needed to fulfil trade-related regulatory requirements at once and at a single-entry point (UNECE 2020). It enables traders and other economic operators (e.g., transporters, logistics firms, freight forwarders, customs brokers) to submit all information and documents required by different border authorities (e.g., customs, trade and commerce, healthcare, agriculture, standards) to one place or system, instead of making multiple submissions to multiple places or systems. The key benefits of NSW are time and cost savings for both the public and private sectors. Trade information submitted to the NSW can be exchanged or made accessible to all of the relevant government authorities for processing (or be processed by the single window system...

 

ISEAS

Politics in East Asia Today: Between Democracy, Debates, and Discourse, January 2022. On 9 & 10 September 2021, the Stockholm China Center at the Institute for Security & Development Policy (ISDP) organized the seminar “Politics in East Asia Today.” Thirteen scholars from different countries representing different disciplines and perspectives gave presentations on different aspects of this broad topic and engaged in fruitful discussions. East Asia showcases impressive economic growth and technological innovations; at the same time, however, the region faces serious potential conflicts and challenges to stability and prosperity. In recent years, democracy and fundamental human rights have suffered serious setbacks in East Asia, as in many other parts of the world...

 

ISDP

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APEC

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ADB

Impact of Tourism on Regional Economic Growth: A Global Value Chain Perspective, January 2022. International tourism was growing steadily before the COVID-19 pandemic. In Thailand, for example, international visitors increased from 15.9 million in 2010 to 39.9 million in 2019 for an average annual growth rate of 10.7%. Travel and tourism in Thailand—the 8th largest global destination by visitor arrivals and 4th in tourism receipts in 2019 (UN WTO 2020)—contributed to 19.7% of national gross domestic product (GDP) and generated 21.4% of employment (WTTC 2020). The economic impact of tourism has been a popular topic in the literature since the 1980s (Baster 1980)...

 

ADB

Latest ADBI Working Paper Series:  

ADB

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

January, 2022

 

 

 

 

 

 

High Frequency Macroeconomic Forecasts Current Quarter Model: 2022Q1, January 2022. Given the vibrant growth in external trade, Hong Kong’s real GDP grew by 7.8% in the first half of 2021. In the second half of 2021, improving employment condition and introduction of the government’s consumption voucher scheme provided impetus to Hong Kong’s output growth. Hong Kong’s real GDP is estimated to grow by 5.2% in 21Q4, slightly slower than the 5.4% growth in 21Q3, reflecting a slowdown in global trade. The unemployment rate experienced improvement in 2021, and is expected to further improve to 3.8% in 21Q4 from 6.8% in 21Q1. The labour market is forecast to improve further. Unemployment is expected to drop to 3.5% in 22Q1. Uncertainties clouded by the increasing threat of the Omicron variant and the global supply chain disruption brought by the pandemic erode Hong Kong’s consumer confidence. Hong Kong’s economic growth is forecast to continue but at a slower pace. Hong Kong’s GDP is expected to grow by 3.2% in 22Q1. For the year 2022, Hong Kong is forecast to retain a modest growth of 2.8% to 3.8%.

 

HKU

What Is AUKUS and What Is It Not? December 2021. This new ASPI Insight sets out what AUKUS is—a technology accelerator that’s’ about shifting the military balance in the Indo Pacific. Just as importantly, it sets out what AUKUS it isn’t, to reset some of the discussion that ahs made some assumptions here. AUKUS isn’t a new alliance structure, a competitor to the W Quad between Australia, India, Japan and the US, or a signal of decreased commitment to ASEAN forums by the AUKUS members. And the Insight proposes some focus areas for implementation of this new ‘minilateral’ technology accelerator, including having a single empowered person in each nation charged with implementation and ‘obstacle busting’. This is to break through the institutional, political and corporate permafrost that has prevented such rapid technological adoption by our militaries in recent decades. As is the case with James Miller in the US, this person should report to their national leader, not from inside the defence bureaucracies of the three nations...

 

ASPI

Implementing Australia’s Nuclear Submarine Program, December 2021. On 16 September 2021, the Australian Government announced that it would acquire a nuclear-powered submarine (SSN) capability with support from the UK and the US as the first measure of business under the AUKUS technology sharing partnership. At the same time, it announced that it had established the Nuclear-Powered Submarine Taskforce, which would devote 18 months to determining the ‘optimal pathway’ to establishing this new capability. The taskforce has its work cut out for it, and the signing of an initial nuclear information sharing agreement only two months after AUKUS was announced suggests things are moving fast. Nevertheless this new enterprise will be a massive undertaking and probably the largest and most complex endeavour Australia has embarked upon. The challenges, costs and risks will be enormous. It’s likely to be at least two decades and tens of billions of dollars in sunk costs before Australia has a useful nuclear-powered military capability...

 

ASPI

North of 26 Degrees South and the Security of Australia: Views From the Strategist, Volume 4, December 2021. The 27 essays in the collection demonstrate that Australia’s north—that great sweep of territory from Rockhampton in the east to Onslow in the west, taking in Townsville, Bamaga, Darwin and Broome—is about a whole lot more than even what makes its way into the national debate (borders, quarantine facilities, mining, agricultural and energy projects, and small but key defence facilities). Between them, the authors of this volume cover proposals for an Indigenous civil defence force to work domestically and in our near region, the opportunities for processing critical minerals and producing rare-earth magnets, a broader way of thinking about and doing nation-building that gets beyond waiting for one big first-mover investor or entrepreneur before anything happens, and, of course, the ways that Australia can better use this huge chunk of the globe’s strategic geography—along with key partners like Japan and the United States...

 

ASPI

The Internet of Things: China’s Rise and Australia’s Choices, December 2021. The world is being transformed by expansion of the Internet of Things (IoT). The security challenges that go with this expansion require confronting the transnational character of these evolving technological ecosystems. Distrust of China and its ever-more pervasive presence in the transnational IoT is driving US efforts to diversify digital technology supply chains away from China, and to limit China’s presence in global digital connections. But these efforts are unlikely to shift the established trend among East and Southeast Asian countries towards deepening integration with China. The cyber-physical nature of IoT ecosystems reinforces China’s advantages as a global manufacturing hub. And the complex features of these supply chains generate inertia against relocating them to politically trusted jurisdictions (“re-shoring” or “friend-shoring”)...

 

Lowy

A Way Out from the US-DPRK Deadlock: Toward North Korea’s Denuclearization, December 2021. This Issue Brief focuses on three points essential to the resumption of denuclearization talks. First, this paper will analyze North Korea’s unique status as a de facto nuclear weapon state in relation to its nuclear policy and strategy. Second, it will conduct a critical assessment of the Trump-Kim summits to draw lessons for future talks. Lastly, it will explore a possible way out of the current deadlock. This paper concludes that, amidst current tensions, the establishment of a collective diplomatic effort devoted to confidence and trust-building that revolves around an early warning and arms control mechanism to reduce tensions and avoid crises is necessary. The objective should be the creation of both a collective burden-sharing mechanism and an action-for-action system to achieve North Korea’s denuclearization.

 

ISDP

Strong and Unique: Three Decades of U.S.-Kazakhstan Partnership, Published 2021 offers an insight-filled account of the evolution of the relationship between the United States and Kazakhstan. Given the U.S.’ interest in nuclear security and energy exploration, this relationship predates the collapse of the Soviet Union; Kazakhstani and American leaders enjoyed a substantive and even privileged relationship from the outset. Over the past three-and-a-half decades, both countries have maintained this momentum despite occasional differences and rapidly shifting circumstances. Today, America’s relationship with Kazakhstan stands out on a regional level as the most stable and positive — a strong and unique partnership in a part of the world that seldom gets the attention it deserves. Kazakhstan’s relationship with America, in the same spirit, stands as a model of the benefits a balanced foreign policy can bring to all concerned.

 

ISDP

Trends in Southeast Asia 2021 #21: Hashtag Campaigns during the COVID-19 Pandemic in Malaysia: Escalating from Online to Offline. Hashtag campaigns on social media enable users to express their sentiments on various issues and mobilize people to be part of a movement or cause; they have been used effectively by disenfranchised members of society against powerful elites. While some are of the opinion that online campaigns are ineffective due to “slacktivism”, such campaigns can spill over to offline protests, especially if there are strong emotions such as anger, or a sense of injustice or social deprivation, spurring people on. The earlier hashtag campaigns in Malaysia—#AntaraDuaDarjat (#BetweenTwoStatus) and #DengkiKe (#AreYouJealous)—were expressions of unhappiness over perceived double standards in the enforcement of COVID-19 public safety protocols...

 

ISEAS

Trends in Southeast Asia 2021 #20: Urban Biodiversity and Nature- Based Solutions in Southeast Asia: Perspectives from Indonesia and Malaysia. Rapid urbanization and development in Southeast Asia have impacted its high biodiversity and unique ecosystems, directly through the use of forest lands for infrastructure building, and indirectly through increasing ecological footprints. In Greater Bandung, Indonesia and Greater Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, rapid urbanization over the last thirty years has resulted in an increase in built infrastructure of approximately two and three times respectively. A Nature-Based Solutions approach can potentially underpin urban design and planning strategies in Greater Bandung and Greater Kuala Lumpur, as well as other cities in Southeast Asia, to address biodiversity conservation and also global environmental challenges such as climate change adaption and mitigation, while supporting well-being...

 

ISEAS

The WTO’s 2020 Trade Policy Review for Indonesia and Thailand: A Comparative Assessment, November 2021. This paper provides an analytical survey of trade policy in Indonesia and Thailand, in the context of the key findings of the WTO’s 2020 Trade Policy Reviews. These are historically dynamic economies that are integrated within the outward-looking ASEAN protocols and the China-centred East Asian trade and investment networks. Over the past decade, there have been no major changes in the two countries’ trade and commercial policy settings, with Thailand maintaining its more open economic settings and Indonesia continuing its more hesitant embrace of globalization. The major drivers of domestic policy settings have therefore been global factors, including the continuing rise both of China in the regional and global economies and of the increasingly China-centred global supply chains. Both WTO reports provide comprehensive examinations of trade patterns and policies, although there is room to strengthen the analytical foundations of future reports.

 

ISEAS

Living with COVID-19 in Singapore: Attitudes, Challenges and the Way Ahead, December 2021. Overall, our findings from the present waves of analyses provide us with a better understanding of how the Singapore population evaluates governance and living with a prolonged health crisis. First, while satisfaction levels towards the government across a range of domains have generally been high, it is not a given. A positive appraisal of the government on its management of the pandemic is subject to a population perceiving that the government had met its expectations. In the September to October period, when infection cases and deaths were at an unprecedented high, as compared to earlier periods of the pandemic, satisfaction levels dipped. Nevertheless, we also observed that in late October to November, satisfaction levels have experienced some stabilisation and indeed, upward rebound...

 

IPS

Taxation and Distributive Justice in Singapore, September 2021. COVID-19 has highlighted two important concerns in Singapore’s public economics sphere: fiscal sustainability and economic inequality. Given the centrality of the tax system in addressing both of these concerns, this working paper aims to contribute by providing moral principles that help to frame, shape and guide public and political debate on Singapore’s tax system. Traditionally, the criteria of equity are used to provide moral guidance on the fairness of tax burdens. We find, however, that principles of equity fall short of being complete principles of tax justice because they do not consider how taxes are spent; and secondly, they assume that people have full entitlement over their earnings...

 

IPS

Making Identity Count in Singapore: Understanding Singaporeans' National Pride and Identity, September 2021. This survey, which obtained responses from 2,001 Singapore Citizens and Permanent Residents from a representative national sample of households, sought to understand national identity and pride in Singapore. The study is conducted against the backdrop of several global realities that make consideration of national identity and pride crucial. The COVID-19 crisis has influenced citizens in many countries to reflect on the strengths and failures of their respective societies. Identity politics have been gaining traction globally (e.g the Black Lives Matter has become much more of a global movement since the unfortunate death of George Floyd in May 2021) with increased efforts to promote the needs of marginalised segments in society and build more inclusive socieities...

 

IPS

MAS Financial Stability Review, December 2021. The COVID-19 pandemic has continued to shape global macro-financial developments and government policy responses in 2021. The progress in national inoculation programmes and ongoing accommodative macroeconomic policies have facilitated in lifting global GDP from its trough in Q2 2020, though renewed outbreaks of the virus have delayed economic recovery in some economies. More recently, there has been a pick-up in cost and price pressures induced in part by COVID-19-related disruptions. Through the undulating course of the COVID-19 pandemic, global financial conditions have remained conducive, supporting the general resilience of the international monetary and financial system over the past year...

 

MAS

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APEC

Hmong Studies Journal, Vol. 23, 2021  

HSJ

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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