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2022 Highlights

 

 

 

 

 
     

 

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

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

     

 

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

Latest APEC publications:

 

APEC

Latest ADB Publications:  

ADB

Latest ADBI Working Paper Series:  

ADB

Latest ADB Working Paper Series:  

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

Latest APEC publications:

 

APEC

Latest ADBI Working Paper Series:  

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

Latest APEC publications:

 

APEC

Latest ADB Publications:  

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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