Global Challenges

  • The U.S. 'Pivot to Asia' rolls on with the seventh S&ED.

    Sino-U.S. Strategic & Economic Potential

    Behind the 7th Sino-US Strategic & Economic Dialogue

    In the recent S&ED between China and the U.S, the most intriguing developments involved not just the formal bilateral progress, but also those undercurrents that illuminate the potential future of the dialogue.

    After months of diplomatic friction over the South China Sea, both sides acknowledged an easing of tension in the run-up to the seventh meeting of the Sino-U.S. Strategic and Economic Dialogue (S&ED).

    view 0

  • The importance of freedom of navigating the South China Sea cannot be overstated

    Staying the Course on Freedom of Navigation

    In a recent East Asia Forum article, Sam Bateman criticised a decision by the US Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter to develop military plans for more assertive freedom of navigation (FON) operations in the South China Sea (SCS). Specifically, Bateman asserts that ‘there are significant legal, operational, and political risks involved with these operations’. While there may be risks associated with conducting FON operations in proximity of China’s man-made islands in the SCS, much of what Bateman states in support of his position are misplaced.

    view 0

  • Recent developments have hardened Australia's South China Sea diplomacy.

    Australia's Diplomatic Efforts Regarding the South China Sea Need Vigor

    Despite its calls for ‘more Jakarta and less Geneva’, the Abbott government appears to have fallen into a passive approach to multilateral diplomacy. Moreover, as tensions in the South China Sea ratchet up, the Australian public deserves to know more about why their regional foreign policy may suddenly be lurching onto a military track. If this is the case, the government needs to show that diplomacy has been seriously tried and found wanting. However, the evidence is that multilateral diplomacy has not been pursued with the required vigour or intensity.

    view 0

  • Leadership demand is on the rise, but no one is there to take the reigns.

    The Global Leadership Demand/Supply Imbalance

    In our rapidly changing world, new global contradictions are emerging rapidly. Today, the biggest global contradiction is this: the demand for global leadership has never been greater but the supply seems to be diminishing.

    view 0

  • It's not about a military threat, but more about symbolism.

    China's South China Sea Strategy is not Exactly Popular

    We are witnessing another round of China-bashing — this time because of its reclamation activities on islands and submerged reefs in the South China Sea. The US Department of Defense has accused China of undermining the status quo and generating instability, being out of step with international rules and norms, and ‘militarising’ these features.

    view 0

  • The EPA will have to wait for the ICAO on airline emissions.

    The EPA Curbs Airline Emissions, Sort Of

    The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) last week issued a “proposed finding” that greenhouses gases from aviation pose a danger to the health and welfare of current and future generations. It could pave the way for regulations to limit domestic US aircraft emissions – but there are plenty of hurdles still to jump before that happens.

    view 0

  • Protecting nationals living abroad is a top priority for Chinese officials.

    China's Foreign Policy Influenced by Nationals Living Abroad

    The concept of ‘protecting nationals abroad’ (haiwai gongmin baohu) became part of the Chinese Communist Party’s priority list at the 18th Party Congress in 2012. But the idea caught the attention of China’s top leadership as early as 2004, with three major attacks against Chinese citizens in Sudan, Afghanistan and Pakistan. That China now systematically evacuates nationals from crises and war zones suggests China is becoming more inclined to support international responses when its own interests are at stake.

    view 0

  • The internet adoption gap is broad between low and high incomes.

    Internet Access is Growing, Albeit Very Unevenly, at All Income Levels

    The Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) recent proposal to expand the current Lifeline program – which provides phone service to low-income households – to include broadband access has drawn both praise and criticism.

    Since 1985, the program has helped cover the cost of landline and (20 years later) mobile phone service for low-income households, and it is credited with helping cut the telephone penetration gap between low- and high-income households by two-thirds.

    view 0

  • Freedom online, and sometimes offline, is elusive in parts of Asia.

    The Freedom Online Coalition is Working Hard in Asia

    The Asian members of the Freedom Online Coalition (FOC) have announced their love of freedom and willingness to guarantee freedom online. However, the reality is that there is a disconnect between stated ambitions and commitments, and actual policy.

    view 0