East Asia Forum

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East Asia Forum
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Analysis of economics, politics and public policy in East Asia and the Pacific.

Russia Flexes its Economic Leadership Muscles in East Asia

Date: 17 August 2016

Until its 2012 APEC chairmanship and APEC Summit in Vladivostok, Russia was not a proactive participant in East Asia. Rather, it was still striving for comprehensive involvement in the network of regional institutions such as APEC, ASEAN dialogue partnership, the Asia–Europe Meeting (ASEM) and the East Asia Summit.

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ASEAN Tries to Hold it Together

Date: 17 August 2016

Clouded by controversy even before it began, the recently concluded 49th ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (AMM) in Vientiane, Laos was conspicuous for two things: who was and was not present; and, perhaps more importantly, what was and was not discussed.

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China's Economic Growth Falls to the Policymakers

Date: 16 August 2016

The pattern of growth that drove the Chinese economic miracle has broadly run its course. China’s future prosperity now rests on the shoulders of its policymakers. Will they be able to steer the Chinese economy to prosperity, or will China be bogged down in the middle-income trap? Broadly speaking, there are three paths the Chinese economy can go down.

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Is the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor Enough for Pakistan?

Date: 15 August 2016

The China–Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is widely considered a game changer not only for Pakistan, but also for the Asian region. CPEC is a major stimulus for Pakistan, ensuring rapid economic growth with massive infrastructure development and flows of foreign direct investment (FDI).

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Young South Koreans Losing Interest in the North

Date: 15 August 2016

It is not easy being a young person in globalised South Korea. The intense competition that defines South Korea’s education system and the irregular employment market that awaits graduates has led to rising inequality, falling birth rates, insecure employment and high numbers of youth suicide. Beyond South Korea’s domestic wellbeing, globalisation and its accompanying economic insecurity also have implications for foreign affairs, particularly attitudes towards North Korea.

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Is China's VAT Reform Helping the Economy?

Date: 12 August 2016

As of 1 May 2016, China has fully replaced its business tax with a value-added tax (VAT) across all industries in a bid to streamline tax structures and reduce the tax burden. China first established the current VAT system back in 1994, applying it to the sale or import of goods as well as processing and repair services. The business tax was applied to other services transactions, intangible assets and real estate.

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Vietnam's Ambitious Clean and Green Goals

Date: 12 August 2016

In recent decades, Vietnam’s demand for energy has increased along with its rapid economic development. This surge in demand could provide the impetus to develop Vietnam’s emerging renewable energy industry.

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Is South Korea Facing 'Lost Decades'?

Date: 11 August 2016

In recent years, the South Korean economy has slowed significantly. South Korea’s average annual growth rate has fallen from a high of 9.8 percent in the 1980s to an average of just 2.7 percent over the last five years.

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China's Economic Woes May Affect its Commitment to Climate Change

Date: 11 August 2016

As the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases, China is under the spotlight in the global climate regime. In recent years, the country has become increasingly active in international climate negotiations, announcing ambitious mitigation goals. However, with its slowing economic growth rate, how committed can we expect China to be?

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South Korea's High Growth Model has its Shortcomings

Date: 10 August 2016

Just a few decades ago, South Korea was seen as a model for achieving both growth and equity. In the past half-century, South Korea has gone from being one of the poorest societies in the world to an advanced industrialised economy, joining the OECD in 1996. The country’s rapid industrialisation and export-led development are often cited as an example of ‘compressed growth and transformation’ in the developing world.

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Are Calmer Heads and Seas Prevailing in the South China Sea?

Date: 10 August 2016

In July, the much anticipated Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) decision on the South China Sea was delivered in favour of the Philippines. While Chinese propaganda machines were in full gear denouncing the ruling and the PCA, there is so far no sign that China is overreacting to the ruling. China has also been quite conciliatory towards the new presidential administration in the Philippines.

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Vietnam's Regional Defense Integration Part of its Economic Future

Date: 10 August 2016

The United States’ complete lifting of the decade-long embargo on arms sales to Vietnam marked a historic milestone in US–Vietnam relations, paving the way for a strategic partnership between the two former foes. So what will this mean for Vietnamese security and domestic politics?

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Practicing Responsible Middle-Power Diplomacy is South Korea's Way Forward

Date: 10 August 2016

South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se once again defended the deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile system on the Korean peninsula in a meeting with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi in late July. Wang responded that Seoul’s decision had ‘harmed the foundation of mutual trust’ between their two countries.

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How did China's Productivity Find a Lower Gear?

Date: 9 August 2016

China’s substantive economic slowdown following the 2008–09 global financial crisis has added fuel to the long-running debate over the sustainability of China’s growth model. Despite the government’s unprecedented stimulus package, the official statistics — though often accused of exaggerating real performance, especially in times of crisis — show that China nearly halved its pace of growth, from 13.5 percent per annum in 2005–07 to about 7 percent per annum in 2013–15.

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Thailand Coup Leaders' Democracy is Lacking

Date: 9 August 2016

More than two years since the coup, Thailand’s political situation remains volatile. The coup leaders have vowed to make Thailand more democratic and commit to political reforms. Yet the first draft of the military-sponsored constitution was rejected a year ago. The military was compelled to set up a new drafting commission, this time led by Meechai Ruchupan, a pro-junta legal expert, with a mission to win support from the populace for the new constitution.

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The PCA's Ruling was Supposed to Help South China Sea Security

Date: 9 August 2016

The Permanent Court of Arbitration’s (PCA) ruling in the South China Sea case filed by the Philippines has been labelled a ‘sweeping victory’ against China. It concluded that China has no legal basis to claim historic rights within the nine-dash line in the South China Sea and that none of the land features in the Spratlys meet the criteria for an island that China — or any other country — can use to claim a 200-nautical-mile exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

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Has a Missile Defense System Ever Not Caused Tension?

Date: 9 August 2016

After hesitating for several years, South Korea decided to let the US-made Terminal High Altitude Area Defence (THAAD) anti-missile system be deployed in North Gyeongsang Province. Seoul and Washington say the deployment is only targeted against North Korea, but the ability of the radar system to detect and track Chinese strategic missiles could pose a serious threat to China’s nuclear deterrent.

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