Centre for United States and Asia Policy Studies Working Papers
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ItemRegional Maritime Security in East Asia( 2015-06-03)Increasingly, it appears that the status quo of the East Asian maritime region is encountering subtle shifts which are eroding the stability of its condition. Regional states are registering higher levels of strategic anxiety, while increasing evidence suggests tit-for-tat behaviour is on the rise. More coercive activity appears to be replacing the commitment to engagement and peaceable diplomacy. Specific controversies within the East China and South China Seas exemplify the risk to the status quo. Recent patterns of military modernisation materially indicate the fears of regional states with respect to these shifting dynamics. Against this backdrop of the erosion of the maritime stability, this expert workshop aims to: ask whether the current slide in relations may be arrested and, if so, what are the most desirable approaches to discourage the deterioration in behaviour. In the consideration of more cooperative behaviour the workshop deliberates on; the current environment, the conditions under which more successful diplomacy could be enacted, the level of leadership and institutional capacity required, the value of bottom up approaches to maritime security, and the nature of effective policy responses.
ItemSocio-Economic and Political Change in the DPRK( 2014-09-03)The present moment represents an inflection point marking the end of Kim Jong Il-era muddle through and the beginning of Kim Jong Un's determined and pro-active regime consolidation phase. Rightly or wrongly, Kim Jong Un's government has noticeably quickened the pace of decisive policy decision-making in pursuit of a simultaneous nuclear security and economic development program, with a fully operation nuclear deterrent in place to provide the umbrella under which new economic measures can be rolled out. In this context, a number of actors-from international agencies and foreign missionary groups working on capacity-building projects to Chinese business interests investing in North Korea's special economic zones and a growing local entrepreneurial class-are beginning to influence governance within the DPRK. This presentation explores these developments in the context of North Korea's domestic governance and its flow-on effects for regional politics.
ItemThe Changing Political Langscape in Malaysia( 2014-09-03)The focus of my presentation is to examine contemporary socio-economic and political development in Malaysia. Key contesting issues such as good governance, Islamisation, state economic development, minority rights, electoral reforms, human rights, and the development of civil society would be scrutinised in order to understand Malaysia’s changing political landscape in Southeast Asia.
ItemEmergence of Local Politics in Indonesia( 2014-09-03)This presentation explores the emergence of local politics in Indonesia. Unlike the national elections which since the fall of Soeharto in 1998 have been held three times, in 1999 (parliamentary elections), 2004 and 2009 (parliamentary elections and direct presidential elections) little is known about local elections or pilkada. There has been considerable continuity and change in Indonesia especially since decentralisation was adopted in 2001 (Malley, 2003; Schulte Nordholt and van Klinken, 2007; Mietzner, 2007; Schiller, 2007; Erawan, 2009; Hadiz, 2004 and 2007; Erb and Sulistyanto, 2009 ). This presentation aims to do a few things: firstly, mapping out contending perspectives to explain the nature and consequences of decentralisation in Indonesia; secondly, finding out the emergence of local power in Indonesia with attention to the rise of ‘little kings’ (raja kecil), the rise of new business actors, the use of gangsters/goons (preman), the widespread of money politics and the booming of political consultancy business; and thirdly, looking at the emergence of local leaders entering national political arena (with a case study of Jakarta’s Governor Jokowi).
ItemContested Governance & Values in Contemporary Japanese Politics( 2014-09-03)• Main axis of political contestation in postwar Japan is not between “Western” and “Asian values” but the struggle for the constitutional “soul” of Japan --- embracing or rejecting the pacifistic constitution (with the famous and unique war-renouncing Article 9). • Another emerging axis: the political cleavage between the center (Tokyo) & the periphery (e.g. Osaka): between the centralized Meiji warfare state/ postwar pacifist welfare state & a looser federated Japan coalescing around 9 regional blocs. • This is not to say that Asian political scientists (e.g. Chan Heng Chee) have not noted the remarkable resilience of Japan’s LDP one-party dominance at the national level (1955-2009 [except 1993]; 2012 --) as being similar to other Asian perennial one-party rule in Malaysia, Singapore & Taiwan. • T.J. Pempel: Japan is an “uncommon democracy” without alternation of power between major political parties. However, Japan’s one-party dominance collapsed in 2009 possibility of a “2-party plus” system. But is Japan a more common democracy today? • Rightwing nationalist Ishihara Shintaro has also made common cause with former Malaysian PM Mahathir by co-writing a book “Asia that can say no”. • However, some Japanese would situate their country as a member of the “West” during the Cold War (US-Japan Alliance) and a member of the G8 today. • Tokyo: advocates “democratization” as an important consideration when it disburses Official Development Assistance to poor developing countries. • PM Abe Shinzo: advocated a quadrangular alliance of democracies (Japan, US, Australia & India) presumably against authoritarian China. Central argument: Japanese governance & politics are marked by profound continuity despite significant change in values, party system & governance. Some of these political changes are universal but the unending contest for the constitutional soul of postwar Japan is uniquely Japanese.
ItemA Media Approach to China-US Relations( 2014-08-22)A comparative study of Chinese and US newspaper reports on the summit between Xi Jinping and Obama in June 2013.