Upcoming Seminars and Events

Trade, Technology and Trust

Bert Hofman, 15 July 2019

The Osaka meeting between US President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping was seen by many as one of the last opportunities to prevent the trade war from escalating to possibly a new cold war.  The good news is that the two parties are talking again; the 25% tariffs on an additional US$300 billion are on hold for now and Huawei is still allowed to buy technology from the United States. President Trump even went so far as to declare China a potential strategic partner, which contrasts with the designation of a “strategic competitor” by US National Security Review and US National Defence Strategy, or the more aggressive power that Vice President Pence had called China in his speech at the Hudson Institute last October. A few days after Osaka, China’s National Development and Commission announced a further shortening of the “Negative List” of sectors reserved for Chinese enterprises (from 48 to 40) and Premier Li Keqiang pledged a faster timetable for the opening of the financial sector for majority foreign ownership at the Summer Davos in Dalian …

Hong Kong’s Extradition Bill: Protests and Implications

Zhao Litao, Qi Dongtao and Shan Wei, 27 June 2019

After a massive protest against the highly controversial extradition bill on 9 June 2019, Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Carrie Lam announced the indefinite suspension of the bill on 15 June. Nevertheless, a larger protest demanding the complete withdrawal of the bill and Carrie Lam’s resignation took place on 16 June. Although Lam did not accept the protesters’ demand for her resignation, she apologised to the public through a government statement amid the larger protest. The tension between the Hong Kong government and society will likely continue in the near future, probably in more moderate forms. This can have profound implications for Hong Kong, Taiwan, the “one country, two systems” principle and China’s relationship with some Western countries …

China and the One Belt, One Road

Tuesday, 30 April 2019

China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has met with a lot of resistance and criticism since its launch. Some in the West called it a debt trap for developing countries which do not have the capability of repayment. To allay fears, the Chinese government is currently doing away with some of the unnecessary propaganda of the initiative. According to the international media that covered the Second Belt and Road Forum held in Beijing, BRI’s popularity is increasing and ASEAN countries has become a key player in the BRI. Japan had sent very high-level delegations to the forum. Besides, China has deepened cooperation with Eastern European countries, with Italy joining the BRI and participating in the forum this year. The absence of the United States, Canada and India remained conspicuous.

The 2020 General Election in Taiwan and Sino-Malaysian Relations

Tuesday, 23 April 2019

On Taiwan’s next general election in 2020, a number of questions on Terry Gou’s participation in the presidential race was raised: why Terry Gou as a business person is running for election; how could that bring change to Taiwan’s politics; and what is the real motive behind Gou’s participation. EAI scholars agree that this is good opportunity for him to run the election as dissatisfaction with Tsai Ing-wen’s administration is so high that any credible candidate from the major opposition party, Kuomintang (KMT), is likely to win the election.

Triangular Relationship between China, Japan and the United States

Tuesday, 16 April 2019

China and Japan’s recent relations have seemly improved, with both sides holding high-level economic dialogues. The amicable economic gestures between China and Japan can be explained by the ongoing trade friction between China and the United States, and the pressure from United States to narrow trade deficit with Japan. However, the overall relationship between China, Japan and the United States is not an equilateral triangle. The United States and Japan share a close alliance based on common interest and values, which will survive beyond the presidential term of Donald Trump. It is a multifaceted relationship with a habit of cooperation in the field of security. The security alliance is fundamental to US-Japan relations, with a common interest to check the rise of China.

China’s Political Economy and Its Relations with Europe Union

Tuesday, 26 March 2019

According to the latest statistics, China is the largest trading country in terms of goods exports. As EAI economists pointed out, since the reform and opening up, China has benefitted greatly from market opening and thereby foreign direct investment. However, China still has to continue to reform state-owned enterprises as their productivity is far lower than that of private companies especially for those in the internet sector.

China’s National People’s Congress (NPC) Meeting 2019

Tuesday, 19 March 2019

In terms of corruption, China’s anti-corruption has seemingly achieved success with less and less major cases of investigation released to the public. Gross domestic product (GDP) growth in 2019, according to the report delivered by China’s Premier Li Keqiang, has been lowered to a minimum of six per cent. Although growth is slower than before, given the sheer size of China’s current economy as well as its upgrading economic structure, the quality of China’s economic development overall has been tremendously improving, especially in the progress in environmental protection.

The Kim-Trump Meeting in Vietnam

Tuesday, 5 March 2019

On the second summit between Kim Jong-un and Donald Trump, EAI experts argue that it is natural for Kim to reach no deal with Trump. To the United States, eliminating all facilities is a goal of denuclearisation. Making a meaningful deal is the top option, though a no deal is not out of question. Evidently, the nuclear deal cannot be achieved in a day. It is still at the beginning of the process, not mention that is clearly a lack of trust between the two sides.

Profitability of Vietnam’s High-Speed Railway

26 June 2019

The Vietnam government first announced its High-Speed Railway (HSR) plan connecting Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh in 2007. Although the plan was rejected by Vietnam’s National Assembly in 2010 due to its high cost, the railway project management board has prepared an amended plan scheduled to be presented in the coming October to the National Assembly for approval. The HSR, if approved, is expected to adopt Japanese railway trains and technologies. By comparing to HSR in Japan, Dr Tomoo Kikuchi and Ms Tomoyo Nakamura examined the profitability of the Vietnam HSR based on population density, if it goes into operation.

Southeast Asia and the Return of Power Politics

7 June 2019

ASEAN was formed in the cold war period when the world was divided between competing communist and capitalist systems. The “ASEAN way” of seeking development, harmony and agreement has allowed it to prosper and expand its international influence to co-opt interested powers into its various cooperative and dialogue frameworks. Since around 2010, however, this has been challenged by the return of power politics to the Southeast Asian region. Lowell Dittmer, professor of political science at the University of California, Berkeley in USA, gave a talk at EAI on this resurgence of power politics, with analysis on the status of relations among ASEAN, China, Japan and the United States.

Informal Economic Behaviour and Authoritarian Regime Instability

17 May 2019

Previous studies on informal economic behaviour (IEB) or corruption in China have drawn diverging implications. In some studies, IEB is seen as a lubricant to smooth things out and increase efficiency amid the rapid economic growth. In others, IEB is considered to be detrimental to healthy socio-economic development. Almost all existing studies have focused on the receiving parties, but neglected the side that gives and offers briberies. Tang Wenfang, Professor of Political Science at the University of Iowa, presents his study on IEB in China, based on survey data that captures the parties giving briberies.

China’s Core Interests and Critical Role in North Korea’s Denuclearisation

YUAN Jingdong, 13 June 2019

China and North Korea have maintained a unique relationship, one of ‘lips and teeth’ and sealed in blood, for nearly seven decades. It was buttressed by their shared communist ideology and joint armed conflict during the Korean War …

South Korea-Japan Relations in the 2010s: Ambivalent Strategic and Economic Partners?

JO Yanghyeon & LAM Peng Er, 6 June 2019

From the United States’ strategic perspective, the cooperation between its South Korean and Japanese allies, important components of the US hub-and-spokes architecture, is indispensable to the region’s stability …

American Asian Strategy under Trump: The Art of the Deal

Lowell DITTMER, 6 June 2019

The upset election of Donald Trump was unusually divisive. The American foreign policy community was also divided, and with good reason:  Trump had some very radical ideas about American foreign policy, was determined to implement them and disdained the counsel of the Establishment.  If consistently implemented, they portend a drastic shift in the terms of American engagement with the world …

Latest Publications

East Asian Policy

Volume 11, No 1, Jan/Mar 2019

China: An International Journal

Volume 17, No 2, May 2019

China’s Economic Modernisation and Structural Changes: Essays in Honour of John Wong

Edited by ZHENG Yongnian & Sarah Y. TONG