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China Iran

China, the EU and the Middle East

By Fraser Cameron, Director

25 May 2016

As the United States reduces its engagement in the Middle East, a process that could accelerate dramatically with Donald Trump in the White House, both the EU and China have been increasing their engagement. Some experts consider that there could even be scope for cooperation as the EU and China share a number of interests.

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The Price of Human Rights

The Price of Human Rights

By Susanna Mocker

11 May 2016

Since the onset of the financial crisis, the price of raising human rights issues with Asian partners has increased for Europe. The promotion of human rights and democracy are supposedly at the heart of EU foreign policy. In article 21(2) Lisbon Treaty the Union committed itself to “consolidate and support democracy, the rule of law, human rights and the principle of international law” in “all fields of international relations”. While the article also outlines other goals, democracy and human rights rank highest after securing the EU’s fundamental interests. Since 2009 these fundamental interests are increasingly equated with much needed economic growth, which the EU partly seeks in the world’s most dynamic economic region: Asia.

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Ing Wen Tsai

Prospects for Cross-Strait Relations as Tsai Ing-wen Assumes the Presidency in Taiwan

By Bonnie S. Glaser

25 April 2016

On May 20, Tsai Ing-wen from the Democratic People’s Progressive Party (DPP) will be inaugurated president in Taiwan. A key concern of the United States is whether relations between Taiwan and China will remain stable or see a resurgence of tensions. During the presidential campaign, Tsai pledged that she would “maintain the status quo” in crossStrait relations. Beijing’s precondition for preserving the status quo is that she accept the “core” of the 1992 Consensus, which is that the two sides of the Taiwan Strait belong to one and the same China. Although Tsai has taken steps to provide reassurances to Beijing, she has not yet satisfied Chinese demands.

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summit

Cutting the Gordian knot? - Assessing the outcomes of the March EU-India Summit

By Andrea Frontini and Susanna Mocker

8 April 2016

After a four-year suspension, the 13th EU-India Summit took place in Brussels on 30 March 2016. While several deep-rooted constraints could not be overcome, the Summit’s deliverables reflect a gradually changing and cautiously optimistic mood in the historically challenging interaction between Brussels and Delhi.

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Jokowi

Quo vadis, Indonesia? - Foreign Policy under Jokowi

By Susanna Mocker

24 March 2016

Indonesia has been described as "the most important country we know least about." With the upcoming Brussels visit of President Joko Widodo ("Jokowi") in April, it is timely to address this shortcoming. In the 15 months of his presidency the way Indonesia relates to the world has changed markedly in several areas.

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Mahathir

Mahathir & Anwar vs Najib: How Will It End?

By Yang Razali Kassim

7 March 2016

Malaysia's rambunctious politics has entered an even more unpredictable phase with political foes Mahathir Mohamad and jailed Anwar Ibrahim joining hands to unseat Prime Minister Najib Razak and push for systemic change. Where will all this lead?

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Thailand Junta

Calm in Thailand Hides Problems

By Fraser Cameron, Director

4 February 2016

Visiting Thailand last month I was struck by the superficial calm in Bangkok as well as other cities. Most people go about their daily business without army or police interference. Tourists still come in their thousands to enjoy the many delights of the country. But although there are few visible signs of unrest many Thais wonder when they are going to have an elected government again. There is growing dissatisfaction with the military even among its initial supporters.

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Japan EU

The Economics of Origami

By Lena Muxfeldt, Matthias Götz

16 December 2015

In recent decades, it has become a mantra that the EU-Japan relations are full of significant untapped potential. Now, with the negotiations for a free trade agreement (FTA; officially: Economic Partnership Agreement) underway, there is momentum to believe that this untapped trade potential will finally be unfolded like a delicate origami.

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Modi-Tusk

EU-India Relations: Wishful Thinking

By Susanna Mocker

23 November 2015

‘Diversity is our pride and our strength’ declared Indian Prime Minister Modi at a public diplomacy spectacle in London last week. This was very reminiscent of President Juncker's last state of the European Union address. The two unions of 28 and 29 states respectively, share a strategic partnership since 2004. On paper, the partners make a great couple: the world's most populous democracy and an entity of 28 democracies considering itself a normative power; a subcontinent launching the ‘Make in India’ campaign and the world's biggest trading bloc; a state seeking technological innovation and a union applying for one third of the world's patents; a remarkably young country excelling in healthcare and a rapidly aging continent wondering how to take care of the elderly. India-EU relations certainly have a lot of potential but to date untapped potential. There was no EU-India summit since 2012 although Modi has visited France, Germany, Ireland and the UK in his 18 months as prime minister.

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Aung San Suu Kyi

Myanmar goes to the polls

By Susanna Mocker

17 October 2015

On 8 November Myanmar holds important national and regional elections. While the elections are likely to be the freest since the military took power in 1962, a quarter of the seats in the national parliament remain reserved for the military. The incumbent Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) is being strongly challenged by the National League for Democracy (NLD) led by the iconic Aung San Suu Kyi. Another 90 parties are contesting the election, reflecting the diversity of Myanmar.

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