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Eu-Asia Centre

Chinese ODI in Europe: Trends and Implications for the EU

By Jess,Xufeng JIA

15 May 2015

China is steadily increasing its stock of ODI in Europe, from €6.1 to €27 billion between 2010 and 2014, a trend that is generally encouraged by EU governments affected by the financial crisis. The first quarter of 2015 witnessed a surge of Chinese ODI that suggests even stronger growth this year. Europe began to receive significant Chinese ODI from 2001, when China started to deregulate its overseas investment and to encourage its national champions to ‘go-out’. Chinese ODI in the EU can be roughly divided into the pre-crisis stage (2001-2008), the crisis stage (2009-2012) and the post-crisis stage. The first stage was the testing stage for Chinese companies and triggered by domestic deregulation and China’s accession to the WTO. The second stage started when the financial crisis hit the EU. The Chinese government encouraged and facilitated Chinese companies’ ODI ambitions in Europe and many member states viewed Chinese ODI as a potential economic saviour and competed to attract investment from China. The third and current stage sees a more selective approach from China focusing on quality infrastructure projects and brand names. 

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scs

Stirring up the South China Sea (III): A Fleeting Opportunity for Calm

By International Crisis Group

7 May 2015

The South China Sea is the cockpit of geopolitics in East Asia. Five countries – Brunei, China, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam – plus Taiwan have substantial and competing territorial and maritime claims in a body of water that is both an important source of hydrocarbons and fisheries and a vital trade corridor. The recent history has been scarred by cycles of confrontation. Today, the clashes are becoming more heated, and the lulls between periods of tension are growing shorter. As the region continues to grow in influence and power, the handling of the competing claims will set the tone for relations within East Asia for years. The cost of even a momentary failure to manage tensions could pose a significant threat to one of the world’s great collaborative economic success stories. Despite China’s controversial development of some of the reefs it controls, the current relatively low temperature of the disagreement offers a chance to break the cycle, but it is likely to be short-lived. The countries of the region, supported by the wider international community, need to embrace the opportunity while it lasts.

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myanmar

Myanmar’s Electoral Landscape

By International Crisis Group

1 May 2015

Myanmar is preparing to hold national elections in early November 2015, five years after the last full set of polls brought the semi-civilian reformist government to power. The elections, which are constitutionally required within this timeframe, will be a major political inflection point, likely replacing a legislature dominated by the Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP), established by the former regime, with one more reflective of popular sentiment. The opposition National League for Democracy (NLD) party of Aung San Suu Kyi is well-placed to take the largest bloc of seats.

There have been major improvements in election administration since the deeply flawed 2010 elections and the more credible 2012 by-elections. While the election commission is still widely perceived as close to the government and the USDP, the transparent and consultative approach it has adopted and the specific decisions it has taken suggest it is committed to delivering credible polls. This includes major efforts to update and digitise the voter roll; consultation with civil society and international electoral support organisations on the regulatory framework; invitations to international electoral observers for the first time, as well as to domestic observers; changing problematic provisions on advance voting; and reducing the costs of a candidacy.The broader political environment is also more conducive to credible elections, with a significantly freer media and much improved civil liberties.

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 anniversary of the end of the Second World War

2015 and the History Game

By Fraser Cameron, Director

27 April 2015

It is impossible to escape history and this is especially true in 2015, the 70th anniversary of the end of the Second World War. Nowhere has history poisoned the contemporary political atmosphere more than in East Asia where China and Korea have criticised Abe for failing to come to terms with Japanese aggression in the 1930s. On the Chinese side the emphasis is on the occupation of Manchuria and the ‘rape of Nanjing’ while the Koreans have tended to focus on the emotive issue of ‘comfort women’.  Abe will have several chances in coming weeks to deal with the history issue starting with this week’s visit to the US when he will be given the rare honour of speaking to a joint meeting of Congress. The major speech will be on 15 August, the anniversary of Hiroshima.

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nsr

China’s New Maritime Silk Road: Implications and Opportunities for Southeast Asia

By Institute of South East Asian Studies

21 April 2015

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY • In 2013, Chinese President Xi Jinping unveiled plans for two massive trade and infrastructure networks connecting East Asia with Europe: the New Silk Road and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road (“one belt one road”). The plans aim to reinvigorate the ancient Silk Roads with a modern network of high-speed rail, motorways, pipelines and ports stretching across the region. • The idea of the New Silk Road and the New Maritime Silk Road was raised because China’s domestic economy is experiencing structural changes that reflect a “new normal” of slower but better quality growth. 

The full report please see here.

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rsis

Korea-China Maritime Boundary Talks: Implications for South China Sea

By Rajaratnam School of International Studies

14 April 2015

THE LEADERS of China and South Korea agreed in July 2014 to launch a working-level group on boundary delimitation in the Yellow Sea. The first meeting took place on 29 January 2015, discussing Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs) and continental shelves. Contentious issues, including fisheries, the environment, scientific research, and resource development need to be resolved in a way which secures the long-term interests of both countries, and further working meetings will be held this year.

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Lee Kuan Yew and Singapore’s Foreign Policy: A Productive Iconoclasm

Lee Kuan Yew and Singapore’s Foreign Policy: A Productive Iconoclasm

By Rajaratnam School of International Studies

25 March 2015

Synopsis

Lee Kuan Yew’s mark on Singapore’s foreign policy is that of applying counter intuitive strategies to improve the island state’s international standing. In retrospect, this has ensured Singapore’s long term viability as a sovereign nation-state.

Commentary

AS SINGAPORE’S first Prime Minister and the point man in negotiating decolonisation from Britain in the late 1950s and early 1960s, Lee Kuan Yew carries an aura of being one of the pioneers of the island state’s foreign policy. His political personality appears to have been directly mapped onto his steer age of foreign policy: cold unflinching appraisal of one’s circumstances, and self-reliance indesigning one’s survival strategies, but only up to the point that external parties can be persuaded that it is in their conjoined interests to partner Singapore in pursuing win-win collaborations.

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Thailand’s Martial Law

Multiple Targets of Thailand’s Martial Law

By Institute of South East Asian Studies

16 March 2015

Despite demands from certain segments of the business sector, Thailand’s militarygovernment refuses to lift the martial law it has placed on the country. This article seeksto explain the significance of the martial law presently in place by examining the types of people who have been charged under it.

Apart from suppressing critics and opponents of the coup d’état, two major targets of martial law are firstly, offenders under lèse majesté law and secondly, the allegedlyarmed groups.

The martial law is an essential mechanism for the junta to build up its authority to anunprecedented level of control.

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rsis

ASEAN Integration Remains an Illusion

By Desker Barry

5 March 2015

As ASEAN enters a critical year in which it has to declare itself as a single ASEAN Community, a fundamental question needs to be asked: Is ASEAN integration a growing reality or an aspiration that remains unfulfilled?


FOR THE ASEAN member states, the benchmark of successful regionalism has been ASEAN’s effectiveness in bringing the region closer. ASEAN has provided a forum for closer consultations while promoting the habit of cooperation. The lack of intra-state conflict in a region derided as a cockpit of war and the Balkans of the East during the 1950s and 1960s has been credited to ASEAN’s success in moulding a greater regional consciousness among policymakers.

Still, in the first 40 years of its existence - from 1967 to 2007 - only 30 per cent of ASEAN agreements were implemented. I was therefore sceptical of the impact of the ASEAN Charter when it was adopted in November 2007

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iseas

The Feasibility of an ASEAN Customs Union Post- 2015

By Institute of South East Asian Studies

4 March 2015

• As ASEAN member economies start their discussion on the ‘deepening’ of economicintegration, an ASEAN Customs Union (CU) may become a possibility.

• Given that Singapore already operates a zero tariff regime on trade in goods there are twooptions for ASEAN in moving towards a CU: either all its members will need to inchcloser to a zero Common External Tariff (CET), or they will have to form a CU with apositive CET minus Singapore. The latter would however mean that the customs unionwould only be a partial one.

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