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AsiaGlobal Voices

Trending Opinions From Across the Region

AsiaGlobal Voices is a curated feed of summaries of opinion articles, columns and editorials published in local languages in media from across Asia.

The publication of AsiaGlobal Voices summaries does not indicate any endorsement by the Asia Global Institute or AsiaGlobal Online of the opinions expressed in them.

Problem with Partitions: Excessive Covid-19 Measures in Schools
Wednesday, March 23, 2022
Problem with Partitions: Excessive Covid-19 Measures in Schools

Ralph Yau, Founder of Infinity Montessori Academy, in am730 (October 29, 2021)

Summary by Alan Yang Gregory (Photo credit: @KashungWis on Twitter)

Problem with Partitions: Excessive Covid-19 Measures in Schools

An Olympic athlete took a group photo while visiting a primary school. Netizens were surprised to see that, in this photo, transparent plastic partitions had been installed on the front, left and right sides of each student’s desk. The Education Bureau only recommends – but does not require – the installation of such partitions in classrooms. Instead, students are required to wear masks and socially distance. The use of such partitions is a prime example of excessive-prevention and fails to consider the needs of students themselves.

The transparent plastic partitions are low quality and will have an impact on students’ vision. The brightness of the light passing through the partitions is also greatly reduced. Research has found that the incidence of myopia in school children is now 2.5 times that before the epidemic. It is believed that these plastic partitions are contributing to vision damage in a similar way as wearing a pair of very low-quality glasses. If students cannot see clearly, they will be less able to study.

Some British and American scholars have claimed that partitions not only have no effect on preventing the spread of the virus but can also become a means for the virus to spread. As the partitions obstruct the air flow, ventilation will be unable to introduce fresh air. Contaminated droplets therefore risk being concentrated in this "dead zone".

All partitions in the classroom should be removed. Hong Kong children deserve better. Yet now, they are lagging behind. Schools should follow educational principles, while the authorities should explain the relevant measures to parents, so as to not have a negative impact on children’s learning and development.


The Ukraine War is a Tragedy That Could Have Been Avoided
Wednesday, March 9, 2022
The Ukraine War is a Tragedy That Could Have Been Avoided

Moon Chung-in, Chairman, Sejong Institute, in Hankyoreh (March 6, 2022)

Summary by Alejandro Reyes (Photo credit: President of Ukraine)

The Ukraine War is a Tragedy That Could Have Been Avoided

The primary cause of the war in Ukraine is the military adventurism and the victim mentality of a cold-blooded dictator. But can the US and the West be completely absolved of responsibility? 

Harvard University scholar Stephen Walt had predicted that the US and the West’s aggressive values-based foreign policy could provoke Russia to invade Ukraine. Walt said that while security reasons were given for the expansion of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) eastward, in reality, it was oriented toward spreading the values of freedom and democracy. It was, therefore, not hard to predict that Putin would regard such movements as tending to isolate Russia and threaten his rule and that he would respond with harsh military action.

What set the tinderbox alight, however, was the miscalculations of the leaders – not only Putin’s unhinged decision to invade, but also Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s immature initial response and failure at managing the crisis and preventing a war. He exacerbated the situation by sending conflicting messages, dangling NATO membership before his supporters, promising neutrality to Russia, and appealing for nuclear armament to the West. He complicated the crisis with contradictory rhetoric, warning the outside world about an impending invasion and asking for military aid even while he told the Ukrainian people to stay calm because there was little chance of an invasion. Another misstep was Zelensky’s naive expectation of military assistance from the US and NATO.

People can hold various opinions about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. But if the US and the West had been more prudent about changing the status quo in Russia’s sphere of influence, if Ukraine’s domestic politics had been more unified, and if the Ukrainian president had been more adept at crisis management, this tragedy could have been avoided.


The War in Ukraine: What is the Impact on the Economy?
Wednesday, March 9, 2022
The War in Ukraine: What is the Impact on the Economy?

Jan Carlo “JC” Punongbayan, senior lecturer at the School of Economics of the University of the Philippines, in Rappler (March 4, 2022)

Summary by Alejandro Reyes (Photo credit: Caltex)

The War in Ukraine: What is the Impact on the Economy?

Some presidential and vice-presidential candidates have been non-committal on the Russian invasion of Ukraine. When Ferdinand Marcos, Jr, was asked for a statement, he said he did not have to take a stand because our country was not involved, except for concerns about Filipinos in Ukraine and Russia. His running mate, Sara Duterte, said we should always be "neutral" if the interests of the Philippines are not involved.

This view is erroneous. The Philippines is part of the global economy, and Russia's occupation of Ukraine is already having an impact. Filipinos have already felt the effects. The price of oil is rising. While the Philippines does not import oil directly from Russia, we still have to deal with the higher costs. In February, inflation remained at 3 percent. But gasoline prices rose by 32.1 percent and diesel by 46.4 percent.

In 2020, only 9 percent of Philippine imports of wheat came from Ukraine. Because of the war, wheat production in Ukraine and Russia is likely to be reduced, and wheat prices are rising in global markets. If the price of our imported wheat goes up too much, the price of flour and bread may also increase. 

According to JP Morgan Chase, the Ukraine crisis could reduce the growth of the Philippine economy by 0.4 percent this year. The Philippines has an interest in the Russian occupation of Ukraine. And if we are neutral, are we then essentially siding with Moscow? Yet, our government condemned the occupation at the emergency special session of the United Nations General Assembly.

In May, vote for a candidate who understands the place of the Philippines in the global economy and politics – and above all, one who has a stand. Candidates should not be neutral. 


The Government Should Do More than Lower the Voting Age
Wednesday, February 23, 2022
The Government Should Do More than Lower the Voting Age

Feng Zhenhao (冯振豪), postgraduate student, in Oriental Daily News (January 9, 2022) 

Summary by Alan Yang Gregory (Photo credit: Firdaus Latif)

The Government Should Do More than Lower the Voting Age

Malaysia has officially lowered the voting age from 21 to 18. This decision has prompted the reorganization of Malaysia’s political landscape and should have a positive impact. Ultimately, lowering the voting age is a sign of progress as it means the elderly can no longer monopolize public opinion. It will also ensure that the space for public discourse on issues is more diverse and open. Yet, Malaysia still lacks progress in many other policy areas.

With rising prices and a slow economic recovery, young voters are more likely to worry about their own livelihoods than educate themselves on public affairs. These voters will therefore be more likely to be coaxed by the rhetoric of a specific party. Malaysia’s ruling party has already looked to adapt to this new situation by providing aid, financial incentives and tax cuts for young people. Yet, these measures merely attempt to convey the message that the ruling party is friendly to young people, but do not show that it truly understands their needs. 

Instead, the government should tackle the root causes of the challenges facing young people rather than the symptoms of the problems. Some examples include the raising the minimum wage, establishing more comprehensive and more accessible medical insurance, and setting up academic research projects for college students. In other words, policies that effectively help young voters become independent and plan their future.

The government must go further than simply lowering the voting age and instead demonstrate sensitivity to generational change. This can only be done through listening to voices in society and then formulating the necessary policy measures.


Lessons from the Case of the Chinese Agent
Wednesday, February 23, 2022
Lessons from the Case of the Chinese Agent

Giam Meng Tuck, commentator, in Lianhe Zaobao (December 19, 2021)

Summary by Alan Yang Gregory (Photo credit: Facebook)

Lessons from the Case of the Chinese Agent

Singapore’s Internal Security Department (ISD) issued a statement announcing the release of Yeo Jun Wei (also known as Dickson Yeo), a 40-year-old Singaporean doctoral student at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, who was previously detained for spying. Yeo was arrested in the United States for recruiting American soldiers and officials, hiring them to write reports, and forwarding these to the Chinese intelligence service. In July 2020, he pleaded guilty in a US court to a crime of illegally serving as a foreign agent and was sentenced to 14 months in prison.

Bilahari Kausikan, Singapore’s former permanent secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, has reminded Singaporeans to learn from the case and not to be naïve towards issues relating to international relations, stating that the “mutual collection of intelligence” was the norm. While this was not the first high profile incident, the Yeo Jun Wei case has its own unique features. 

As he is a Singaporean, Yeo was deported to Singapore in December 2020 where he was arrested under the Internal Security Act. When Yeo pleaded guilty in the US, Singapore’s Ministry of Home Affairs stated that his activities did not pose a direct threat to Singapore.

Yet, Yeo’s case clearly demonstrates how such threats have become more pronounced due to social media, which has made it easier for foreign intelligence services to talent-spot, groom and cultivate potential agents, even from abroad. The case of Yeo Jun Wei should serve as a cautionary tale to all young, ambitious Singaporeans. 


Only by Turning Up to Vote Can Society’s Views Be Heard
Wednesday, February 23, 2022
Only by Turning Up to Vote Can Society’s Views Be Heard

Chen Duanhong, Dean of the Hong Kong and Macau Research Institute of Peking University and Vice President of the National Hong Kong and Macau Research Association, in HK01 (December 13, 2021)

Summary by Alan Yang Gregory (Photo credit: Gaugear Msierpllo)

Only by Turning Up to Vote Can Society’s Views Be Heard

Many have been pessimistic about the voter turnout rate for the Hong Kong Legislative Council elections on December 19, 2021. Whatever happens, there is no doubt that these polls are a testament to the Hong Kong spirit.

Hong Kong should cherish the special constitutional arrangement of “one country two systems”. Indeed, according to Article 23, the central government has been generous to delegate exclusive legislative power to Hong Kong. Yet, many have been slanderously criticizing the central government and causing trouble in the political arena and the media to gain power and seek wealth.

One of the key considerations for China to implement “one country, two systems” was to protect Hong Kong's capitalist society. The Basic Law exists to secure prosperity and stability, which has been supported by entrepreneurship and the Hong Kong spirit.

A perfect democracy must recognize multiple electoral units, not just individual citizens. The design of the political system must reflect diversity and consider the interests of all sectors of society. The functional representation system is a unique characteristic of Hong Kong’s democratic system. It includes all industries, with most practitioners are represented. 

Some people think that the new electoral system has expanded functional representation and squeezed the proportion of constituency direct elections, thus prompting voters not to participate in elections Clearly, there remains tension between functional representation and equality so a balance must be found. But it is only through turning up to vote that society’s preferences can be heard.


Livestreaming E-Commerce: Cracking Down on Tax Evasion
Wednesday, February 23, 2022
Livestreaming E-Commerce: Cracking Down on Tax Evasion

Ge Changyin, Associate Professor of Accounting at the China Agricultural University, in Jiemian (December 22, 2021)

Summary by Alan Yang Gregory (Photo credit: Weibo)

Livestreaming E-Commerce: Cracking Down on Tax Evasion

China is the fastest-growing and largest market for livestreaming e-commerce in the world. While livestreaming services prosper through their innovative business models, how they earn their income differs from that of other traditional enterprises.

Viya and Li Jiaqi are superstar influencers in this market. The Zhejiang Provincial Tax Service recently disclosed that Viya had evaded taxes amounting to RMB643 million and underpaid RMB60 million in taxes between 2019 and 2020. She was fined RMB1.3billion, representing the largest penalty issued to a livestreamer and sending a clear message that the government will not tolerate tax evasion. 

Here are some ways to address the emerging problems: 

First, it is important to acknowledge that the obligation of taxpayers is to pay their taxes according to the law. One of the main functions of taxation is to address income disparity, and the Viya case is a lesson for every taxpayer. Second, the nature of livestream e-commerce should be categorized as business income rather than individual income, with a maximum tax rate of 35 percent. Third, local commercial departments should bear the responsibility of ensuring compliance of registered companies so that they are not used for tax avoidance. 

To crack down on evasion, China’s taxation authorities should thoroughly investigate these livestreaming businesses and introduce targeted provisions where necessary.


How to Overcome the National Crisis
Monday, February 21, 2022
How to Overcome the National Crisis

Iokibe Makoto, Chairman of the Asian Affairs Research Council, in The Mainichi (February 21, 2022)

Summary by Alejandro Reyes (Photo credit: Prime Minister’s Office of Japan)

How to Overcome the National Crisis

The country is faced with troubles. This was due to the spread of the coronavirus, which poses a life-threatening danger to the entire nation. The people are not tolerant of a government that is unable to respond to the threat to their survival. 

The threat from foreign enemies has not subsided. North Korea is even more defiant and provocative. China has built an all-round military system and is not afraid to use it. China's actions toward Taiwan and the Senkaku Islands cannot be blocked, and Japan must find a response.

Here are three suggestions on what should be done to overcome our national crisis:

First, establish a crisis management agency for disaster prevention and epidemic control. 

Second, Japan must restructure its national security strategy. It is essential to find a way to prevent our neighbors, who are rushing to expand their armed forces, from using force. This is difficult to achieve, but a combination of three approaches may be useful: 1) strengthening self-help capabilities, including enhancement of missile networks, 2) making the Japan-US alliance more effective, and 3) expanding international cooperation.

Third is the revitalization of the economy. Prime Minister Kishida Fumio has called for "new capitalism" through wage hikes and inequality correction. This is a global issue. The most urgent task is for Japan to regain its growth potential by strengthening research and development and direct investment. Now is the time to use aggressive fiscal measures to promote digitalization, where Japan is lagging, and to concentrate on accelerating investment in new industries with an eye on global warming.

As for the severe environmental crisis, what matters is how we act. History is rich with examples of recognizing severity and setting ambitious goals to turn a crisis into an opportunity. Let us aim for a creative recovery.


Why Are People Still Choosing to Keep Political Dynasties in Power?
Monday, February 21, 2022
Why Are People Still Choosing to Keep Political Dynasties in Power?

John Leo C Algo, environmental researcher and climate activist, in Rappler (February 13, 2022)

Summary by Alejandro Reyes (Photo credit: bongbongmarcos.com)

Why Are People Still Choosing to Keep Political Dynasties in Power?

According to surveys, Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr, the son of the late dictator, is the frontrunner in the presidential election campaign. Many would call his recent moves, from refusing to attend presidential forums and media interviews to claiming anyone against him is biased, cowardly. But if you expect these controversies to turn the tide, you need a reality check. 

Marcos will present his actions as part of his campaign against sociopolitical traditions and institutions in which the masses have lost faith. With the Philippines arguably in the worst shape it has been since the days when Marcos’s father imposed martial law, people desperate for change can equate that with the failure of the leaders who followed the senior Marcos after he was deposed to deliver promises of prosperity. 

If voters are tired of leaders and institutions failing them, why are they still choosing to keep political dynasties in power? Is there no other choice out there? The lack of education of many voters is a problem, but we have been dealing with the same issues involving these families for decade. At what point do we start holding accountable those who can see, but choose to be blind anyway?

But maybe the pieces do fit. It is just that political analysts, experts and vocal netizens are analyzing a different game from what Marcos is playing. Marcos and friends have done a terrific job of taking control of the narrative, rewriting it to suit their own agendas. He raises so many red flags but his team focuses on making voters forget them and highlight instead a potential comeback. Now think about it: Why do all trolls and fake news peddlers praise the Marcoses and attack their opponents? Common sense has to kick in at some point.


In Restoring Forests, Transparency in Monitoring Progress Needed
Wednesday, February 16, 2022
In Restoring Forests, Transparency in Monitoring Progress Needed

Nirarta “Koni” Samadhi, country director of World Resources Institute (WRI) Indonesia, in Koran Tempo (November 30, 2021)

Summary by Made Ayu Mariska (Photo credit: Max Pixel)

In Restoring Forests, Transparency in Monitoring Progress Needed

At the UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, the world committed to stop deforestation and land degradation. Different parties pledged to contribute to preserving the environment. Indonesia, as the co-chair of the country members of the FACT (Forest, Agriculture and Commodity Trade) Dialogue, promised to protect the forests in their commodity trade. In addition, over 30 financial institutions that cumulatively manage US$ 8.7 trillion in assets committed to eliminating deforestation risks in their investments in the agricultural and farming sector by 2025.

Apart from restoring forests, President Joko Widodo gave a speech on his plan to replant 600 hectares of mangrove. An ideal ecological and social forest and land restoration requires active cooperation with the people who own or occupy the land. The mangrove restoration initiative funded by the World Bank must, therefore, be designed and implemented through cooperation among the key actors. Consequently, it ensures restoration funds reach the community groups and local entrepreneurs who are working on land restoration. It is the only way to make a transformative systemic change.

To fulfil the promises made at Glasgow, the signatories to the closing declaration and relevant stakeholders need to establish a clear and measurable work plan to achieve the stated goals by 2030. Collaboration among all parties including business, civil-society organizations, and indigenous peoples and local communities is vital. It is essential to have transparency in monitoring, reporting and verifying the progress of implementing these commitments.


Fair Remuneration Needed for Cultural Workers
Tuesday, February 15, 2022
Fair Remuneration Needed for Cultural Workers

Misheel Lkhasuren, columnist, in The UB Post (February 9, 2022)

Summary by Alejandro Reyes (Photo credit: Carsten ten Brink)

Fair Remuneration Needed for Cultural Workers

The pandemic has proven the intrinsic value of the cultural and creative sector at generating social cohesion and economic growth in times of crisis. 

Mongolian artists are seeking to embrace the latest technologies and merge Western techniques with Mongolian subject matter. The Ministry of Culture of Mongolia is even pursuing an e-culture policy. The ministry explains that cultural creations and resources must be combined with technical innovations to produce new types of products and put them into use. However, judging by the current situation, it does not provide enough revenue to support a professional career in Mongolia.

Even in Mongolia, major festivals and concerts are being held online. However, current monetization models in the digital environment are not sustainable for most artists. All streaming revenues effectively go into one big content pot, and artists’ royalties are allocated according to the overall market share of artists on the platform. This favors a small number of major international artists and acts.

New legislation and collaborative projects involving companies and civil society organizations, which benefit artists without hindering their presence on platforms, are needed to guarantee the viability of artists around the world. 

The social security net for artists in Mongolia was already inadequate but the pandemic has exposed just how vulnerable workers in the cultural and creative sectors are. Public expenditure worldwide in the creative industries declined in the years preceding the Covid-19 pandemic, which in turn, led to an unprecedented collapse in income and employment in the sector, magnifying the already precarious working conditions of many artists and cultural professionals.

No measures are being taken to protect and support cultural workers in Mongolia. There is no real protection for them, no equal distribution of financial support, and no minimum wage.


Echoes of the Cold War
Tuesday, February 15, 2022
Echoes of the Cold War

Maleeha Lodhi, former ambassador of Pakistan to the US, UK and UN, in Dawn (February 14, 2022)

Summary by Alejandro Reyes (Photo credit: Foreign Ministry of the People’s Republic of China)

Echoes of the Cold War

As saber rattling continues in the crisis over Ukraine, shifting geopolitics have pushed Russia and China into closer alignment while exposing differences within the Western coalition on how to respond. It has further intensified East-West polarization and sent tensions soaring to a new high amid US warnings that Russia might invade Ukraine. 

The stand-off between US-led North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) countries and Russia is widely seen to be about the balance of power and security architecture in Europe. President Vladimir Putin, who has witnessed several waves of NATO’s eastward expansion, has now drawn a red line insisting on a halt to more expansion. He regards this as a threat to Russia’s security and intrusion into its “sphere of influence”. 

What this crisis has done is bring Moscow and Beijing into a tighter embrace which some Western analysts are now describing as a China-Russia axis. The meeting between President Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the Winter Olympics in Beijing concluded with a strong expression of solidarity and resolve to mount a united front against the US.

Although the crisis is still playing out it has been marked by echoes of the Cold War. The stand-off also reinforces the overarching global dynamic of growing East-West mistrust and confrontation while holding out the prospect of a world increasingly riven into two competing blocs.


Better to Sit on the Fence on the Ukraine Issue
Tuesday, February 15, 2022
Better to Sit on the Fence on the Ukraine Issue

Sanjaya Baru, commentator and media advisor to the prime minister of India from 2004 to 2008, in The Times of India (February 15, 2022)

Summary by Alejandro Reyes (Photo credit: Embassy of India, Ukraine)

Better to Sit on the Fence on the Ukraine Issue

India’s decision to refrain from commenting on the Ukraine issue at the Quad foreign ministers’ meeting in Australia should come as no surprise. It is in keeping with the stance it adopted at the United Nations Security Council when it abstained on a vote on the issue and advised all parties to find a solution. This is an adequate and appropriate stand for India to take. 

The sudden rise in tensions between the United States and its transatlantic allies, on the one hand, and the recharged China-Russia alliance, on the other, has spawned many columns in the media on India’s neutral stance. Many enthusiastic advocates of closer India-US relations have been suggesting that the Russia-China alliance and the East-West confrontation are reducing diplomatic space for India and that we will have to move even closer to the US. Some international relations scholars have argued that India cannot hold on to this neutral stand for long and will have to take sides.

This view is blind both to Indian history and strategic thinking. Successive governments in India, from Jawaharlal Nehru’s to Narendra Modi’s, have repeatedly asserted India’s right to adopt an independent stand based on its national interests, without aligning itself with any particular military bloc unless this was necessitated by national interest. 

India’s independent voice in international affairs is a manifestation of her national self-image and no political leader, however favorably disposed to one bloc or another, can go against this grain of Indian nationalism. There is no denying that the US-India relationship is the most consequential relationship for India. Yet, India has no reason to favor the return to a “unipolar” world in which the US vanquishes Russia and China and reasserts its dominance over Europe and Asia. Rather, a multipolar balance of power system is a better option.


Make Tet – the Lunar New Year - a Global Celebration of Our Culture
Monday, February 14, 2022
Make Tet – the Lunar New Year - a Global Celebration of Our Culture

Phan Thuy Thanh, diplomat, in VN Express (January 31, 2022)

Summary by Alejandro Reyes (Photo credit: Trieu Nhat Le / Shutterstock.com)

Make Tet – the Lunar New Year - a Global Celebration of Our Culture

Many Europeans refer to the Lunar New Year Festival as the "Chinese New Year". Not many know that Tet is uniquely Vietnamese. We should change this. Promoting culture is not a competition, but more people should know about our country's Tet celebrations. It is such an integral part of Vietnamese culture and a great opportunity to highlight our country on the global stage. 

When I was ambassador to the EU, every time our embassy organized Tet events overseas, instead of mere parties, we opted for something a bit more comprehensive. We placed more emphasis on the word "Tet" as Vietnam’s unique variation of the Lunar New Year Festival, wanting people to remember and recognize the name as a distinctly Vietnamese event.

Brussels, as an international center in Europe, is famous for its festivals. While some people came to our Tet event to satisfy their curiosity at first, they soon became regulars. Soon, in the days leading to it, people began referring to "the Vietnamese Festival," and it attracted people from across Europe who came to enjoy Vietnamese food and cultural performances.

Gradually but certainly, Vietnamese Tet gained a footprint in Belgium. Every year our event was covered by the local news media. This is just a small story for me to tell as a diplomat. Vietnam has many more stories to tell the world. Tet is a small but significant one.

So, this Tet, bring along a foreigner friend to your home for a celebration. We can all become ambassadors and diplomats of our country by treasuring and sharing our values with the world. Tet is great way to start heightening awareness and appreciation of Vietnamese culture.


RCEP and CPTPP: Take on China to Shape the Regional Order
Wednesday, February 9, 2022
RCEP and CPTPP: Take on China to Shape the Regional Order

Endo Ken, Professor, Graduate School of Public Policy, Hokkaido University, in The Mainichi (February 4, 2022)

Summary by Alejandro Reyes (Photo credit: Foreign Ministry of the People’s Republic of China)

RCEP and CPTPP: Take on China to Shape the Regional Order

The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement has come into effect. Now is the time for Japan to reconsider its risks and opportunities. Japan's national interest is to maintain a mutually beneficial relationship with China without alienating the US, Tokyo's ally. RCEP is a platform to pursue this interest. 

This is where the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) comes in. In this context, the CPTPP can be positioned as an additional framework of a higher order. China, which applied to join the CPTPP, has for the first time in a long time put itself in the position of being a "demandeur". This is not bad for Japan. After all, Japan is the leader of the CPTPP and has veto power as a current member so it has little to lose even if China does not join.

There is room for Japan and the rest of the world to take advantage of this opportunity to correct and mitigate the China problem. Tokyo should take this opportunity to move to prevent China from unilaterally deviating from universal rules. During the past decade or so, China has baffled many countries with its coercive economic diplomacy. In light of China's tendencies, this is a difficult enough task on its own, but it is also important to work to bring some relief to political and military matters as well. 

In urging a gradual reduction in the establishment of military bases, the flying of military aircraft, and the intrusion of (armed) fishermen and public vessels into politically disputed areas, it would do no harm to bring up the CPTPP membership application. To use a cold-hearted metaphor, take as much as you can before you let them into the room, and if the tactic does not work, let them stand in the hallway forever.