Since Xi Jinping ascended to the presidency, he has spearheaded a reorientation of China’s major power diplomacy. With China’s foreign policy in the spotlight during the annual meeting of its legislature, Yoshikazu Kato of the Asia Global Institute outlines his thoughts on what this diplomacy is and how it came about.
The recent impeachment and subsequent removal from office of South Korean President Park Geun-hye have revealed the extent of state-business collusion in the country. But this is far from being a solely Korean story, as it puts ties between public and private actors under the spotlight.
Anticompetitive practices are rife in the internet-enabled economy, and lawmakers have struggled to keep up. Authorities must find a balance between regulation and fostering an open, healthy environment for this economy to thrive.
Many parts of Asia are affected by high levels of air pollution. The continent is home to some of the most polluted megacities in the world, including Beijing and Shanghai in China, and Delhi and Kolkata in India. While these places suffer all year round, several countries in Southeast Asia face a unique air pollution problem that is seasonal, but no less dire.
Many maritime disputes are motivated by material factors like oil, gas, and fishing stocks. Weaker countries tend to insist on sovereignty claims, at the risk of stretching legal definitions, while those with access to resources are inclined to maintain the status quo. The Timor-Leste-Australia dispute shows how sovereign claims risk weakening the international sea regime.
Climate change means that drought is likely to scourge larger parts of the world, and more often, with serious impacts on agriculture and food supply. Drought episodes are generally tackled via ad hoc policy support measures. As the Australian case shows, such responses should be replaced with longer-term policy interventions across good and bad seasonal conditions.
China’s accession to the World Trade Organization in 2001 was greeted with great fanfare. But near silence has greeted the recent removal by the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission of caps on foreign ownership of Chinese financial institutions. For Beijing, the apparent lack of interest might be an issue of too little, too late.
The Asia-Pacific casino sector has undergone many changes in the past 15 years. The success of Macao and Singapore has encouraged other regional jurisdictions, such as Japan, to follow suit. The recent passage of Japan’s legalization bill caused heated debate across Japanese society, but stakeholders can engage the community to achieve positive outcomes.
The 2011 meltdowns at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant triggered by the Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami have caused ordinary Japanese to reevaluate their trust in the food supply. Skeptical of government assurances, consumers turned to private actors, who stepped up their regulatory efforts to fill the trust gap.
Following World War II, the global economy moved rapidly toward further integration. Now, this process has stopped, and is in fact reversing itself. With countries increasingly engaging in economic nationalism, massive changes are coming, for economies big and small.
Carbon pricing has been widely considered for the past 25 years as a useful tool to help combat climate change. Adoption has progressed, but the pace has been glacial. As the U.S. retreats from climate change leadership, China, as shown by its embrace of emissions trading, is stepping in to fill the vacuum.
In reaction to a seemingly neverending torrent of food safety scandals, an alternative food movement is growing in China. This has implications not just in the country’s food supply system, but also in domestic politics and community-building.
As Asian countries develop smart cities, residents must contend with their benefits and drawbacks. While connected systems have the potential to deliver better urban planning and conveniences, they can also introduce inequalities and undermine inclusiveness.
It is well known that air pollution is harmful to human health. What is much less known is how it specifically affects people over the long term. China’s Huai River policy, which dispensed free coal to northern China for winter heating, has inadvertently revealed to us that air pollution literally shaves years off our lives. But China has made considerable progress in confronting this pollution.
The Dongjiang River, which supplies fresh water to almost 40 million people, is being threatened by pollution. But as new technology parks increasingly replace pig farms and other decaying industries, there could be an opportunity to invent more sustainable solutions—for Guangdong province, Hong Kong, and the world.
Many of the earliest of the great civilizations on Earth were centered on life-giving rivers, such as the Yangtze and the Euphrates, the Nile and the Indus. Rivers remain crucial to modern societies, but pollution is choking the life out of them. For humanity’s sake, governments must act to counter this. The good news is that they already have the tools.