China’s engagement with the states of the South Pacific Ocean has accelerated in recent years. But while policymakers and academics in Australia, New Zealand and Pacific island states increasingly talk about China’s growing influence, Beijing actually operates in the region under a number of constraints and there are limits on the role it can play.
As China embraces the digital economy, subcontracting—the practice of using intermediaries to contract workers, whether through agencies or other multilayered contracting—is raising new challenges over legal protections and corporate responsibility, as well as labor unrest.
As the dust settles on the Hanoi summit, critics argue that the absence of an agreement between Trump and Kim is a sign that diplomacy between the U.S. and North Korea has failed. But even without a roadmap to denuclearization, the summit promotes important goals in these early stages: dialogue, a continued freeze on nuclear testing, and hope for a gradual lifting of economic sanctions.
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 Asia-Pacific population has been undergoing dramatic aging, which is transforming the region’s demographic landscape beyond recognition. The region is currently ill-equipped to meet this critical challenge, particularly due to a lack of sound and efficient pension systems.
Just a few years ago, the renminbi seemed destined to become one of the world’s most significant currencies. However, its attractiveness has plunged as international investors seek currencies with legal security, ease of use and, critically, unrestricted convertibility.
The Philippines, a major maritime nation, must better protect its resources and exclusive sovereign rights. The South China Sea disputes, where China has exerted increasing dominance over one of the planet’s vital waterways, have been a sorely-needed wakeup call.
The internet has taken much of the human interaction out of international trade. But many commercial buyers continue to emphasize face-to-face communication with sellers.
Air pollution has countless victims—nearly nine out of ten people across the globe breathe polluted air, according to the World Health Organization. New research suggests that it even reaches the unborn, moving from a mother’s lungs to the placenta and fetus. Not only does it cause health and economic ill-effects, but it also impacts human cognition.
China’s strategic approach to foreign policy has changed, and governments need to reorient to this new reality. A look at its actions in Africa reveals how China is employing its status as a great power on the diplomatic stage.
The United States has affirmed strategic competition with both Russia and China as the central organizing principle of its national security policy. The announcement on October 20 by President Donald Trump that the U.S. would withdraw from the 30-year-old Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty because of alleged Russian violations might be a key plank of that policy.
The free flow of labor across national borders has been one of the defining facets of globalization. In recent years, concerns over the effects of increased migration on domestic workforces have led political leaders to consider tightening borders, dramatically altering patterns of human movement. In Asia, this could reverse the brain drain.
The United States, under President Donald Trump, has found a favored target of criticism in the World Trade Organization. While there is no doubt that the W.T.O. needs urgent reform, the framework it provides—offering the certainty and predictability inherent in a rules-based system—should not be abandoned.
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.
Having built the world’s second-largest economy on the back of its mammoth manufacturing sector, China is now contending with not just environmental problems but also economic obstacles. Policies that make businesses greener can raise costs, and negative impacts on labor must be mitigated.
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.
Australia and New Zealand have long viewed the Pacific Islands as part of their sphere of influence. China’s increasing engagement in the region is now throwing that in doubt. Canberra and Wellington must reconfigure their regional strategies to be more inclusive, and recognize Pacific Island states as sovereign actors in their own right.