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You searched for: Content Type Policy Brief Remove constraint Content Type: Policy Brief Publishing Institution East-West Center Remove constraint Publishing Institution: East-West Center Political Geography Asia Remove constraint Political Geography: Asia
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  • Author: Benjamin Reilly
  • Publication Date: 12-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: Democracies need both strength and flexibility—enough structure to transform a kaleidoscope of public opinion into coherent debate and effective policy, but enough openness to protect individual rights. Finding this balance is a particular challenge in ethnically diverse emerging democracies. Political parties usually serve a country best when they are limited in number, strong, and broad-based. Their evolution was once left mainly to chance; today, governments often seek to influence the process. Among those attempting reforms are Paupa New Guinea, home to hundreds of languages; Indonesia, with its separatist movements; the Philippines, experimenting with ways to balance party interests with other social concerns; and Thailand, whose once fragmented political scene seems headed toward domination by one party. Their strategies for encouraging stable party systems range from minimum-vote thresholds to efforts to stiffen internal party discipline. Much can be learned from these Asia Pacific efforts at political engineering—including the need for a cautious approach that minimizes unforeseen consequences and costs.
  • Topic: Democratization, Ethnic Conflict, Politics
  • Political Geography: Asia, Southeast Asia
  • Author: Jeffrey Brown, Kang Wu
  • Publication Date: 10-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: The Asia Pacific region's dynamic oil market is marked by strong growth in consumption, declining regional oil production, and over capacity in its highly competitive oil-refining sector. Its "key players" are China, India, Indonesia, Japan, and South Korea—a group that includes the region's five top consumers and three of its major producers—and developments in these countries will have commercial and strategic implications for the whole region. On the consumption side, Japan's slow growth in demand has failed to dampen regional growth, which is now driven by China and India's fast growing thirst for oil. On the supply side, Indonesia's inevitable transition to a net oil importer highlights the trend toward growing dependence on Middle East oil, which already comprises 42–90 percent of imports among the key players. In response to this trend, China, Japan, and South Korea are pushing to acquire overseas oil reserves, with Japan and China already locked in a fierce competition for projected Russian supplies—a type of struggle that will likely become more commonplace.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Japan, China, Indonesia, Middle East, India, Asia, South Korea
  • Author: John Ravenhill
  • Publication Date: 06-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: Western Pacific Rim states have been slow to participate in preferential trade agreements (PTAs). In the past four years, however, more than 40 PTAs involving these economies have been proposed or are being implemented. For the first time, Japan and China have either signed or are negotiating bilateral or plurilateral agreements. The new interest in PTAs reflects the perception that they have been successful in other parts of the world, and is reinforced by dissatisfaction with the region's existing trade groupings. Although arguments can be made in favor of PTAs, they amplify political considerations in trade agreements, may adversely affect the political balance in participating countries, impose costs on nonparticipants, and deplete scarce negotiating resources. Nevertheless, the number of western Pacific Rim states participating in PTAs continues to climb. Northeast Asian countries have been following Europe in exploiting loopholes in WTO rules on PTAs to protect their noncompetitive sectors, thereby strengthening their political positions, which will likely make global liberalization more difficult.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Japan, China, Asia, Australia/Pacific
  • Author: Tim Brown
  • Publication Date: 05-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: The HIV/AIDS epidemic began relatively late in Asia and, so far, HIV infections have not reached the high levels experienced in other parts of the world. Yet behaviors that increase the risk of transmitting HIV are not uncommon in many Asian societies. But there is some good news for countries facing the possibility of an HIV epidemic. Most early HIV transmission in Asia occurs in very specific groups, through needle sharing, anal sex, or sex work. Experience in Thailand and Cambodia has shown that it is possible to lower HIV transmission rates by aggressive prevention programs targeting these groups. Analysis of these programs points to policy recommendations for other Asian governments: obtain accurate information on HIV prevalence and risk behavior; target leaders for sustained commitment; provide the public with full and accurate information; move quickly to provide effective coverage of groups most at risk; sustain and expand prevention activities; convince lawmakers and local authorities to take a pragmatic approach; ensure the active involvement of key communities; and put an end to complacency.
  • Topic: Human Welfare, Science and Technology
  • Political Geography: Asia, Cambodia, Thailand
  • Author: Sam Bateman
  • Publication Date: 01-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: The 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) created new maritime law and extended maritime jurisdiction that were ex-pected to justify naval expansion. To some extent this has been so, but another trend is also apparent. Regional navies are concentrating on war-fighting capabilities while existing coast guards are being expanded and some countries are establishing coast guards for the first time. The protection of off-shore areas and resources is a central element of national security for most regional countries and an important consideration in nation building and governance. Coast Guards are emerging as important national institutions in Asia and the Pacific with the potential to make a major contribution to regional order and security. This development reflects a concern for coop-erative and comprehensive security and will facilitate regional maritime cooperation and confidence building. It is a positive factor for regional order and security and may constitute a revolution in maritime strategic thinking.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy
  • Political Geography: Asia, Australia/Pacific
  • Author: Kang Wu, Fereidun Fesharaki
  • Publication Date: 06-2002
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: The Middle East is Asia Pacific's largest energy supplier, satisfying a demand for oil that must keep pace with the region's continued economic growth. This dependence on the Middle East has caused Asia Pacific to join the United States and other Western nations in the hunt for alternative suppliers. Central Asia, located between the Middle East and Asia Pacific and already an oil and gas exporter, is an attractive possibility. With energy production projected to rise rapidly over the next decade, Central Asia is poised to become a major player in the world energy market. But the land-locked region's options for transporting oil and gas to Asia Pacific markets are limited and problematic. Passage via pipeline east through China presents construction challenges; south through Iran, or through India and Pakistan via Afghanistan, is fraught with political difficulties. Not until geopolitics become more favorable to the south-bound options, or technologies make the China route possible, will Asia Pacific be able to tap the energy resources of Central Asia.
  • Topic: Security, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan, United States, China, Iran, Middle East, Asia
  • Author: Andrew Mason, Sang-Hyop Lee, Gerard Russo
  • Publication Date: 02-2002
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: Asia, a region whose population has long been dominated by children, is seeing the proportion of its elderly rise rapidly. The U.N. projects the population 65 and older will more than quadruple by 2050, while the population under age 15 will decline. Though Asia's population is still younger than the West's, dramatic declines in childbearing and significant improvements in life expectancy are causing it to age faster. The result will be growing demand for health care, retirement systems, and old-age support — particularly if the traditional family support system continues to erode. The challenge to countries with large elderly populations and relatively under-developed economies will be especially great. Throughout Asia, population aging could slow economic growth. If governments are to meet the challenges posed by aging populations, they must start soon to adopt policies that encourage saving and investment, develop effective social and economic institutions, and find new ways to tap the productive potential of older people.
  • Topic: Religion, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Asia
  • Author: Terutomo Ozawa
  • Publication Date: 12-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: Just over a decade ago, the phenomenal economic growth of Japan was admired and even feared. It had pursued a successful strategy of industry upgrading to catch up with the West, maximizing bank-based, state-directed financing. Ironically, the very institutional setup that was required for success eventually resulted in a devastating economic downturn. Japan remains languishing in a state of economic stagnation, but that may change: market forces are now driving Japan to carry out major reforms. A market-oriented business environment is crucial, and thus Japan is being propelled toward deregulation and institutional reform. In particular, its traditionally protected, inner-dependent sector must be opened to competition in order to improve efficiency, and obstacles to direct foreign investment must be eliminated. Although the process is a gradual one that has been further hampered by the slump in the U.S. economy, dramatic changes are in motion, creating promising roles and opportunities for foreign investors as well as potential for Japan to realize a new economic vitality.
  • Topic: Religion, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Japan, Asia
  • Author: Arun R. Swamy
  • Publication Date: 10-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: The intensification of a long-standing dispute between India and Pakistan over the state of Kashmir has become the cause of international concern. The stakes for these nuclear-armed rivals are high. Each views Kashmir as the validation of its national ideology; each fears that giving it up will result in serious domestic turmoil. Moreover, each country has plausible legal arguments for its claims along with a long history of grievances. The deep differences over Kashmir that divide the two countries have so far proven intractable, and following September 11 the movement toward confrontation accelerated. There has never been a more urgent need for international attention to Kashmir. While diplomatic engagement seems necessary for a resolution of this dispute, past results indicate that simply pressuring the two sides to talk may be disastrous. In order to avoid such results, any effort to intervene in this dispute must be undertaken with an awareness of how it evolved, why it has been so difficult to resolve, and what kinds of solutions to it might realistically be pursued.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security
  • Political Geography: South Asia, Asia, Kashmir
  • Author: Harry Bhaskara, Gautam Chikermane, Unaloto Ofa Kaukimoce, Amantha R. Perera, Takeshi Yamashina
  • Publication Date: 10-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: Three weeks after the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, D.C., five journalists—from India, Fiji, Japan, Indonesia, and Sri Lanka—visiting the East-West Center on an exchange program accepted an invitation to write about the attacks and "America's War on Terrorism" from the perspective of their own country. Their responses are frank and sometimes anguished. "As global terrorism evolved into a beast out of control, America enjoyed the good life," writes a Sri Lankan. The United States has declared a war on terrorism but, an Indian asks, is it only because now "the grief pours out of American eyes"? In Japan, resentment over America's increasing "unilateralism" coexists with an unprecedented willingness to send troops overseas, says a writer for The Mainichi Newspapers. A Fijian broadcaster notes that calls for international action are accompanied by "unease over violent retaliation." The mixed emotions described by many are dramatically evident in predominantly Muslim Indonesia where, says a newspaper editor, anti-American demonstrations defied President Megawati's assurances of support for the United States.
  • Topic: Religion, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Japan, America, Indonesia, India, Asia, Sri Lanka