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  • Author: Zena Grecni
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: A network of sustained assessment specialists created within the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Regional Integrated Sciences and Assessments (NOAA RISA) program present five case studies of successful local responses to climate change that are supported by scientific information. Based in three regions—the U.S. Pacific Islands, the South Central United States, and the Rocky Mountain West—the case studies in this report feature local managers who are providing and applying climate information, with valuable outcomes, across a range of geographic scales and sectors. They include improving local climate-adaptation efforts in San Angelo, Texas, enhancing the resilience of iconic coastal ecosystems on Hawai‘i Island, managing water in the Colorado River Conservation District, increasing conservation resilience in the southern Great Plains, and using El Niño forecasts to plan for drought in the Pacific Islands. The case studies provide new insights, which are summarized as five practical lessons for anyone seeking to better integrate climate considerations into decision-making.
  • Topic: Environment, International Affairs, Global Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Wenhong Chen
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: Artificial Intelligence (AI), Big Data, and Cloud Computing (ABC) have generated unprecedented opportunities and challenges for economic competitiveness, national security, and law and order, as well as the future of work. ABC policies and practices have become contentious issues in U.S.-China bilateral relations. Pundits see a U.S.-China AI race and are already debating which country will win. Kaifu Lee, the CEO of Sinovation Ventures, believes that China will exceed the United States in AI in about five years. Others argue that China will never catch up. This essay focuses on two issues: the comparative ABC strengths of the United States and China in data and research and development (R&D); and the emerging ABC policies and practices in the two nations. Empirical analysis suggests that the United States and China lead in different areas. Compared to China’s top-down, whole-of-government, national- strategy approach, the U.S. ABC policy has been less articulated but is evolving.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Dhenghua Zhang
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: The current trade war between China and the United States has drawn global attention to competition in U.S.-China relations. Such competition should not, however, obscure areas of mutual interest where cooperation is possible. Based on U.S.-China trilateral pilot projects, trilateral cooperation creates opportunities for aid officials and practitioners from China and the United States to communicate, but it would be ambitious to expect the limited number of pilot projects to shape Chinese aid practices or improve Chinese aid performances in the short term. These pilot projects are small in scale, and the level of coordination between China and the United States should be strengthened further. More effort by both sides is needed if trilateral aid cooperation is to sustain and even thrive. In this context, trilateral aid cooperation has the potential to become a modality in the middle, promoting mutual understanding and facilitating coordination.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Dhenghua Zhang
  • Publication Date: 08-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: On July 14, newly re-elected Indonesian incumbent President Joko ‘Jokowi’ Widodo delivered a speech on his visions for the second term, set to kick off in October 2019. The president’s speech did not touch upon foreign policy, a subject many have claimed to be his weakness. Expectedly, Jokowi focused his speech on infrastructure and economy — which reflects the administration’s main concerns since he first assumed presidential office in 2014. This does not mean, however, that Indonesia under Jokowi has been neglecting foreign affairs.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Sujata Ashwarya
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: Oil and gas trade is emerging as a new area of engagement between India and the United States against the backdrop of increasingly complementary interests. The emergence of the United States as the world’s top oil and gas producer in the last few years dovetails perfectly with India’s energy-deficient status and growing demand. With high rates of economic growth and over 17 percent of the world’s population, India’s energy consumption growth is largely fed by foreign imports of fossil fuels.
  • Topic: International Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Fan Lulu
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: Taobao is the leading Chinese online shopping and e-commerce website, founded by the Alibaba Group. In 2018, there were 3,202 "Taobao villages" in 24 provinces, municipalities, and autonomous regions of China. Taobao merchants sell clothing and other consumer items, mostly obtained from small local factories. Most Taobao manufacturing firms operate informally and do not necessarily adhere to basic labor and safety standards. The current lack of governance raises challenges for trade unions and government entities tasked with ensuring the rights and welfare of workers. If the negative aspects related to lack of oversight can be addressed, however, Taobao villages could provide a promising development model for rural and remote areas, not only in China but also in other countries of Asia.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Rebecca Strating
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: Over the past five years, Australia has expressed concern over China’s island building, militarization of land features, and excessive maritime claims in the South China Sea (SCS). Australia shares similar interests with the United States in upholding the maritime rules-based order, yet there are important divergences that reflect differing perspectives on geostrategic competition in the Indo-Pacific. While bipartisan support for the U.S. alliance remains strong, the importance of protecting trade relations with China has also shaped Canberra’s response to the SCS disputes.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: N Janardhan
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: Following five years of periodic controversies and criticism – some factual, others contrived – President Xi Jinping used the Belt and Road (BRI) Forum in April to set the agenda for the next five years of his hallmark project. At the forum’s second edition, meant to promote a “stronger partnership network,” the Chinese leader pledged to “clean up,” stressed “zero tolerance” to corruption, and emphasized readiness to adopt “internationally acceptable” standards in the bidding process of BRI projects in the future. This language indicates Beijing’s openness to constructive criticism and willingness to objectively tweak some inherent weaknesses in the strategy and implementation mechanisms for the BRI during the 2013-2018 period. It also sets the stage for the start of “BRI 2.0,” where the stress is likely to be on the qualitative, rather than just quantitative, attributes. The following are some analytical pointers on how BRI 2.0 is likely to be different from version 1.0, especially keeping in mind what Chinese Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi referred to as a “high-quality” shift from “big freehand” to “fine brushwork” in planning BRI’s future projects
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Ranjan K. Panda
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: India-China relations witnessed a new wave of optimism for a progressive and engaging partnership following the Wuhan Summit, the informal 2018 meeting between Narendra Modi and Xi Jinping. Key to this has been continuous exchange of political and official visits from both sides. However, these exchanges might not be sufficient to remove uncertainty and suspicion from their relations. As long as China’s relationship with the United States remains adversarial, China will embrace India—without guaranteeing that it will not adopt a confrontational posture in the future. Their shifting relations, though suggesting an official longing for an upward trajectory, are based on a compromised context. External circumstances have pushed them to rapprochement, but could also drive them apart. Whether India and China will sustain this rapprochement is difficult to foresee.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Raymond Yamamoto
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) proposed by President Xi Jinping in 2013 is among the most ambitious global visions promoted by one country. The general goal of BRI is the provision of economic infrastructure worth at least $1 trillion to improve the land and sea routes between Asia, Africa, and Europe. In order to attract additional international investments to finance the initiative, China even created a multilateral bank – the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) — in 2015. However, China’s ambitious BRI strategy has met considerable criticism from politicians and policy-makers, journalists, analysts, and scholars. These criticisms include accusations of pursuing debt-trap diplomacy to gain concessions from countries participating in BRI. The decision of Sri Lanka in 2018 to lease Hambantota port to China in order to reduce its BRI debt burden is often cited as a prime example. Together with growing Chinese military strength and assertiveness in the South and East China Seas, BRI is being framed as an instrument deployed by China to build up its global dominance.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: China