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  • Author: Margareth Sembiring
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies
  • Abstract: International garbage disputes are rare. Lately, however, the world witnesses waves of newsworthy trash saga. From the Philippines shipping containers of rubbish back to Canada, to Malaysia planning to return tons of garbage back to countries of origin, to China’s near-total ban of plastic waste import, it is hard not to wonder whether this is a real sign of rising environmentalism. Have countries begun to think that the environment is worthy of a similar priority as the economy? This Insight argues that behind the seemingly growing pro-environment attitudes, it still remains to be seen whether this trend is sustainable in the long run. Considering that the global waste trade is a multi-billion dollar industry, the balance may tip to favour the economic activities again once the dust has settled back. The paper first looks at a brief description of the global waste trade industry. It then discusses some of the contemporary development in the global waste industry particularly on the issues of waste smuggling and China’s plastic waste import ban. It describes related experiences in Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, the Philippines and Thailand.
  • Topic: Security, Environment, Economy, Trade, Waste
  • Political Geography: China, Malaysia, Canada, Philippines, Southeast Asia, Global Focus
  • Author: Julius Caesar Trajano
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies
  • Abstract: The Philippines and China signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in Cooperation on Oil and Gas Development, demonstrating their willingness to explore joint development as a pathway to collaboration, notwithstanding their territorial disputes. Recent commentaries on joint development are mostly framed on legal challenges, South China Sea (SCS) rows, geopolitics, and state-centric security issues. However, there have been no extensive discussions on the potential contributions from non-state stakeholders that can make joint development agreements environmentally sound, sustainable, and less political. These stakeholders are the oil companies, fishermen and coastal communities. In this regard, this NTS Insight explores potential roles of these stakeholders in promoting joint initiatives to share and develop resources in the SCS. It argues that the engagement and participation of non-state stakeholders in resource sharing and joint management must be pursued to address key non-traditional security challenges in the SCS. It also examines mechanisms to integrate marine environmental protection and sustainable fishing management into joint development agreements.
  • Topic: Security, Development, Treaties and Agreements, Bilateral Relations, Territorial Disputes
  • Political Geography: China, Philippines, Southeast Asia, South China Sea
  • Author: Rajesh Basrur
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies
  • Abstract: The Cold War debate between Albert Wohlstetter and Patrick Blackett over the requirements of effective deterrence is of profound relevance half a century later. The two thinkers offered systematic arguments for their maximalist (Wohlstetter) and minimalist (Blackett) positions. How we conceive of these requirements shapes the kinds of nuclear weapons doctrines, forces and postures we adopt. Whereas the Wohlstetter-Blackett debate was based largely on deductive logic, the opposing arguments can today be assessed on the basis of evidence drawing from nearly seven decades of strategic behaviour between nuclear rivals. An analysis of major confrontations in five nuclear dyads – United States-Soviet Union, United States-China, Soviet Union-China, India-Pakistan, and United States-North Korea – clearly offers much stronger support for Blackett?s minimalist case than for Wohlstetter?s maximalist one. Effective deterrence does not require second-strike capability as defined by Wohlstetter and the nuclear balance has no effect on a state?s capacity to deter. Consequently, the central tenets of orthodox nuclear deterrence theory and doctrine are shown to be without foundation. For policymakers, the optimal forces and postures required for effective deterrence are therefore less demanding and the hurdles in the path of arms control and at least partial disarmament less difficult to cross.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Cold War, Nuclear Weapons, Weapons of Mass Destruction, Power Politics
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, United States, China, India, North Korea
  • Author: Li Jianwei
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies
  • Abstract: Although disputes in the South China Sea are in general under control since 2009, developments show that China-Philippines and China-Vietnam are two key relationships that have experienced incidents leading to fluctuating levels of tension in the South China Sea region. This study reviews the evolution of these two relationships in relation to bilateral disputes in the South China Sea and the respective approaches to managing these disputes, with emphasis on the post-2009 period. By comparing the China-Philippines and China-Vietnam approaches, it intends to analyse the differences/similarities and their implication on the management of the South China Sea disputes, as well as their bilateral relations in a broader sense.
  • Topic: Security, Bilateral Relations, Territorial Disputes
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, Vietnam, Philippines
  • Author: Kai He, Huiyun Feng
  • Publication Date: 09-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies
  • Abstract: China's assertive diplomacy in recent years has ignited intense debates among International Relations (IR) scholars. Some argue that China's assertive behavior is rooted in its perception of increasing power and capabilities. Others suggest that it is U.S. policies that triggered China's assertive reactions. Relying on an original survey of China's IR scholars conducted in Beijing in 2013 and using structural equation modeling (SEM), we empirically examine Chinese IR scholars' attitude towards Chinese power versus the United States, their perceptions of U.S. policy in Asia, and their preference for an assertive Chinese foreign policy. We find that both the power perception and policy reaction arguments make sense in accounting for Chinese IR scholars' attitude regarding China's assertive diplomacy. However, our research suggests that a more pessimistic view on Chinese power is more likely to be associated with a preference for an assertive foreign policy.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Emerging Markets
  • Political Geography: China, East Asia
  • Author: Zhang Hongzhou
  • Publication Date: 05-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies
  • Abstract: While China has achieved extraordinary economic success in the past decades, its economic structural risks have increased significantly as well. As Chinese top leaders have repeatedly emphasized, economic restructuring is a critical task facing China's economy. To restructure China's economy, the country needs to find a new engine for growth to replace the export and investment led growth model, address social inequality and protect the environment. The key approaches identified by the Chinese government include urbanization, upgrading the manufacturing sector and developing strategic industries. However, through in-depth analysis, this paper finds that the effectiveness of these measures remains in question as they fail to target at all the root causes of China's economic problems.
  • Topic: Economics, Environment, Globalization, Industrial Policy, International Trade and Finance, Social Stratification
  • Political Geography: China, Israel
  • Author: Aileen S. P. Baviera
  • Publication Date: 06-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies
  • Abstract: This paper sets out to explore the role of domestic politics in the shaping and implementing of Philippine foreign policy and its relations with China. It examines how domestic politics have driven Philippine foreign policy behaviour towards China; whether the Philippine Government has successfully managed the domestic drivers in promoting the state's interests in its relations with China, and whether there are major constraints that have prevented the attainment of more desirable outcomes in the bilateral ties. It looks at three cases: the Philippines-China joint marine seismic undertaking in the South China Sea; China's participation in the national broadband network project and a railway project; and Philippine reactions to China's execution of three Filipino drug mules.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Foreign Policy, Bilateral Relations, Narcotics Trafficking
  • Political Geography: China, Israel, Philippines
  • Author: Christopher Freise
  • Publication Date: 08-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies
  • Abstract: Much attention has been devoted to the Obama Administration's “Pacific Pivot” and the vocal reassertion of an upgraded security, economic, and diplomatic presence in East Asia by the United States. Commentators have ascribed various rationales to these efforts, including speculation that this is part of a “containment” strategy towards China, a reaction to the US presidential election cycle, or, more benignly, an effort to forestall concerns of American withdrawal from the region. These explanations have some elements of truth, but also fall short of fully describing or understanding the strategic rationale behind these moves.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Economics
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Israel, Asia
  • Author: Evelyn Goh
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies
  • Abstract: Drawing on China's relations with its relatively weak neighbours in Southeast Asia where we ought to find evidence of China getting other states to do what they otherwise would not have done, this paper asks how and how effectively China has converted its growing resources into influence over other states, their strategic choices and the outcomes of events. First, it adopts the framework of structural and relational power, further disaggregating the latter into persuasion, inducement and coercion as modes of exercising power. Second, it accounts for the reception to power by offering an analytical framework based on variations in the alignment of the extant preferences of the subjects and wielders of power, which determine the degree to which alterations are necessary as part of an exercise of power. The analysis identifies key cases particularly demonstrating three categories of Chinese power: its power as 'multiplier' when extent preferences are aligned; its power to persuade when pre-existing preferences are debated; and its power to prevail in instances of conflicting preferences. It finds that the first two categories of power have been most prevalent, while there have been very few instances where Southeast Asian states have done what they would otherwise not have done as a result of Chinese behaviour. These findings suggest that even though China's power resources have increased significantly, the way in which it has managed to convert these resources into control over outcomes is uneven.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Power Politics
  • Political Geography: China, Southeast Asia
  • Author: You Ji
  • Publication Date: 06-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies
  • Abstract: Pyongyang's adventurism during 2010 such as the Yeonyeong shelling has further complicated the already strained Sino-DPRK relations, despite closer interaction between the two countries. The biggest challenge to Beijing was to shake the foundation of China's DPRK policy, defined as maintaining the status quo by crisis aversion, with the emphasis on ad hoc guidance for immediate crisis management. Chinese analysts criticised Beijing's lack of an effective overarching strategy toward Pyongyang. Clearly its current approach of accommodation vis-à-vis Kim Jong-Il may not be sustainable. This principle not only symbolises Beijing's buffer zone mentality concerning the North's regime survival but also its difficulty in finding any feasible substitute. Beijing does see the high cost of continued support for an unpredictable neighbour.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: China, Israel, North Korea