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  • Author: Malcolm Cook
  • Publication Date: 01-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Lowy Institute for International Policy
  • Abstract: Northeast Asia is one of the most important crucibles of global economic and strategic change, and it is far from a stable one. The modern histories of China, Japan and South Korea were forged by Japan's colonisation of China and Korea and the Korean War that divided the peninsula and saw China on the side of North Korea and Japan on the side of South Korea. This recent history has left the bilateral relations on each side of this turbulent triangle strained by a lack of trust, popular antipathy and unresolved territorial disputes. As noted in the project's Beijing workshop, the stalled trilateral free trade agreement negotiations between the three Northeast Asian neighbours, launched with great hope in 1997, have been the victim of this turbulence and strain.
  • Topic: International Relations, Economics, Human Rights, Bilateral Relations, Territorial Disputes
  • Political Geography: Japan, China, Asia, North America
  • Author: Nick Holdstock
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre
  • Abstract: On March 1st 2014 a knife-wielding group of ten people attacked passengers and passers-by in the railway station in Kunming, capital of China's south-western Yunnan province. Twenty-eight were killed and 113 injured. By the following day the government was describing the incident as a "separatist" attack perpetrated by "terrorists from Xinjiang". The attack in Kunming is the latest in a series of violent incidents in China that the government attributes to radical Islamist organisations that aim to promote what it calls the "Three Evils" of "terrorism, separatism and religious extremism". These acts have predominantly occurred in China's far western Xinjiang region, most recently in January and February 2014. Incidents in other parts of China have been attributed to the same forces.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Communism, Economics, Human Rights, Islam
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Chris Alden
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre
  • Abstract: China is on course to becoming more deeply involved in Africa's security landscape. While the motivation behind Chinese involvement remains primarily economic, the growing exposure of its interests to the vagaries of African politics, as well as pressures to demonstrate greater global activism, are bringing about a reconsideration of Beijing's approach to the continent. China faces threats on three fronts to its standing in Africa: reputational risks derived from its assocation with certain governments; risks to its business interests posed by mecurial leaders and weak regulatory regimes; and risks faced by its citizens operating in unstable African environments. Addressing these concerns poses challenges for Beijing, whose desire to play a larger role in security often clashes with the complexities of doing so while preserving Chinese foreign policy principles and economic interests on the continent.
  • Topic: Economics, Human Rights, International Trade and Finance, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: Africa, China, Asia
  • Author: Elling N. Tjønneland
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre
  • Abstract: Much has been written about the role of the rising or emerging powers and their accelerating economic engagement in Africa. Much less is known about how they contribute to or impact on the African peace and security agenda. This report takes a comparative look at the roles of China, India, Brazil and South African in relation to the African Union and its African Peace and Security Architecture. Each of these four countries has a distinct commercial and corporate approach to Africa, despite a shared political commitment to South-South cooperation. However, as they extend their economic engagement they are becoming more sensitive to insecurity and volatility. The Asian and Latin American countries, which traditionally have strongly emphasised non-intervention, are gradually becoming more involved in the African security agenda. They are increasingly concerned about their image and reputation and the security of their citizens and business interests, and are becoming more prepared to act multilaterally and to work with others in facilitating security and stability. As an African power, South Africa plays a more direct role and has emerged as a major architect of the continent's evolving peace and security architecture. This report summarises elements from a broader research project on rising powers and the African peace and security agenda undertaken by CMI in cooperation with NOREF.
  • Topic: Economics, Human Rights, International Cooperation, Regional Cooperation, International Security
  • Political Geography: Africa, India, Asia, South Africa, Brazil, Latin America
  • Author: Young-Chul Kim, Young-Joon Kim, Glenn C. Loury
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Watson Institute for International Studies, Brown University
  • Abstract: As private education becomes widespread over the last decade in South Korea, the education gap among regions and social classes, noticeably widens. The recent global financial crisis exacerbates the problem as the rich continues to utilize more private education while the poor utilizes it less. For the first time, we confirm the widening gap in academic achievement and college admission in recent years by using source materials on Korea's College Scholastic Ability Test (CSAT) and students admitted to Seoul National University (SNU). We also present a simple theory that suggests as the influence of socioeconomic background and educational environment on the entrance exam score rises over that of innate talents, labor productivity of overall society appears to decline. Controlling for student talent by using the scholastic ranking of the 2nd year of middle school, we show that the socioeconomic status and learning environment exert a considerable influence on all college admissions criteria in this country. Finally, we discuss the importance of voluntary efforts by universities for expanding equal opportunity in higher education, as well as the government's response to the growing gap in college admissions.
  • Topic: Education, Governance
  • Political Geography: Asia, South Korea
  • Author: Wai-Mun Chia, Pradumna B. Rana
  • Publication Date: 05-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: S.Rajaratnam School of International Studies
  • Abstract: This paper argues that contrary to popular belief, in the bygone era, there was not one but two Silk Roads in Asia - the Northern and the less well-known South-western Silk Road (SSR). The SSR connected South/Central Asia with southern China and present day Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). After enjoying a rich history of around 1,600 years, the Silk Roads went into disrepair. Now, for various economic, security, and political reasons, land connectivity is once again making a comeback in Asia. These include the (i) "Go West" and the recent "New Silk Roads" policies of China; (ii) "Look East" policies of South Asia; (iii) opening of Myanmar, a node between South Asia and East Asia; and (iv) growing importance of supply-chain trade. The focus has, however, been mainly on reviving the Northern Silk Road with relatively few actions being initiated to revive the SSR. Mirroring the on-going efforts in the Greater Mekong Sub-region and the Central Asian region, this paper proposes four economic corridors for Pan-Asian connectivity that is to connect South/Central Asia with southern China and ASEAN. The paper argues that the revival of land connectivity in Asia is making Maritime Asia of the past, more continental-based. One implication is that regional institutions focusing solely on Maritime Asia, such as the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), may be losing some of their relevance vis-à-vis say the more continental-based China-led Shanghai Cooperation Organization. The other is that the influence of the West in Asia's security may be declining relative to that of China, India, and Russia.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Regional Cooperation
  • Political Geography: South Asia, Central Asia, Asia
  • Author: Alex S. Forster
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: North Korea is an extremely isolated and impoverished nation. While its political elites are able to enjoy some degree of luxury in spite of UN sanctions, the lower classes suffer from shortages of food, electricity, healthcare, and other basic needs. Many of the lower class and fringe populations reside in rural areas with limited infrastructure, and rely on black markets to survive. Their situation could be dramatically improved if electricity could be provided to their communities to power heating, health clinics, manufacturing facilities, fertilizer plants, and water pumps for agricultural irrigation.
  • Topic: Health, Food, Sanctions
  • Political Geography: Asia, United Nations
  • Author: Rohinton Medhora, David Malone
  • Publication Date: 05-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: The familiar world of international organizations principally devoted to development has been upended by two phenomena. First is the emergence of sustained economic success in the developing world (mostly in Asia, but increasingly also in Africa and, in a less spectacular way, Latin America) amid compelling, continuing need among the world's poor. Second, the slow-moving, serious financial and economic crisis of the industrialized world since 2008 has reordered priorities in many of their capitals toward domestic spending and away from costly international projects.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, International Cooperation, International Organization, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Africa, Asia, United Nations, Latin America
  • Publication Date: 05-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Myanmar's first census in over 30 years, an ambitious project conducted in April 2014 with technical advice from the UN and significant funding from bilateral donors, has proved to be highly controversial and deeply divisive. A process that was largely blind to the political and conflict risks has inflamed ethnic and religious tensions in this diverse country. The release of the inevitably controversial results in the coming months will have to be handled with great sensitivity if further dangers are to be minimised.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Ethnic Conflict, Governance
  • Political Geography: Asia, Myanmar
  • Author: Hui Zhang, Tuosheng Zhang
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the threat of nuclear terrorism has become one of the most significant challenges to international security. China has worked to meet this challenge, but a continuing effort is needed. The 2010 and 2012 Nuclear Security Summits raised the issues of nuclear security to a higher political level and enhanced international consensus on the danger of nuclear terrorism. China actively participated in the first two summits, and President Xi Jinping will participate in the Nuclear Security Summit in the Netherlands in March 2014. China's commitment to nuclear security is now well established. Former president Hu Jintao emphasized in 2012 that, "the threat of nuclear terrorism cannot be overlooked." Meeting that threat, as President Hu recognized, "is a long and arduous task."
  • Topic: Arms Control and Proliferation, Nuclear Weapons, Terrorism, Border Control
  • Political Geography: China, Asia