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  • Author: Kerry Brown
  • Publication Date: 03-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: Over the last two decades, as Mainland China has been developing and liberalizing its economy, Taiwan has been undergoing an equally remarkable but very different political transformation, from martial law in 1987 to its current status as one of the most vibrant, stable democracies in Asia. Despite its eventful experience of the democratization process, the parliamentary and presidential elections in 2008 proved that Taiwan is now a mature, and stable, democracy. It has passed the ultimate test, seeing the successful transition of rule from one party to another and back again, without social turmoil. Economic performance over the same period has been less striking. Once among the fastestgrowing economies, Taiwan is now afflicted by a relatively low growth rate, and problems over the outflow of capital and investment to the Mainland. The potential for conflict over cross-straits relations remains but it has been significantly reduced under President Ma and by the Mainland Chinese government's greater accommodation with a democratic Taiwan in the last decade. The risk of a military conflict between the two sides, which could drag in the US, and therefore the rest of the world, cannot be entirely discounted, however. Taiwan's greatest challenges in the next decade remain the same as in the last – to maintain its identity, to develop its democratic system, and to handle relations with the Mainland in a way that preserves its interests while avoiding conflict. Taiwan's system, which has so far proved itself robust and effective, faces a new challenge too: how to benefit from the increase in Mainland investment abroad.
  • Topic: Democratization, Economics, Markets
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Israel, Taiwan, Asia
  • Author: Daniel Litvin
  • Publication Date: 03-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: In the United States, European Union and Asia, fears about dependence on oil and gas imports from unstable regions have become a major theme of political debate. This paper provides a high-level and historical perspective on this complex issue. Dependence on oil and gas imports raises real economic- and political-security issues for many countries. Neither the global economic crisis nor climate change policies - both of which look set to restrain oil and gas demand - will solve the problem entirely. In fact, over the next few decades it is likely to become worse.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy, Oil
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Asia
  • Author: Roderick Abbott
  • Publication Date: 07-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: In an important shift, inspired partly by drift in the Doha Round negotiations, the EU announced in 2006 that it would seek new free trade area arrangements with fast-growing economies, particularly in Asia. The plan, which ended a moratorium on the launch of bilateral trade talks, in place since 1996, was billed explicitly as a contribution to the EU's own growth and jobs strategy as well as a market-opening exercise. However, the policy has so far been no more effective than multilateral negotiations in producing concrete results. Negotiations with South Korea and ASEAN have made only slow progress, while the state of talks with India remains unclear. The EU spent most of 2007 renegotiating long-standing agreements with African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries in an effort to satisfy WTO rules. Meanwhile, the EU's partnership agreements with China and Russia have expired, and appropriate successor arrangements are still being sought. In both cases, a number of important bilateral problems and strains will need to be dealt with. With its various trade negotiations treading water, the EU may need to review its options. One could be a more aggressive pursuit of market access, modelled on the US approach. Alternatively, the EU's traditional preference for multilateral engagement may reassert itself.
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Africa, Russia, China, Europe, Asia, South Korea, Caribbean
  • Author: Jim Rollo
  • Publication Date: 05-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: Both Korea and the EU are pursuing free trade areas (FTAs) aggressively as part of their trade policy strategies. Korea is much further down the road. There are strong incentives on both sides to conclude an agreement. However, specific issues and EU's desire to do at least as well as, and preferably better than, the Korea–US FTA may delay or even preclude success. Korea and the EU are not principal suppliers to each other, so while an agreement is predicted to be economically favourable to both sides, the effects are not expected to be very large. Korea has the higher barriers and is expected to make the bigger economic gains. There are sensitive sectors on both sides, notably automobiles for the EU and services and processed foods for Korea. Both sides have important agricultural constituencies to protect. Korea's key role in the East Asian production system suggests that rules of origin could be an area of particular difficulty in the negotiation.
  • Topic: Agriculture, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, East Asia, Asia, South Korea
  • Author: Mike Smith, Nicholas Khoo
  • Publication Date: 06-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: Since the end of the Second World War, US foreign policy towards the Asia-Pacific has been characterized by the assertion of American dominance. To this end, policy-makers in Washington have adopted a varied policy towards China. From 1950 to 1972, the US pursued a containment policy designed to thwart the revolutionary goals of Maoist foreign policy. Beginning with Nixon's rapprochement with Beijing in 1972, US policy was dramatically altered to meet the overriding goal of deterring the Soviet threat. The US and China actively cooperated to contain Soviet and Vietnamese influence in Northeast and Southeast Asia. The end of the Cold War, preceded shortly before by the Tiananmen massacre, saw another shift in the US position, whereby China was no longer looked upon with favour in Washington. Acting on his presidential campaign promises not to repeat George Bush Senior's policy of 'coddling dictators'in Beijing, President Clinton initially enacted a policy that explicitly linked China's human rights record to the renewal of most favoured- nation trade status with the US. When this linkage failed, a striking policy reversal occurred as the Clinton administration adopted an unrestrained engagement policy in which it eventually underplayed Sino-US differences in the spheres of trade, human rights, and strategic-military ties.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: United States, China, America, Washington, Beijing, Asia
  • Author: Stuart Horsman
  • Publication Date: 01-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: The summer of 2000 witnessed a drought that decimated crops throughout Central Asia. Previously, Kazakhstan's President Nursultan Nazarbayev raised the spectre of water-inspired insecurity in Central Asia, and in March an OSCE delegation visited the Central Asian republics to discuss water management issues.
  • Topic: Security, Environment, Science and Technology
  • Political Geography: Kazakhstan, Asia
  • Author: Tim Forsyth
  • Publication Date: 10-1998
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: This workshop was arranged by the RIIA under the sponsorship of the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO) of Japan to explore ways of increasing international investment in renewable energy technology in Asia. Enhancing renewable energy investment is clearly relevant to global strategies to mitigate climate change. However, the two debates on climate change policy and renewable energy investment have largely remained separate, and characterized by tendencies to discuss large-scale global flows of energy and investment on the one hand, and local development-oriented practice on the other. The workshop attempted to integrate these two debates, and therefore form part of a growing body of knowledge to inform the current climate change negotiations with practical options available to small and large businesses. The workshop had three main aims: to identify the implications of the Kyoto Protocol for international renewable energy investment; to define technology transfer and identify how it may be increased for renewable energy in South and Southeast Asia; to assess what public and private forms of finance could be sought to ensure the success of renewable energy businesses in South and Southeast Asia. The workshop was attended by some 30 industrialists, financiers and renewable energy specialists from around the world. This paper is a summary of the proceedings. In order to encourage frank exchange, the workshop was held under Chatham House Rule of confidentiality and anonymity, so individual speakers are not named.
  • Topic: Energy Policy, Environment, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Asia