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  • Author: Valerie Niquet
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Japan Institute Of International Affairs (JIIA)
  • Abstract: China plays a significant role in Africa, particularly in Ethiopia, where the current Director-General of the WHO was Minister of Health and then Minister of Foreign Affairs. This opaque influence and the support given by Beijing to Dr. Tedros seems to have weighed on the positions taken by the WHO in the face of the Covid 19 crisis. The consequences of these decisions are now being felt worldwide and contribute to undermining the credibility of a fragile multilateral system.
  • Topic: International Relations, Diplomacy, United Nations, World Health Organization, Multilateralism, Soft Power, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Africa, China, Asia
  • Author: Monika Chansoria
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Japan Institute Of International Affairs (JIIA)
  • Abstract: South China Sea’s territorial disputes gained the spotlight yet again with the April 18, 2020 announcement1 by China’s State Council, through which, it approved setting up ‘two new’ municipal districts (dependencies of the southernmost Sansha city, in the Hainan province) covering the South China Sea – namely the ‘Xisha District’ and ‘Nansha District’. Home to an estimated 11 billion barrels of untapped oil, and 190 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea possess rich natural resources and fishing areas. The Fiery Cross Reef will be in charge of the administration of the islands, reefs, and sea areas of the Spratly Islands.2 The Fiery Cross Reef used to be an underwater reef that was converted into an artificial island following massive land reclamation undertaken by China. This reef was virtually untouched by manmade structures until March 2014 and was transformed into an artificial island in the span of one year by March 2015. Furthermore, the Woody Island will be in charge of the administration of the islands, reef, and sea areas of the Paracel Islands.3 China’s Ministry of Civil Affairs and the Ministry of Natural Resources has released the longitudes, latitudes, and standardized names of 25 islands and reefs and 55 undersea geographic entities in the disputed South China Sea. The listed islands include Sanzhizai – an islet north of the Woody Island in Sansha city in South China’s Hainan Province.
  • Topic: Territorial Disputes, Geopolitics, Arbitration
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, Philippines, South China Sea
  • Author: Thomas S. Wilkins
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Japan Institute Of International Affairs (JIIA)
  • Abstract: The spread of the novel Corona Virus COVID-19 from the Chinese province of Hebei across the world has resulted in a global pandemic of catastrophic proportions. Certain countries have been affected more severely than others, and there have been glaring disparities in how national governments have responded to the outbreak. In addition to the global death toll of 400,000 (and counting), the industrial and financial disruption has been severe, with the Asian Development Bank estimating the loss to the global economy at between USD$ 5.8-8.8 trillion.1 To overcome the current crisis, and work toward a vaccine, global solidarity, including cooperation through multilateral organizations like the World Heath Organization (WHO), is desperately needed.
  • Topic: Health, Bilateral Relations, Geopolitics, Economy, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: China, Australia, Asia-Pacific
  • Author: Monika Chansoria
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Japan Institute Of International Affairs (JIIA)
  • Abstract: Following his arrival and getting adjusted in Lhasa in March 1901, Japanese Buddhist explorer, Ekai Kawaguchi began familiarizing himself with the life and times of 20th century Tibet. Kawaguchi embarked upon his destination, Tibet, in June 1897 when he left Japan. Arriving in Lhasa nearly four years thereafter, in 1901, Kawaguchi was prepared for the challenges in store, though unaware of the scale of their manifestation. There was a sense of relief though, that he had been able to overcome perhaps the most arduous part of his journey, which was reaching this wearisome and forbidden land whilst being in disguise all through.
  • Topic: History, Conflict
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, Nepal
  • Author: Hideshi Tokuchi
  • Publication Date: 02-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Japan Institute Of International Affairs (JIIA)
  • Abstract: It is almost a cliché that Australia and New Zealand are canaries in the coal mine for Chinese attempts at exerting political influence. In fact, Chinese influence is not a topic that affects just Oceania. It is already a serious challenge that confronts all democracies and open societies. According to Clive Hamilton’s “Silent Invasion,” a Chinese diplomat who sought political asylum in Australia told Hamilton that Australia’s openness, relatively small population, a large number of Chinese immigrants and commitment to multiculturalism have weakened Australia’s capacity to recognize and defend against the Chinese infiltration, but all democracies and open societies are susceptible to the threat
  • Topic: Authoritarianism, Geopolitics, Foreign Interference
  • Political Geography: Japan, China, Asia