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  • Author: Peter A. Petri, Michael G. Plummer
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: ASEAN has become a focal point of the rapidly changing economic architecture of the Asia-Pacific region. ASEAN members are increasingly stable and politically confident, and constitute an emerging economic powerhouse. The region is dynamic, with 600 million citizens and a gross domestic product (GDP) that exceeds $2 trillion and is expected to grow 6 percent annually for the next two decades. (The Appendix at the end of this paper reports detailed output and trade projections to 2025.) Through deeper internal integration via the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) and external initiatives such as the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), ASEAN is becoming a driving force in regional cooperation and a much-courted economic partner. The AEC and the RCEP projects are globally significant: the AEC could generate powerful demonstration effects for other developing regions, and the RCEP could become an important building bloc of the multilateral trading system.
  • Topic: Security, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets
  • Political Geography: United States, East Asia, Asia, Asia-Pacific
  • Author: Nick Bisley
  • Publication Date: 04-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: US Assistant Secretary of State Kurt Campbell has just completed a lightning visit to Australia for formal discussions with newly installed Foreign Minister Bob Carr. In spite of the political turmoil that brought Carr to office, the Australia-US alliance is in the best shape of its 60-year history. Having begun as a Cold War convenience, about which the United States was not enthusiastic, it has become a key part of Washington's regional role and a cornerstone not only of Australia's defense and security policy, but of its broader engagement with the world. The arrival in early April of the US Marine Corps to begin six-month training rotations in Darwin is emblematic of the alliance's standing and its evolution.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, Arms Control and Proliferation, Cold War, Diplomacy, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, Washington, Asia, Australia/Pacific
  • Author: Scott Thomas Bruce
  • Publication Date: 10-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: With North Korea's tightly controlled and isolated population, the rise of information technology—specifically cell phones and an intranet—is an unprecedented development. In the last decade, a domestic intranet was launched and a cell phone network was created. Both of these form a closed, domestic system, which the regime hopes will allow for productivity gains from increased coordination and the sharing of state-approved information, while keeping out foreign influences. North Korea is now confronted with the challenge of how to reap the economic benefits of an IT system, while avoiding the social instability that may accompany it. The country has made a fundamental shift from a state that limits access to information technology to ensure the security of the regime, to one that is willing to use it as a tool, at least among a certain privileged class, to support the development of the nation. Although North Korea is stable for now, over the next decade, information technology has the potential to transform the state and it also creates a strong incentive to integrate North Korea into the dynamic economies of Northeast Asia.
  • Topic: Security, Human Rights, Communications, Governance
  • Political Geography: Israel, Asia, North Korea
  • Author: Malcolm Cook, Thomas S. Wilkins
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: The post-Cold War era in the Asia-Pacific has not witnessed the triumph of low over high politics. Rather, it has seen the simultaneous intensification of both economic integration and security cooperation and competition. This is true both at the level of the region, and for China and most other countries in the region.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, Cold War, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, China, Asia, Australia
  • Author: Kang Wu, Fereidun Fesharaki
  • Publication Date: 06-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: Energy security ranks as one of the highest-priority issues in Asia and the Pacific. The East and South Asia region is the fastest-growing oil consumer in the world, and because this region has such a small percentage of the world's oil reserves, it is the most highly dependent on oil imports of any world region. In the future, Asia will become even more dependent on imports as its energy needs expand with changing life styles and overall economic growth. Asia's increasing energy needs have important implications for energy security throughout the world, and particularly in the United States. Like Asia, the United States is a large and growing importer of crude oil and petroleum products. It is also becoming a direct competitor with the East Asian economies for imported liquefied natural gas (LNG). This volume is intended to provide Asians and Americans with the factual information they need for clear understanding, informed policy dialogue, and effective cooperation on issues related to energy security. The United States and Asia have much in common in terms of their basic energy situation. Both regions have enormous hydrocarbon reserves in the form of coal, but both must import huge quantities of liquid hydrocarbons in the forms of oil and natural gas. The United States has an economy and a life style highly dependent upon imported energy, and increasingly, so does Asia. The environmental implications of energy use are of growing concern in both regions. Both share a common stake in an assured supply of oil and natural gas, in price stability in international energy markets, in efficient and sustainable use of oil and gas products, and in the development of technologies and fuel alternatives that can alleviate energy security and environmental concerns.
  • Topic: Security, Development, Economics, Energy Policy, Oil
  • Political Geography: United States, Asia
  • Author: Elizabeth Hervey Stephen
  • Publication Date: 11-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: The South Korean military currently is the sixth-largest in the world. But years of low birth rates have resulted in declining numbers of young men available for military service, and the country now faces the pressing question of how to ensure national security in the face of inevitable troop reductions. Some options for offsetting this shrinking recruit pool (such as increasing fertility, increasing immigration, and increasing the number of women in the military) might seem obvious, but the complex economic, social, and cultural reality of South Korea make them unlikely to be embraced. The best focus for immediate action is to stabilize or increase service terms and to encourage development and implementation of high-tech security systems. While the recruit pool appears nearly adequate at present, South Korea must act quickly to develop the leaner, more diverse, and more technologically based military necessary for the country to maintain a viable military force.
  • Topic: Security
  • Political Geography: Israel, Asia, South Korea
  • Author: Kang Wu, Fereidun Fesharaki, Sidney B. Westley, Widhyawan Prawiraatmadja
  • Publication Date: 08-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: Concerns about energy security affect economic performance and political stability all over the world, but nowhere are these issues more critical than in Asia and the Pacific. Oil is at the heart of the region's energy challenge. Oil consumption is increasing nearly twice as fast in the region as in the world as a whole, while options for increasing production are severely limited. The result is a steadily growing dependence on imported oil, largely from the volatile Middle East. Apart from efforts to increase domestic production and slow consumption growth, recommendations for policymakers include initiating joint ventures with oil producers, improving the efficiency of domestic markets, building up strategic stocks, strengthening regional cooperation, reducing transportation bottlenecks, and establishing a regional market for oil futures. In the long run, policymakers need to devise new strategies for economic growth based on more efficient use of oil and natural gas, continuing dependence on coal, and ultimately, the development of alternative sources of energy.
  • Topic: Security, Energy Policy, Oil
  • Political Geography: Asia
  • Author: Sam Bateman
  • Publication Date: 01-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: The 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) created new maritime law and extended maritime jurisdiction that were ex-pected to justify naval expansion. To some extent this has been so, but another trend is also apparent. Regional navies are concentrating on war-fighting capabilities while existing coast guards are being expanded and some countries are establishing coast guards for the first time. The protection of off-shore areas and resources is a central element of national security for most regional countries and an important consideration in nation building and governance. Coast Guards are emerging as important national institutions in Asia and the Pacific with the potential to make a major contribution to regional order and security. This development reflects a concern for coop-erative and comprehensive security and will facilitate regional maritime cooperation and confidence building. It is a positive factor for regional order and security and may constitute a revolution in maritime strategic thinking.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy
  • Political Geography: Asia, Australia/Pacific
  • Author: Kang Wu, Fereidun Fesharaki
  • Publication Date: 06-2002
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: The Middle East is Asia Pacific's largest energy supplier, satisfying a demand for oil that must keep pace with the region's continued economic growth. This dependence on the Middle East has caused Asia Pacific to join the United States and other Western nations in the hunt for alternative suppliers. Central Asia, located between the Middle East and Asia Pacific and already an oil and gas exporter, is an attractive possibility. With energy production projected to rise rapidly over the next decade, Central Asia is poised to become a major player in the world energy market. But the land-locked region's options for transporting oil and gas to Asia Pacific markets are limited and problematic. Passage via pipeline east through China presents construction challenges; south through Iran, or through India and Pakistan via Afghanistan, is fraught with political difficulties. Not until geopolitics become more favorable to the south-bound options, or technologies make the China route possible, will Asia Pacific be able to tap the energy resources of Central Asia.
  • Topic: Security, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan, United States, China, Iran, Middle East, Asia
  • Author: Arun R. Swamy
  • Publication Date: 10-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: The intensification of a long-standing dispute between India and Pakistan over the state of Kashmir has become the cause of international concern. The stakes for these nuclear-armed rivals are high. Each views Kashmir as the validation of its national ideology; each fears that giving it up will result in serious domestic turmoil. Moreover, each country has plausible legal arguments for its claims along with a long history of grievances. The deep differences over Kashmir that divide the two countries have so far proven intractable, and following September 11 the movement toward confrontation accelerated. There has never been a more urgent need for international attention to Kashmir. While diplomatic engagement seems necessary for a resolution of this dispute, past results indicate that simply pressuring the two sides to talk may be disastrous. In order to avoid such results, any effort to intervene in this dispute must be undertaken with an awareness of how it evolved, why it has been so difficult to resolve, and what kinds of solutions to it might realistically be pursued.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security
  • Political Geography: South Asia, Asia, Kashmir