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INSIGHTS

A bumpy G20 agenda: from austerity to growth
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For the past few years, G20 meetings have focused on austerity measures, given the backdrop of the financial and economic crises. Over the weekend (22-23 February) in Sydney, Australia, G20 finance ministers and central bank governors agreed to add US$2 trillion (S$2.5 trillion) to the...

Stagnating Trans-Pacific Partnership talks and the US ‘pivot’ to Asia
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On February 25, ministerial-level talks aimed at concluding a Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement ended without a deal. The talks failed on several issues, such as removing protection for automobiles and agriculture. Japan, in particular, was unwilling to remove protection on foreign agricultural products and...

Kerry in Asia: Climate-change agenda trumps geopolitics
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Beginning last Thursday, US Secretary of State John Kerry met leaders in Seoul, Beijing and Jakarta. The US invoked its “pivot to Asia” again after being distracted by the Syrian conflict. It was an important visit, but one that left much to be desired. No...

The Worst (Haze) is Yet to Come
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The severe haze episode that Singapore experienced in June 2013 may not be the worst we have seen. This is one of the key takeaways by CHUA Chin-Wei, Singapore Institute of International Affairs (SIIA) Deputy Director and Fellow (Environment and Resources) after attending the ICOPE...

Pipeline politics: Putin’s pivot to Asia?
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Last week, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe attended the opening of the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. Many Western leaders had boycotted the event, in response to Russia’s anti-homosexual law passed last year. Besides holding talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Mr Abe also had...

The Be all and End all? BN’s continued strength
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Malaysian opposition figure Anwar Ibrahim is contesting a seat in Kajang in Selangor in order to be eligible to take over the role of chief minister. Selangor, which is run by the opposition Pakatan Rakyat (PKR) and is Malaysia’s richest state, has seen  rising religious...

Asian Fortunes: China and ASEAN in the Year of the Horse
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What lies ahead for Asia in the Year of the Horse? The Singapore Institute of International Affairs asked our members and fellows what issues they will be keeping a close eye on in the coming months. Mr. Manu Bhaskaran, SIIA Council Member and Director of Centennial...

China’s shadow banking system: No end in sight to moral hazard
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As China reopens for business after the Spring Festival, its financial system is coming under strain. Recently, the government stepped in to rescue the “Credit Equals Gold #1” trust product, which was due to pay out US$495 million ahead of the holiday season. The fund,...

Key Environment Stories to Watch in 2014
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The year 2013 has seen more and more devastating environmental disasters in many parts of Asia. The worst haze in history blanketed Southeast Asia in June. Heavy air pollution hit new highs in Shanghai. One of the most powerful typhoons on record struck the Philippines...

China’s new fishing law: An ADIZ flashback?
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China’s new fishing regulations over a disputed swathe of the South China Sea took effect on 1 January, and were promptly criticised by the Philippines and Vietnam. The South-East Asian claimant states demanded that Beijing clarify the new law, which states that all foreign vessels...