Category: Asia-Pacific

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Laos in limbo heading into 2023
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Laos in limbo heading into 2023

Author: Kearrin Sims, James Cook University Laos experienced compounding social and economic pressures in 2022. The headline news story of the year was the country’s dire external debt. 2022 was also significant as it marked the 10th anniversary of the enforced disappearance of Sombath Somphone — a community development worker who provided successful alternatives to...

The end of the beginning for the Cambodian People’s Party
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The end of the beginning for the Cambodian People’s Party

Author: Astrid Noren-Nilsson, Lund University Cambodia stood between past and future in 2022 — balancing completion, new beginnings and legacy creation. As Cambodia’s first electoral term with a one-party National Assembly under the Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) drew to a close (2018–2023), the party prepared for an upcoming generational transition. In December 2021, Hun Manet...

Russia and the US add to South Korea’s economic challenges
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Russia and the US add to South Korea’s economic challenges

Author: Troy Stangarone, Korea Economic Institute of America In May 2022, South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol was elected on a platform calling for a break from his predecessor’s income-led growth strategy to one focused on deregulation and corporate tax cuts. While the new administration has taken steps to implement Yoon’s free market approach, external events...

Russian oil price cap accelerates global economic decoupling
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Russian oil price cap accelerates global economic decoupling

Author: Suryaputra Wijaksana, Bank Central Asia The oil ‘price cap’ of US$60 per barrel for Russian oil is a controversial move by the European Union and G7. The price cap prohibits Western insurers and shipping companies, which account for more than 90 per cent of the marine insurance industry, from servicing vessels that carry Russian...

New PNG government goes for gold
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New PNG government goes for gold

Author: Ronald May, ANU 2022 was an election year in Papua New Guinea (PNG), so electoral politics dominated much of the first half of the year. Polling took place over three weeks in July, with more than 3600 candidates contesting the 118 open and provincial seats. This includes seven new electorates created due to a...

US–China relations have become a disaster in the making
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US–China relations have become a disaster in the making

Author: Jia Qingguo, Peking University In his online meeting with China’s President Xi Jinping in November 2021, US President Joe Biden proposed guardrails for the US–China relationship. His proposal reflected deep concerns about the potential for a military confrontation due to a miscalculation or an accident. More than a year has passed since then, so...

Indonesia wants more than a nickel for natural resources
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Indonesia wants more than a nickel for natural resources

Author: James Guild, RSIS Indonesian Minister of Investment Bahlil Lahadalia suggested that Indonesia is looking into forming an OPEC-style cartel for nickel and other inputs used in battery production. Nickel is becoming a hot commodity as it is a key input in the manufacture of lithium-ion batteries needed for electric vehicles (EVs) — and Indonesia...

Missiles and macroeconomy mark North Korea’s 2022 troubles
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Missiles and macroeconomy mark North Korea’s 2022 troubles

Author: Scott A. Snyder, Council of Foreign Relations In 2022, North Korea exported tensions through stepped-up missile tests and threats toward South Korea. It also kept a national quarantine that prevented official imports of economic goods in place, but ultimately failed to keep COVID-19 from infecting the country. North Korea achieved a record number of...

Central Asia’s authoritarians stare down a year of disorder
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Central Asia’s authoritarians stare down a year of disorder

Author: Kirill Nourzhanov, ANU Political turmoil and uncertainty beset Central Asia in 2022. Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan faced domestic, regional and international challenges exacerbated by the war in Ukraine. This brought into sharp relief both the systemic threats to peace and stability on the ground and regional authoritarian governments’ capacity to placate if...

Mongolian government under pressure as its foreign policy options are squeezed by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine
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Mongolian government under pressure as its foreign policy options are squeezed by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine

Author: Julian Dierkes, UBC Mongolia’s domestic party politics, international relations and economy faced challenges in 2022. The Mongolian People’s Party (MPP) wrestled with how to govern despite having a supermajority in Mongolia’s parliament, the State Great Khural, and how to position itself vis-a-vis Moscow following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The government staked its fiscal fortunes...