Marcos–Duterte mega-dynasty on the rocks
East Asia Forum
by Danilo Araña Arao
7h ago
Philippine politics combines drama, comedy and tragedy. The political marriage between two powerful clans in the northern and southern Philippines resulted in the 2022 election of a former dictator’s son, Ferdinand Marcos Jr, and a former president’s daughter, Sara Duterte, as president and vice president respectively. Yet this dynasty cartel or mega-dynasty is headed towards a split. This is due to the drama of an unfulfilled promise, the comedy of a war between the former and incumbent presidents and the tragedy of pushing for a constitutional change. That the Marcos–Dut ..read more
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Sri Lanka needs a cautious growth trajectory
East Asia Forum
by Dushni Weerakoon
19h ago
In April 2022, crowds of Sri Lankans gathered on the streets, protesting the lack of essentials such as fuel and medicines. Amid an economy lurching from crisis to crisis, chaotic resignations ensued, a sovereign debt default was declared for the first time and bailout discussions were finally initiated with the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The IMF’s second staff-level review, which concluded in March 2024, deemed that recent policy measures had yielded ‘good progress’. While many would agree that economic conditions are better today than they were previously, macroeconomic stability an ..read more
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South Korean international students turn away from China
East Asia Forum
by Peter Ghazarian
1d ago
China has seen a dramatic decrease in the number of international students from South Korea. Between 2017 and 2023, there has been a precipitous drop of 78 per cent, from 73,240 to just 15,857 South Korean students studying at Chinese higher education and foreign language institutes. China’s zero-COVID policy, tensions over the US Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system and South Korean business retreat from China have all soured the perception of China as a destination for international students.  Fresh in the minds of South Korean students are the strict lockdowns that marke ..read more
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India’s great power ambitions hinge crucially on getting the economy right
East Asia Forum
by EAF editors
2d ago
Over the next six weeks, 969 million voters will be eligible to cast their ballots in the Indian election — the largest democratic exercise in history.  Incumbent Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to lead his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to a thumping third successive victory on the back of his personal popularity, economic record and muscular brand of Hindutva politics. Although the election result seems a foregone conclusion — so much so that alarm bells are now sounding about Indian democracy — the question of whether India will fulfil its immense economic and geopolitical pote ..read more
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India’s arduous road to achieving its great power ambitions
East Asia Forum
by Ashley J. Tellis
2d ago
Ever since independence in 1947, India’s leaders imagined that the country would become a great power — it possessed a storied civilisation, a large landmass and population and epitomised a successful experiment in liberal democracy. But becoming a great power required that its large population become much more productive and the country at large approach the global technological frontier. A post-colonial legacy of territorial disputes with Pakistan and China combined with slow growth during the Cold War stymied India’s great power ambitions. Economic accomplishment proved elusive because of ..read more
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Shoring up structural reform for a resilient Malaysian Ringgit
East Asia Forum
by Guanie Lim
3d ago
In February 2024, the Malaysian Ringgit traded at almost RM4.8 against the US dollar, marking a trough not seen since January 1998 when the Asian Financial Crisis (AFC) swept through the region. Corporate governance reforms since the late 1990s have prevented Malaysia from suffering an equally severe fallout this time around. Yet, it is of little comfort to average Malaysians who have seen their disposable income shrink as import costs have gone up. The government’s shift from blanket to targeted subsidies has created more financial stress on the population. Newly appointed Second Finance Min ..read more
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Cultural attitudes key to fixing Chinese youth unemployment
East Asia Forum
by Henry Devitt
4d ago
In January 2024, China’s National Bureau of Statistics resumed publishing official youth unemployment figures. In December 2023 the youth unemployment rate was 14.9 per cent. Beijing suspended releasing the data in August 2023 following its steady year-on-year increase, eventually reaching an official record high of 21.3 per cent in June 2023. A persistent problem of youth unemployment reflects cultural preferences and a deeper structural misalignment between an oversupply of tertiary graduates and a limited services industry that lacks the capacity to accommodate them. During China’s ‘reform ..read more
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No easy answers for Australian universities’ financial dilemmas
East Asia Forum
by Anthony Welch
5d ago
Australian university leaderships nervously await the final policy outcomes of two recent national reviews, each with significant implications for the financial health of Australia’s higher education sector, which has become one of Australia’s most important export industries over recent decades. The first of these was a migration review that exposed substantial corruption of Australia’s migration system, particularly regarding international students. The second was the Australian Universities Accord Review, commissioned by the Education Minister Jason Clare in 2022, which canvassed various i ..read more
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Revitalising US relations with Southeast Asia through public diplomacy
East Asia Forum
by Luke C. Hahn
5d ago
Amid the intensification of US-China rivalry, the United States has struggled to enhance its partnerships with ASEAN, enabling China to grow its presence in the region. To this end, the Biden administration should bolster its public diplomacy with Southeast Asia. ASEAN is a strategically and economically important region that the United States cannot afford to neglect. Handling 40 per cent of merchandise trade globally, Southeast Asia is poised to become the world’s fourth largest economy by 2030. Its proximity to China and other security partners like India, Japan an ..read more
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China’s lead in green and dirty energy a hurdle for EU climate agenda 
East Asia Forum
by Florian Klumpp
6d ago
Climate change is projected to have significant, adverse effects on human lives, property and economic growth in China. Acknowledging this, Beijing updated its Climate Change Adaptation Strategy in 2022. But as the Chinese Communist Party has become hypersensitive to national security threats, climate change is now perceived as just one of the dangers to the country’s political and economic stability. Climate actions are arguably primarily driven by concerns about regime stability, not threats to individuals or the biosphere. Amid weakening economic growth, Beijing wants to revisit and streng ..read more
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