Author: James Guild, RSIS
In the current flurry of summitry involving North Korea, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s generally hardline approach makes Japan the odd man out. But that trend is beginning to change.
Author: Yoshihide Soeya, Keio University
Hong Kong’s position in China’s governance framework is becoming clearer. Mainland authorities have achieved a degree of jurisdiction over Hong Kong through a repertoire of different initiatives that may ultimately affect the city’s reputation as a global business hub. If Hong Kong becomes more like a mainland city, will foreign countries still find it an attractive place to do business?
Author: Peter TY Cheung, University of Hong Kong
Overwhelmingly Christian, the Philippines has long contended with armed resistance by organised movements of Philippine Muslims. Under the first-ever president elected from the Muslim-majority island of Mindanao, Rodrigo Duterte, the Philippine government has managed to pass a law supported by both Muslim separatist movements, the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), leading to hopes for peace and greater development in the southern Philippines.
Author: Steven Rood, ANU
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has continued with her ‘relentlessly positive’ approach in both rhetoric and policy, demonstrating poise and grace while dealing effectively with an opposition National Party. Opposition leader Simon Bridges is a distant second (in single digits) in ‘preferred prime minister’ polls, with his continued leadership in jeopardy.
Author: Stephen Levine, Victoria University
It would be premature to claim that Rodrigo Duterte’s presidency in the Philippines is in trouble. Despite a temporary drop in his approval ratings last year, three-fourths of Philippine citizens still approve of his performance in office, with his violent drug crackdown considered his ‘top achievement’.
Author: Mark R Thompson, City University of Hong Kong
If the goal of Japan’s G20 presidency in 2019 is merely to get through the summit in June with a business-as-usual approach, at best it would be a lost opportunity. At worst, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Japanese officials could find the global economic order collapsing around them on their watch or end up throwing a hospital pass to the next G20 hosts, Saudi Arabia.
Author: Editorial Board, ANU
After the excitement of the 2016 parliamentary and 2017 presidential elections, and the 2017 International Monetary Fund-brokered bailout, Mongolia’s relatively quiet 2018 was welcome respite. Rather than continuing to follow the meandering path of political advancement of previous decades, Mongolia is getting bogged down in an unhealthy mix of popular frustration, corruption and a powerful party duopoly. Higher global copper prices are bringing economic growth to buffer the population against political mismanagement, for now.
Author: Julian Dierkes, UBC
The evolution of Sri Lanka’s foreign policy since the election of a unity government on 8 January 2015 merits interest. Changes include the country’s engagement with a wider range of international partners, as well as a commitment to address the country’s post-conflict concerns.
Authors: Ganeshan Wignaraja and Dinusha Panditaratne, LKI
The last year should have seen Papua New Guinea’s (PNG) economic fortunes improve significantly. Higher oil prices should have contributed to a major decline in budget deficits. The November 2018 APEC meeting provided an opportunity to showcase what PNG has to offer. But an earthquake, lax budget policy and a build-up of protectionist and anti-market policies meant that the year ended as a mixed bag. The latest International Monetary Fund (IMF) assessment indicates 0 per cent growth in 2018.
Author: Paul Flanagan, ANU