Japan-China Relations: Issues and Prospects (Video Interview with Akio Takahara) – Part 1 of 2

Memo #253

Featuring Akio Takahara

Recently the Asia Pacific Memo sat down with Dr. Akio Takahara, Professor in the Graduate School of Law and Politics at the University of Tokyo and a recognized authority on contemporary Chinese politics, international relations in East Asia, and Japan-China relations in particular.

In this first part of a two-part video memo, Dr… Continue reading

Thailand and Turkey: Challenges to Elite and Military Rule

Memo #180 – Thailand and Turkey have a lot in common. Both countries celebrate their avoidance of formal colonization by adopting Westernizing adjustments overseen by “modernizing” rulers in the 19th century. Both have followed similar state-led economic development trajectories in the 20th century, only to liberalize after the 1980s. Both are known for military interventions in the electoral process. Both are highly nationalistic and devoted to national myths of development centred around revered figures. Continue reading

Mongolia Remains Key To US Strategy in Asia

Memo #173 – Mongolia continues its rapid ascent in the strategic playbook of the United States and the West. The US views Mongolia through an integrated lens balancing its economic interests with strategic concerns. As the world’s fastest growing economy (GDP growth at 17.3 per cent in 2011), Mongolia is an appealing target for foreign investors in sectors such as mining, nuclear power, and technology. For Washington though, security still trumps in Mongolia. The US continues to view Mongolia as a credible partner in an uncertain area filled with truculent neighbours. Continue reading

Japan and South Korea’s History Divide

Memo #165 – Despite the United States’ shift in strategic attention to the Asia Pacific, fiscal constraints and defence spending cuts highlight the need for greater military cooperation among Asian partner countries. There are myriad security issues in the region. Japan and South Korea, the two key US allies in Asia, are significant actors in this context. But enhanced defence cooperation continues to be hampered by controversies regarding Japan’s history of aggression on the Korean peninsula. In mid-May, Seoul cancelled the planned signing of two military accords with Tokyo, citing domestic criticism on any military pact amid unresolved bilateral history issues. Continue reading

Asia in the Governance of Outer Space

Memo #154 – In 2011, the United States Secretary of Defense and the Director of National Intelligence called global attention to the congested, contested, and competitive nature of outer space activities. All space powers, including in Asia, continue to struggle with the safety and security of assets that undergird their modern economies, militaries, and societies. The practical issue is how to achieve national objectives, some of which are only possible in collaboration with others. Continue reading

Thailand Post-election Analysis: Crisis and Opportunity

Memo #97 – The highest voter turnout in history shows Thai voters still view elections as the most legitimate way to transfer power. 75 per cent of eligible voters participated in last week’s election. Pheu Thai took 40 per cent of the vote, gained 265 out of 500 seats, and together with five other parties will form a 300-seat coalition government – an impressive result for a party whose predecessors were ousted by a coup d’état in 2006, twice dissolved, and had their politicians banned from politics for five years. Continue reading