POSTED on 11 April 2014 by Chong-Pin Lin

Deciphering The East China Sea Air Defense Identification Zone

by Chong-Pin Lin Translated by Sam Hall On 12 November 2013, a huge package of 60 reforms was announced at the 3rd Plenum of the 18th Chinese Communist Party Congress. On the 23rd, the People’s Liberation Army suddenly declared the “East China Sea Air Defense Identfication Zone (ADIZ)”.  There was fierce backlash from Asia-Pacific countries who then intentionally dispatched aeroplanes to pass though the zone. Nothing happened. Beijing’s image was damaged and it was half a month before the commotion calmed down. What does this event signify for China, Japan, and the world? First – China: Xi Jinping’s dual “spear” and “shield” reform moves. During the 80s, the vanguard of CCP reform, Hu Yaobang, was crippled into defeat. The reason was that though he charged ahead with “spear” in hand, he had no “shield” cards with which to defend himself and so was crushed by anti-reform forces. In view of this, Xi Jinping has likely adopted a dual offensive and defensive reform strategy so as to avoid making the same disastrous mistake. The scope of Xi’s reforms is unprecedented, vested interests are being challenged everywhere and, as one can imagine, resistance is enormous. The reforms include diminishing the realm of [...]

Newspaper graphic of original article in Chinese

by Chong-Pin Lin Translated by Sam Hall On 12 November 2013, a huge package of 60 reforms was announced at the 3rd Plenum of the 18th Chinese Communist Party Congress. On the 23rd, the People’s Liberation Army suddenly declared the “East China Sea Air Defense Identfication Zone (ADIZ)”.  There was fierce backlash from Asia-Pacific countries who then intentionally dispatched aeroplanes to pass though the zone. Nothing happened. Beijing’s image was damaged and it was half a month before the commotion calmed down. What does this event signify for China, Japan, and the world? First – China: Xi Jinping’s dual “spear” and “shield” reform moves. During the 80s, the vanguard of CCP reform, Hu Yaobang, was crippled into defeat. The reason was that though he charged ahead with “spear” in hand, he had no “shield” cards with which to defend himself and so was crushed by anti-reform forces. In view of this, Xi Jinping has likely adopted a dual offensive and defensive reform strategy so as to avoid making the same disastrous mistake. The scope of Xi’s reforms is unprecedented, vested interests are being challenged everywhere and, as one can imagine, resistance is enormous. The reforms include diminishing the realm of [...]

POSTED on 04 April 2014 by Klaus Heinrich Raditio

Can the tension in the South China Sea be mitigated?

The last five years in the South China Sea have been seen by many scholars in the West as a new period of tension, which is often attributed to China’s assertive or aggressive behaviour. The disputes in the region involve China, Taiwan, Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and recently Indonesia (based on the recent statement of Indonesian senior military officer, Commodore Fahru Zaini on 12 March 2014).  So far, the tension between China in one side and other parties (the Philippines, Vietnam, and Malaysia) on the other side is escalating.  Whereas, other claimants seem to cautiously eye the developing situation. This writing is aimed at finding some measures that can be taken by any party in the disputed sea, to mitigate the tension and avoid a catastrophic outcome. It begins by assessing the current situation in the region and ends with a policy recommendation in the perspective of an international relations theoretical framework. Does the security dilemma apply in the South China Sea? This article attempts to apply the theoretical framework of defensive realism, promoted by Tang Shiping of Fudan University, Shanghai.  He develops the BHJ Formula, named after the works of British historian Herbert Butterfield, American political scientist John [...]

The last five years in the South China Sea have been seen by many scholars in the West as a new period of tension, which is often attributed to China’s assertive or aggressive behaviour. The disputes in the region involve China, Taiwan, Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and recently Indonesia (based on the recent statement of Indonesian senior military officer, Commodore Fahru Zaini on 12 March 2014).  So far, the tension between China in one side and other parties (the Philippines, Vietnam, and Malaysia) on the other side is escalating.  Whereas, other claimants seem to cautiously eye the developing situation. This writing is aimed at finding some measures that can be taken by any party in the disputed sea, to mitigate the tension and avoid a catastrophic outcome. It begins by assessing the current situation in the region and ends with a policy recommendation in the perspective of an international relations theoretical framework. Does the security dilemma apply in the South China Sea? This article attempts to apply the theoretical framework of defensive realism, promoted by Tang Shiping of Fudan University, Shanghai.  He develops the BHJ Formula, named after the works of British historian Herbert Butterfield, American political scientist John [...]

POSTED on 28 March 2014 by Neil Thomas

Book Review: Will China Dominate the 21st Century? by Jonathan Fenby

Dominate is a powerful word. It and ‘decline’ form a linguistic dyad that stirs strong emotion and elicits passionate debate, conjuring inevitable imaginings of that great, romantic theme of international relations, the rise and fall of nations. The story of this century has been the ‘rise of China’ as an economic powerhouse and global actor, which coupled with declarations of American ‘decline’, has inspired debate about whether China will undermine or overturn the Western-led international order. Jonathan Fenby and his publisher, Polity Press, have hit upon a publicity winner with their provocative title, nailing the blunt question upon many a layperson’s lips. Books addressing the ‘China question’ have proliferated in line with China’s ascent, suggesting strong mainstream demand for China analysis, an encouraging trend. However, given sales-driven publishers and without academic review, this has been accompanied by some loss of nuance in popular China discourse. Controversial titles include Gordon Chang’s The Coming Collapse of China and Martin Jacques’ When China Rules the World: The End of the Western World and the Birth of a New Global Order. Fenby’s 120-page volume self-consciously enters this fray. But Fenby is not one for sensationalist hyperbole. He is a seasoned journalist, historian and consultant [...]

Dominate is a powerful word. It and ‘decline’ form a linguistic dyad that stirs strong emotion and elicits passionate debate, conjuring inevitable imaginings of that great, romantic theme of international relations, the rise and fall of nations. The story of this century has been the ‘rise of China’ as an economic powerhouse and global actor, which coupled with declarations of American ‘decline’, has inspired debate about whether China will undermine or overturn the Western-led international order. Jonathan Fenby and his publisher, Polity Press, have hit upon a publicity winner with their provocative title, nailing the blunt question upon many a layperson’s lips. Books addressing the ‘China question’ have proliferated in line with China’s ascent, suggesting strong mainstream demand for China analysis, an encouraging trend. However, given sales-driven publishers and without academic review, this has been accompanied by some loss of nuance in popular China discourse. Controversial titles include Gordon Chang’s The Coming Collapse of China and Martin Jacques’ When China Rules the World: The End of the Western World and the Birth of a New Global Order. Fenby’s 120-page volume self-consciously enters this fray. But Fenby is not one for sensationalist hyperbole. He is a seasoned journalist, historian and consultant [...]

POSTED on 07 February 2014 by William Grimes

Is regional financial cooperation in East Asia in danger of breaking down?

The Chiang Mai Initiative (now Chiang Mai Initiative Multilateralization, or CMIM) constitutes the greatest accomplishment of East Asian regional cooperation to date. Growing out of a determination not to repeat the experience of the Asian Financial Crisis of 1997-98, the ASEAN+3 states have created a large-scale regional bailout fund to help regional economies to prevent or at least contain currency crises. As it currently stands, CMIM involves USD 240 billion in committed funds, a weighted voting system for disbursal of funds, a small permanent monitoring agency (the ASEAN+3 Macroeconomic Research Organization, or AMRO), and two separate types of credit lines (the Precautionary Line and the Stability Facility, the latter of which is subject to coordination with the International Monetary Fund). Although CMIM has not been tested—and may never be, considering the large amounts of foreign exchange reserves held by its members—it is a major commitment of mutual support and confidence. By most analyses, the years since the global financial crisis have seen considerable success of this regional initiative. It has grown in size, institutionalization, and function, while reducing its reliance on the IMF for the making of key decisions. Arguably, it is well on its way to becoming the “Asian [...]

The Chiang Mai Initiative (now Chiang Mai Initiative Multilateralization, or CMIM) constitutes the greatest accomplishment of East Asian regional cooperation to date. Growing out of a determination not to repeat the experience of the Asian Financial Crisis of 1997-98, the ASEAN+3 states have created a large-scale regional bailout fund to help regional economies to prevent or at least contain currency crises. As it currently stands, CMIM involves USD 240 billion in committed funds, a weighted voting system for disbursal of funds, a small permanent monitoring agency (the ASEAN+3 Macroeconomic Research Organization, or AMRO), and two separate types of credit lines (the Precautionary Line and the Stability Facility, the latter of which is subject to coordination with the International Monetary Fund). Although CMIM has not been tested—and may never be, considering the large amounts of foreign exchange reserves held by its members—it is a major commitment of mutual support and confidence. By most analyses, the years since the global financial crisis have seen considerable success of this regional initiative. It has grown in size, institutionalization, and function, while reducing its reliance on the IMF for the making of key decisions. Arguably, it is well on its way to becoming the “Asian [...]

POSTED on 14 November 2013 by Kerry Brown

China-Australia could be ideal partners in agribusiness

Agribusiness is one of the most sensitive sectors in the Australian economy.  This is one of the key reasons why discussion of a Free Trade Agreement between Australia and China has taken so long. Despite the commitment of the newly elected government in Canberra under Prime Minister Tony Abbott to have a final agreement reached in 2014, the complex considerations over agribusiness in particular mean a final deal on a FTA unlikely to be a straightforward task. Opening up the ownership of Australian farms to foreign buyers touches raw nerves. The situation at the moment, as a new report issued by the University of Sydney China Studies Centre and KPMG makes clear, is one in which public perceptions are out of kilter with what cold, hard statistics show. Only 11 per cent of Australian farmland is in foreign hands, and the vast bulk of that is from the UK or the US. Only 1 per cent of land is owned by Chinese investors. They are not, like the resource sector investment which has grown so rapidly in the last few years, from state owned enterprises in China, but smaller private sector companies. And far from being investments driven by concerns about food security, [...]

Agribusiness is one of the most sensitive sectors in the Australian economy.  This is one of the key reasons why discussion of a Free Trade Agreement between Australia and China has taken so long. Despite the commitment of the newly elected government in Canberra under Prime Minister Tony Abbott to have a final agreement reached in 2014, the complex considerations over agribusiness in particular mean a final deal on a FTA unlikely to be a straightforward task. Opening up the ownership of Australian farms to foreign buyers touches raw nerves. The situation at the moment, as a new report issued by the University of Sydney China Studies Centre and KPMG makes clear, is one in which public perceptions are out of kilter with what cold, hard statistics show. Only 11 per cent of Australian farmland is in foreign hands, and the vast bulk of that is from the UK or the US. Only 1 per cent of land is owned by Chinese investors. They are not, like the resource sector investment which has grown so rapidly in the last few years, from state owned enterprises in China, but smaller private sector companies. And far from being investments driven by concerns about food security, [...]