A remarkable transformation is underway in a country where most people were nomadic herders a generation ago. Mongolia has the fastest-growing economy in the world, with GDP increasing by more than 17 percent last year. It sits on vast precious metal and mineral resources: The 10 biggest deposits alone are estimated to be worth almost $1.5 trillion. Given all this wealth in a country of only 3 million people, Mongolia has the potential to become an Asian version of Norway. However, popular anger is growing as fast as the economy. Despite the “gold rush,” the poverty rate increased between 2008 […]

In late-June, Turkey and Azerbaijan signed accords green-lighting the much-anticipated $7 billion Trans-Anatolian Pipeline (TANAP), which will ferry 16 billion cubic meters (bcm) of natural gas from Azerbaijan’s Shah Deniz II field through neighboring Georgia to Turkey and from there to European markets. While the deal has been described as a deathblow to the once highly touted European Union-backed Nabucco pipeline consortium, TANAP’s emergence alongside a host of other alternative and unconventional energy options is also endangering Russia’s near-monopoly in the European natural gas market. In its original form, Nabucco, named for Verdi’s famous opera, was billed as a means […]

SHANGHAI — Following a period of relatively aggressive behavior from 2009 to 2011, recent events suggest that Beijing is pursuing a new strategy on the region’s high seas, perhaps in response to Washington’s Asia pivot. China’s new approach involves asserting sovereignty through civilian actors on a day-to-day basis while adopting a less explicitly abrasive military posture. Going into this week’s Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit, where hopes for agreement on a maritime code of conduct are rising, it seems China would need to radically alter this strategy to participate fully in any such arrangement. For manifest geostrategic reasons, […]

Indonesian state oil company Pertamina signed an agreement in June with Timor Gas E Petroleo, the national oil company of Timor-Leste, to develop Timorese oil and gas. In an email interview, Cillian Nolan, a Southeast Asia analyst at the Jakarta office of the International Crisis Group, discussed relations between Indonesia and Timor-Leste. WPR: How have relations between Indonesia and Timor-Leste evolved since Timor-Leste’s independence? Cillian Nolan: Good relations with Indonesia were a priority from the beginning for Timor-Leste’s current leaders, but the relationship really began to grow following the establishment of the Commission on Truth and Friendship (CTF) in 2005. […]