Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong greets Chinese President Xi Jinping, Beijing, Nov. 9, 2014 (AP photo by Feng Li).

Last week, Hong Kong agreed to return nine armored vehicles to Singapore that had been seized in November while in transit from Taiwan, where they had been used in joint military exercises. The decision ends a diplomatic row that brought relations between China and Singapore to a low point. In an email interview, Lieke Bos, a project officer at the Royal United Services Institute, discusses Singapore’s ties with China. WPR: What is the nature of relations between Singapore and China, and what are the main areas of cooperation? Lieke Bos: Relations between China and Singapore have been relatively stable ever […]

Soldiers from the United Arab Emirates march alongside Indian troops during the Republic Day parade, New Delhi, Jan. 26, 2017 (AP photo by Manish Swarup).

When five diplomats from the United Arab Emirates were killed in a bombing in Kandahar earlier this month, Afghan authorities quickly blamed the Haqqani network, which many suspect of having ties to Pakistani intelligence. That triggered speculation that the attack—the first on diplomats from a Gulf state in Afghanistan—was meant to send a message to the UAE about its growing counterterrorism cooperation with India. The timing of the blast was seen as especially significant since it came just weeks before Abu Dhabi’s powerful crown prince, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, who is also the deputy supreme commander of the […]

Gen. Gatot Nurmantyo, the head of the Indonesian Armed Forces, and President Joko Widodo, Jakarta, July 8, 2015 (AP photo by Achmad Ibrahim).

Earlier this month, Indonesia’s military chief unilaterally suspended defense ties with Australia, forcing President Joko Widodo to quickly walk back the move and raising questions about the amount of power the military has. In an email interview, Fabio Scarpello, a postdoctoral researcher at Murdoch University in Australia, discusses civil-military relations in Indonesia. WPR: What are the basic tenets of civil-military relations in Indonesia, and what historical legacies have shaped them? Scarpello: Since its return to democracy in 1998, Indonesia has successfully implemented first-generation security sector reform and established a substantial, though imperfect, institutional framework that grants civilian control over the […]

Chinese President Xi Jinping after his speech at the World Economic Forum, Davos, Switzerland, Jan. 17, 2017 (AP photo by Michel Euler).

In this week’s Trend Lines podcast, WPR’s editor-in-chief, Judah Grunstein, and senior editor, Frederick Deknatel, discuss the global reactions to U.S. President Donald Trump’s first week in office. For the Report, Daniel McDowell talks with Peter Dörrie about the problems facing globalism and how they are getting worse. Listen: Download: MP3Subscribe: iTunes | RSS Relevant Articles on WPR: With an Eye on China—and Trump—Japan Enhances Security Ties With Southeast Asia Could Trump’s Hard-Line Support End Up Backfiring for Israel’s Far Right? Temer Has Few Easy Choices to Solve Brazil’s Prison Crisis China’s Complicated Relationship With Workers’ Rights Globalization Was Already […]

Indonesian President Joko Widodo and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe during a welcome ceremony at the Presidential Palace, Bogor, West Java, Indonesia,  Jan. 15, 2017 (AP photo by Achmad Ibrahim).

Japan’s prime minister, Shinzo Abe, began the year with a weeklong tour of Southeast Asia and Australia earlier this month. The trip, which was planned in relative haste following the stunning election of Donald Trump as president of the United States last November, was an opportunity for Abe to try and impress upon Southeast Asian countries the importance of maintaining and defending international norms and laws, especially in the disputed waters around Southeast Asia. Abe visited the Philippines and Vietnam, two states with the most contested territorial disputes with China in the South China Sea. Abe also visited Indonesia, the […]

Workers take a lunch break outside a construction site, Beijing, China, Dec. 13, 2016 (AP photo by Andy Wong).

Editor’s note: This article is the first in an ongoing WPR series about workers' rights in various countries around the world. Labor organizations in China expect worker protests, which are common around the Lunar New Year, to spike in the coming weeks, in large part because workers from the “new economy,” which includes e-commerce workers, are experiencing problems with overdue payments for the first time. In an email interview, Cynthia Estlund, the Catherine A. Rein professor at the New York University School of Law and author of “A New Deal for China’s Workers?,” discusses workers' rights in China. WPR: What […]

Clothes and other belongings of Indian laborers hang from a tree where they live on a roadside, Ahmadabad, India, Jan. 19, 2016 (AP photo by Ajit Solanki).

Editor’s note: This article is part of an ongoing WPR series on income inequality and poverty reduction in various countries around the world. A recent study by Oxfam found that inequality is on the rise in India, and that the richest 1 percent of Indians control 58 percent of the country’s total wealth. In an email interview, Vamsi Vakulabharanam, an associate professor at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, discusses income inequality and poverty reduction in India. WPR: What is the rate of income inequality in India, what are the latest trends in terms of widening or lessening inequality, and what […]

An electronic board shows benchmark indexes of the global markets, Seoul, South Korea, Jan. 2, 2017 (AP photo by Lee Jin-man).

The world economy is caught in a vicious cycle that it cannot seem to break. It all began in 2008 with the shock of the global financial crisis followed two years later by the slow drip of the European debt crisis. In response to these events and the worldwide recession that accompanied them, many countries took steps to protect their economies from international instability and foreign competition. Yet creeping protectionism just acted as a further drag on economic growth. Continued tepid growth helped fuel the growing protectionist backlash in the industrialized world, which is poised to deliver a level of […]

Chinese President Xi Jinping at the World Economic Forum, Davos, Switzerland, Jan. 17, 2017 (AP photo by Michel Euler).

That China is an export powerhouse is well established—“Made in China” products can be found in markets from Addis Ababa and Istanbul to Rome and New York. Despite a slowing economy, Chinese export of goods in 2015 totaled over $2.1 trillion, more than Italy’s GDP. But less remarked upon is the rise of China’s newest export: capital. In fact, during his speech at the World Economic Forum in Switzerland this week—the first by a Chinese president—President Xi Jinping not only vigorously defended free trade and globalization but also touted China’s efforts in facilitating global economic development. More than a formidable […]

U.S. President Barack Obama during a welcome ceremony with Chinese President Xi Jinping at the Great Hall of the People, Beijing, Nov. 12, 2014 (AP photo by Andy Wong).

As Donald Trump prepares to assume the presidency of the United States, the contest with China for influence in Asia continues apace. Since President Barack Obama announced the rebalance or “pivot” to Asia initiative in an address to Australia’s parliament in 2011, the U.S. has carried out a number of measures designed to bolster its influence in a region that is projected to play an increasingly central role in driving global economic growth. In addition to increases in force presence and posture, U.S. forces have fielded numerous advanced systems. Complementing the military moves, Washington has stepped up bilateral and multilateral […]

Australians rally as part of the #LetThemStay campaign in support of refugee families threatened with offshore detention, Melbourne, Australia, Feb. 8, 2016 (photo by flickr user Takver, CC BY-NC 2.0).

In its 2017 World Report, Human Rights Watch slammed Australia’s offshore detention of asylum-seekers on Manus Island and Nauru as draconian and abusive. The report criticized not only the treatment of asylum-seekers, but also the government’s measures—overturned by the High Court in October—to gag service-providers working at offshore camps, who can face criminal charges and other penalties if they go public with information about detention conditions. The Human Rights Watch report comes on the heels of the alleged bashing of two Iranian asylum-seekers on Manus by Papua New Guinea police on New Year’s Eve, as well as the 2016 publication […]

Indians deposit discontinued notes at a bank, Gauhati, India, Dec. 30, 2016 (AP photo by Anupam Nath).

On the last day of 2016, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi went on television with a New Year’s speech to address the most pressing issue on Indians’ mind: the sudden withdrawal less than two months earlier of most paper currency from circulation. He urged the Indian people to be patient and have faith, and told them to think of Mahatma Gandhi and his strategy of nonviolent resistance as they tried to endure the harsh challenge they now face. Gandhi had called on Indians to resist British colonial forces. In the case of India’s cash crisis, the tribulations were inflicted by […]