In the CSDS-Asia Matters Podcast, we go beyond the headlines with experts from around the globe to help explain what's shaping the region.
The Legacy of Shinzo Abe
The assassination of former Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe on 8th July shocked the world, with tributes pouring in from all over the globe.
Abe, Japan’s longest serving prime minister until he stepped down in 2020, was arguably one of the country’s most consequential leaders. He oversaw a programme of economic reform at home, which came to be known as Abenomics, as well as a reorientation of Japan’s approach to foreign policy and national security.
In this episode we look at Abe's legacy, particularly when it comes to international affairs.
We are thrilled to be joined by Eva Pejsova, senior Japan fellow at the Centre for Security, Diplomacy and Strategy at the Brussels School of Governance; and Dr Mike Green, chief executive of the US Studies Centre at the University of Sydney and the author of ‘Line of Advantage - Japan’s Grand Strategy in the Era of Shinzo Abe.’
An overlooked actor? Japan's role in South East Asia
This episode focuses on Japan’s role in Asia, and in particular its somewhat overlooked relations with South East Asia.
While there is plenty of coverage of China’s increasing economic and diplomatic clout in the region, Japan — still, of course, the world’s third largest economy — has for decades been a major investor in the region.
Not only that, it has also built strong diplomatic ties with southeast Asian nations and has recently been co-operating more closely on defence issues too, most recently signing a deal with Thailand.
At a time when inter-state relations in Asia are evolving and becoming more complex, we wanted to look at Japan's significant presence in the region — and also to understand how countries there view that role.
To do so, we have regular guest Eva Pejsova, a senior Japan fellow at CSDS with a research portfolio that focuses on security issues in the Indo-Pacific region.
And we’re delighted to be joined for the first time by Maria Thaemar Tana, an assistant professor in international relations at the University of the Philippines.
The uneasy alliance between North Korea and China
With tensions around North Korea starting to make headlines again, in this episode we look at relations between Pyongyang and its closest ally, China.
The North Korean army has already carried out more missile tests this year than ever before, according to the US government - and speculation is mounting that the one-party state may be about to launch its first nuclear missile tests in five years.
Despite their geographical and ideological proximity, China and North Korea have had an up-and-down relationship over the years.
So how are the two countries co-operating now? What do both Beijing and Pyongyang want from their relationship, and how far would China go to defend its ally?
Our guests this week are Tongfi Kim, Research Professor in Asian Geopolitics at the Centre for Security, Diplomacy and Strategy at the Brussels School of Governance; and Jiyoung Ko, Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science and International Relations at Korea University.
The Philippines: A Family Business
At the end of June, the Philippines will formally inaugurate a new leadership – but it will feature two very familiar names.
There will be a second ‘President Ferdinand Marcos’; and another Duterte – Sara, daughter of the current president – will become vice-president.
The new President Marcos, generally known as Bongbong, is the son of the man who led the Philippines from the time he was elected in 1965 until he was deposed by a ‘people power’ revolution in 1986. During the two decades in between, Marcos Senior amassed billions of dollars in private wealth, oversaw the killing and disappearance of thousands of political opponents, imposed martial law and created a debt-fuelled economic boom which ended in a major recession.
Sara Duterte is the daughter of a man who has polarised the Philippines during the past six years, the current president, Rodrigo Duterte. His signature policy was a ‘war on drugs’ which has caused the deaths of somewhere between six and thirty thousand people.
Despite these chequered family backgrounds both Bongbong Marcos and Sara Duterte were elected with huge majorities in the elections on May 9th.
Now the dust has settled, we’re going to find out how they did it and what it means for the country.
Our first guest is Ronald Holmes, president of Pulse Asia, one of the Philippines' leading public opinion research companies. He's also Professor of Politics at De La Salle University in Manila.
Joining him is Maria Ela Atienza, Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of the Philippines.
Our guest host for this episode is Bill Hayton, Associate Fellow with the Asia-Pacific Programme at the London-based think-tank, Chatham House.
As ever, you can find out more about the episodes on our website.
Asia’s Response to the War in Ukraine
This episode examines the responses of three of Asia’s most prominent nations to Russia's invasion of Ukraine: Japan, India, and Korea.
The war has not only brought dreadful suffering to the Ukrainian people, as well as heavy losses for the Russian army - it has also upended many of the assumptions that have guided international relations for decades. Indeed, it's arguably the biggest change to the geopolitical order since the fall of the Soviet Union.
Joining Andrew Peaple to discuss the topic are two familiar voices from the Centre for Security, Diplomacy and Strategy at the Brussels School of Governance: Eva Pejsova, senior Japan fellow at CSDS, and Ramon Pacheco Pardo, who holds the Korea chair at the Centre.
And to discuss the implications for India, Garima Mohan joins the show. She is a fellow in the Asia Program at the German Marshall Fund of the United States, where she leads work on India.
As ever, you can find more information, including episode transcripts, on our website.
Close and nasty: South Korea's divisive election
South Korea’s closest presidential election since it became a democracy in 1987 has led to victory for the conservative Yoon Seok-yeol, who will now take office for a five-year term in May.
His win comes at a time of difficulty, with North Korea once again testing missiles and nearby Russia engaged in war in Europe. At home, Yoon faces pressing economic issues such as runaway house prices and an aging population, while he has faced criticism for his stance on social issues such as gender equality.
Joining us to discuss the hows and whys of the election and what Yoon’s win might mean for Korea and the broader region are three well-placed experts.
Ramon Pacheco Pardo holds the Korea chair at the Centre for Security, Diplomacy and Strategy at the Brussels School of Governance.
From Seoul we are joined by Timothy Martin, Korea bureau chief for The Wall Street Journal, and CNN's Yoonjung Seo.