33 episodes

In Asia Matters Podcast, we go beyond the headlines with experts from around the globe to help explain what's shaping the region.

Asia Matters Podcast Asia Matters

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In Asia Matters Podcast, we go beyond the headlines with experts from around the globe to help explain what's shaping the region.

    Biden Post-100 Days: The View from Asia

    Biden Post-100 Days: The View from Asia

    US President Joe Biden has steamed past his first 100 days in office, typically a stage where we can look back and take stock of where a new administration is headed. For those of us outside America there’s a particular focus on Mr Biden’s foreign policy - and for us and our listeners of course, a particular focus on his Asia policy. 

    In this episode we have partnered with the IAFOR Research Centre's Korea Foundation project on "Korea and Japan in the evolving China-US relations" and assembled a panel of experts to talk through what they've made of this first chunk of the Biden era. 
    From South Korea, we are joined by Jaewoo Choo, Professor of Foreign Policy in the Department of Chinese Studies at Kyng Hee University; from the US, Dr. Satu Limaye, Vice President & Director of the East West Center where he directs the coincidentally named Asia Matters for America initiative; and Haruko Satoh, co-director of the IRC at Osaka School of International Public Policy at Osaka University, joins us from Japan. 
    For more on this episode, including a reading list, our website asiamatterspod.com has all you need - you can also give us feedback and subscribe to our mailing list there. 

    • 48 min
    Dealing with Disinformation: A Global Challenge

    Dealing with Disinformation: A Global Challenge

    This week Asia Matters joins forces with the Centre for Security, Diplomacy and Strategy at the Brussels School of Governance, home to a rich expertise on Asia and working to enhance understanding of Europe's security challenges in the region. Our first in what will be a series of episodes is on disinformation. 

    Disinformation has become somewhat of a buzzword over the last few years, particularly in the wake of Russian interference into the 2016 US election. But what exactly do we mean when we talk about 'disinformation' - and who is spreading it, and how? 

    Governments, academics and journalists have been playing ever closer attention to the phenomenon, especially when it comes to state actors - and for Europe, the US and its allies, that means Russia and China in particular.
     
    But faced with a vast array of actors and motives - from pro-Kremlin troll farms to China's so-called wolf warrior diplomats - what efforts can governments take to lessen their impact?

    To discuss this, we are joined by Lutz Guellner, the Head of Strategic Communications at the European External Action Service , the EU's diplomatic service. And Bonji Ohara, an expert in defence issues and Senior Fellow at the Sasakawa Peace Foundation, joins us from Tokyo.

    For more on this episode, including a reading list, our website asiamatterspod.com has all you need - you can also give us feedback and subscribe to our mailing list there. 

    • 29 min
    ASEAN and Myanmar: How to Handle the Coup Next Door

    ASEAN and Myanmar: How to Handle the Coup Next Door

    ASEAN leaders will meet in Jakarta on April 24 to discuss the ongoing crisis in Myanmar, which has shown no sign of abating since a military coup deposed civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi at the beginning of February.

    Hundreds of thousands of protesters have taken to the streets daily to demand a return to democracy - and the military has sought to quell the anti-coup movement with lethal force. Hundreds of people have been killed and thousands detained. 

    Much hope has been placed in the international community to mediate an end to the turmoil - particularly in the regional stakeholders represented by ASEAN. 

    But Myanmar will be represented at the Jakarta summit by the junta leader Min Aung Hlaing - something that's raised a fair few eyebrows and has highlighted the limitations in what ASEAN can be expected to - and is prepared to - do. 

    To discuss the issue we are joined by two brilliant guests, who both have extensive experience at the very heart of the region's politics. Bilahari Kausikan is the former Permanent Secretary of Singapore's Foreign Ministry, and now the chair of the Middle East Institute at the National University of Singapore. Our other guest, Hoang Thi Ha from the ASEAN Studies Centre of ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute in Singapore, has nine years experience at the ASEAN Secretariat itself and also used to work  at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Vietnam. 

    Our host this week is Bill Hayton, Associate Fellow with the Asia-Pacific Programme at Chatham House. 

    • 33 min
    How China Is Changing - And Being Changed by - the UN

    How China Is Changing - And Being Changed by - the UN

    China’s growing economic clout has seen its influence rise accordingly in major international institutions — and none more so than in the United Nations. 

    For several years now, China has spoken of the UN as the most authoritative multilateral body in world affairs - and it's put its money where its mouth is, becoming the second-biggest contributor to the UN’s finances. Meanwhile, Chinese citizens have taken several leading roles in UN organisations. 
    But China’s growing presence in the organisation has come during a period when the UN's focus has shifted in ways that seem to run counter to Beijing’s interests and beliefs - such as its increased willingness to intervene within countries to resolve conflict or protect human rights. 

    And some of China's actions at the UN - like vetoing attempts to put more pressure on Syria's government -  have drawn heavy criticism from major Western powers, and raised questions about whether its approach to international relations conflicts with the UN’s developing conception of its own role in global affairs.
    To unpick some of these issues, Andrew is  joined by Professor Rosemary Foot, a senior research fellow in the Department of Politics and International Relations at the University of Oxford - and  Dr Courtney Fung, associate professor in International Relations at the University of Hong Kong. 

    For more on this episode, including a reading list, check out our website asiamatterspod.com, where you can also give us feedback and subscribe to our mailing list.

    • 44 min
    China Faces Up To Its Biggest Challenges

    China Faces Up To Its Biggest Challenges

    China’s rulers have been setting out their goals for the country at their big annual political meetings in Beijing. This year’s event held special significance, with policy makers revealing their latest five-year plan for China’s economy, as well as their targets for the environment among a host of other issues.
    We are first joined by two experts to discuss the near-term results from the meetings, and how they assess the current health of China’s economy: Tao Wang, the Hong Kong-based chief China economist and Head of Asia Economic Research at UBS; and Jinny Yan, a managing director and chief China economist at ICBC Standard Bank in London. 
    Later we discuss one of China’s most difficult long-term problems — wealth inequality. We talk to Scott Rozelle, who is a senior fellow and co-director of the Rural Education Action Program in the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies at Stanford University. Scott’s recent book, ‘Invisible China’, is a must-read on this topic, and the growing divide between rural and urban China. 

    • 40 min
    Islands Apart: Pacific Nations In The Covid Era

    Islands Apart: Pacific Nations In The Covid Era

    In this episode we turn to a part of the world we haven’t discussed before — the Pacific Islands. Stretching over a vast area covering some 15% of the earth’s surface, the region is home to diverse countries and cultures, from Papua New Guinea in the West to the Cook Islands in the east, taking in countries such as Fiji and the Solomon Islands, along with smaller nations such as Nauru and Palau. 
    Problems, though, are stacking up. The COVID-19 pandemic is devastating the region’s economy. Meanwhile climate change has become a major security threat for the often low-lying Pacific Islands. What’s more the region has become yet another area of strategic rivalry between China, and the US and other Western nations — primarily Australia.
    Facing these strains, the unity of the Pacific Islands has started to unravel. Five member countries of the Pacific Islands Forum have recently quit the organisation in a dispute over who should take over as its Secretary General. 
    To discuss these and other issues we are first joined by Samoan journalist and commentator Lagipoiva Cherelle Jackson. Later we get perspectives from David Ward, the UK’s high commissioner to Samoa, who previously held a similar post in the Solomon Islands; and Jonathan Pryke, director of the Pacific Islands program at the Lowy Institute in Sydney and a long time researcher on the region.

    • 31 min

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