International organizations

This photo taken on 2 July 2022 shows coal loaded on trains at a coal plant in Huaibei, in China's eastern Anhui province. (AFP)

A happy birthday to China’s national emissions trading scheme

Erik Baark points out some of the peculiarities of China’s emissions trading system (ETS) with Chinese characteristics on its one-year anniversary. Going forward, will the Chinese ETS gradually morph into an ETS in the likes of the EU ETS as it works towards meeting its dual carbon ambitions?
A screen shows a CCTV state media news broadcast of Chinese President Xi Jinping, addressing the BRICS Business Forum via video link, at a shopping center in Beijing, China, 23 June 2022. (Thomas Peter/Reuters)

China’s Global Security Initiative stoking regional tensions

China has doubled down on its alignment with Russia against the West. This has led to a proliferation of minilaterals and security partnerships aligned with the US. China's launch of its Global Security Initiative is not helping to assuage Western worries of Chinese ambitions and countries in the region are also wary. What will this mean for Southeast Asia?
Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong with the ASEAN Committee of Permanent Representatives at the ASEAN Secretariat, 6 June 2022. (Twitter/@SenatorWong)

'Hard yakka' ahead for Australia and ASEAN relations

Australia has made significant inroads in its engagement with ASEAN. But Canberra’s relationship with the grouping will be a hard slog, given their differences in approaching China and ensuring that China-US rivalry does not derail regional aspirations. In the meantime, Australia remains involved with the US in groupings including AUKUS and the Quad, maintaining relations with Japan and India.
A mourner pays respects to late former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who was shot while campaigning for a parliamentary election, in Taipei, Taiwan, 11 July 2022. (Ann Wang/Reuters)

21st century strategist: Shinzo Abe left an indelible mark on geopolitics in Asia-Pacific

Political commentator William He observes that the late Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was a statesman who influenced US foreign policy and a key player in making “the Indo-Pacific strategy” and “the Quad” the lexicon of recent times. He was also an active defender of stability in the Taiwan Strait. All said, he might have been a controversial figure, but the legacy he leaves behind is a tangible record that history can be the judge of.
People shop at the Grand Bazaar in Tehran, Iran, on 13 June 2022. (Atta Kenare/AFP)

Iran seeks greater regional role through full membership of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation

While some pundits have it that Iran sees gaining full membership of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation in terms of geopolitics, Fan Hongda thinks that the more bread-and-butter concern of strengthening economic and trade cooperation is on its mind. But this is not to say that Iran does not harbour ambitions of playing a greater regional role.
US President Joe Biden speaks with members of the media before boarding Marine One for a weekend in Rehoboth, Delaware, at the White House in Washington, US, 17 June 2022. (Evelyn Hockstein/Reuters)

US sets up strategic obstacles against 'autocratic' China

Political commentator William He notes that the Biden administration is clear and sharp with its China policy and strategy. It is setting up strategic obstacles to contain "autocratic" China, addressing long-term fundamental issues such as the right to speak on global values and order, and maintaining the lead in military powers and forming alliances.
US President Joe Biden delivers remarks along with India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Japan's Prime Minister Fumio Kishida during the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity (IPEF) launch event at Izumi Garden Gallery in Tokyo, Japan, 23 May 2022. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

No new market access, but IPEF could be a promising start

The newly launched Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity has arguably low or no ambition around market access, but perhaps because of its non-contentious nature, could be a promising start. Countries in the region welcome options amid fears of Chinese economic coercion and may just provide the momentum needed when the time is ripe.
Quad summit leaders US President Joe Biden and India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Kantei Palace in Tokyo, Japan, 24 May 2022. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

India in Quad: Black sheep or dark horse

The joint statement issued following the Quad leaders’ summit in Tokyo on 24 May neither condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine nor committed the quartet to imposing economic sanctions on Russia. The twin failure or reluctance was largely attributed to India’s unwillingness to jeopardise its deep ties to Russia. But even before the Russia-Ukraine conflict, analysts have been describing India as an “outlier” in the group. Is India really the weakest link, or will it eventually emerge as the keystone in the quartet?
US President Joe Biden, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Japan's Prime Minister Fumio Kishida listen to other leaders joining the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity (IPEF) launch event virtually, at Izumi Garden Gallery in Tokyo, Japan, 23 May 2022. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

IPEF: How committed are the US and ASEAN countries?

Recent moves by the US, not least President Biden's recent launch of the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity (IPEF), are meant to woo Asian countries. Several ASEAN countries are receptive to the IPEF and the US naturally considers those who join as "friends". But will this count for much? Japanese academic Seiya Sukegawa examines the many unanswered questions with regard to the new framework.