Global Challenges

  • China could divert climate change measures to help its economy.

    China's Economic Woes May Affect its Commitment to Climate Change

    As the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases, China is under the spotlight in the global climate regime. In recent years, the country has become increasingly active in international climate negotiations, announcing ambitious mitigation goals. However, with its slowing economic growth rate, how committed can we expect China to be?

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  • Can't we all just get along in the South China Sea?

    Are Calmer Heads and Seas Prevailing in the South China Sea?

    In July, the much anticipated Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) decision on the South China Sea was delivered in favour of the Philippines. While Chinese propaganda machines were in full gear denouncing the ruling and the PCA, there is so far no sign that China is overreacting to the ruling. China has also been quite conciliatory towards the new presidential administration in the Philippines.

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  • Experts are discounting improved security in the South China Sea.

    The PCA's Ruling was Supposed to Help South China Sea Security

    The Permanent Court of Arbitration’s (PCA) ruling in the South China Sea case filed by the Philippines has been labelled a ‘sweeping victory’ against China. It concluded that China has no legal basis to claim historic rights within the nine-dash line in the South China Sea and that none of the land features in the Spratlys meet the criteria for an island that China — or any other country — can use to claim a 200-nautical-mile exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

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  • South Korea's new THAAD missile system has China up in arms.

    Has a Missile Defense System Ever Not Caused Tension?

    After hesitating for several years, South Korea decided to let the US-made Terminal High Altitude Area Defence (THAAD) anti-missile system be deployed in North Gyeongsang Province. Seoul and Washington say the deployment is only targeted against North Korea, but the ability of the radar system to detect and track Chinese strategic missiles could pose a serious threat to China’s nuclear deterrent. Without a downgrade of capabilities, a fully operational THAAD will likely sour Sino–ROK relations and trigger an expansion of China’s nuclear arsenal.

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  • China and ASEAN will have to be good shareres in the South China Sea.

    Shaping a New Normal in the South China Sea

    Almost 30 years to the day that a young, Harvard-trained American lawyer won a famous judgment at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) against the United States, Paul S Reichler pulled off another momentous victory at The Hague. This time the judgment was against China for having breached its international treaty obligations in the South China Sea.

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  • The South China Sea will be this century's flashpoint.

    The Flashpoint that is the South China Sea

    Clearing the haze of speculation, the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) handed down its ruling on the maritime dispute between China and the Philippines on 12 July. The Philippines filed the case under Annex VII of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) in 2013. The Tribunal found that China’s claimed ‘nine-dash line’ has no legal basis under UNCLOS and China could claim no ‘historic rights’ to resources in the South China Sea.

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  • The TPP backtracks on the environment and human rights.

    Hillary Clinton, the TPP, and the Environment

    Hillary Clinton and many of her fellow Democrats meeting in Philadelphia hope to show the party unity arguably lacking when the Republicans gathered in Cleveland.  A sticking point to a unified Democratic Party, however, has been the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), one of the most contentious topics of debate between supporters of Clinton and erstwhile rival Bernie Sanders.

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  • The Hague ruled in favor of the Philippines...now what?

    Can The Hague's South China Sea Ruling be Enforced?

    Southeast Asia has descended into a maritime insecurity spiral since the April–June 2012 standoff at Scarborough Shoal between Chinese maritime security forces and the Philippine Navy, which motivated Manila to initiate legal arbitration proceedings in The Hague.

    The Permanent Court of Arbitration’s (PCA) ruling in favour of the Philippines will be difficult to enforce. To forestall an even more intense security dilemma in the South China Sea, regional policymakers should not lose sight of four vital underlying strategic trends.

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  • China and Russia have competing approaches to North Korea.

    North Korea is the Thorn in Russia and China's Side

    On 25 June 2016, Russian President Vladimir Putin met his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping in Beijing to discuss expanding the China–Russia strategic partnership. Much of their efforts in this direction so far have entailed taking steps to promote bilateral cooperation on economic issues and security. However, beyond this bilateral arrangement a recurring theme in the China–Russia rapprochement in recent years has been the need to balance out a unipolar US-centric global order.

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