Will Development Lead to Democratisation in Vietnam and China?

[ISEAS Perspective #23/2014]

Many countries around the world have undergone a transition to democracy over the last few decades. In the 1980s and 1990s, the so-called “third wave of democratisation”1 swept through Asia to bring about democratic transitions in nine countries: Bangladesh (1990), Indonesia (1998), Mongolia (1990), Nepal (1990), Pakistan (1988), the Philippines (1986), South Korea (1987), Taiwan (1987), and Thailand (1992). In tandem with fast-changing world developments, both the scholarly community and policy practitioners have been revisiting the processes of democracy-building and discussing how democracies develop. Continue reading “Will Development Lead to Democratisation in Vietnam and China?”

[MA] China continues SEA charm offensive

[The Straits Time] On Monday night, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang stopped by a small shop in Ha Noi. The shop, which was about to close for the night, stayed open for its VIP customer.

As Li bought some tea, he asked the shop owner not to give him a discount and said that “we are making a fair trade”.

The exchange, which the Chinese state media highlighted with several photos of an affable-looking Li in the shop, gave a sideways glimpse of China’s latest efforts to soften its image and win over its neighbours anew.

In recent years, the region has grown leery of the country’s assertiveness and territorial ambitions, particularly in the resource-rich South China Sea – a sentiment which Beijing has tried to soothe in the past two weeks. Continue reading “[MA] China continues SEA charm offensive”

Hoa Kỳ nên chia quyền với Trung Quốc?

[BBC Vietnamese] Thời gian qua, một số học giả, trong đó nổi bật là GS. Hugh White, cựu Thứ trưởng Quốc phòng Úc và hiện là Giám đốc Trung tâm Nghiên cứu Chiến lược và Quốc phòng thuộc Đại học Quốc gia Úc, đã lập luận rằng do Trung Quốc nổi lên trở thành một siêu cường ở khu vực Châu Á – Thái Bình Dương, đã đến lúc nước này được đóng một vai trò lớn hơn trong trật tự khu vực, tới một mức độ mà theo đó Mỹ nên từ bỏ vị thế bá chủ để chia sẻ vai trò lãnh đạo khu vực của mình với Trung Quốc.

Lập luận này cho rằng việc Mỹ có chấp nhận thực tế này hay không sẽ có tác động sâu xa đối với khu vực, vì việc Mỹ quyết tâm nắm giữ vị thế bá chủ nhất định sẽ dẫn tới sự bất mãn ngày càng gia tăng của Trung Quốc. Kết cục là cạnh tranh chiến lược Mỹ – Trung ngày càng sâu sắc và hòa bình, ổn định trong khu vực sẽ phải gánh chịu hậu quả về lâu dài. Continue reading “Hoa Kỳ nên chia quyền với Trung Quốc?”

Should the US forgo its primacy to accommodate China?

[The Strategist] Professor Hugh White, a respected Australian academic and strategist, has long argued that as China has emerged as a great power in the Asia Pacific, it’s time for the Middle Kingdom to play a greater role in the regional order, to the extent that the United States should forgo its long-standing primacy and share its regional leadership with China. Whether the US comes to terms with this fact, White contends, has far reaching implications for the region, as the US insistence on its primacy will inevitably lead to China’s growing grievances. As a consequence, US–China strategic rivalry will intensify and regional peace and stability will suffer in the long run.

White’s argument is valid with respect to China’s impressive economic and military rise over the last three decades, which brings it greater respect and influence in regional affairs. However, whether China should enjoy a greater regional status rests not only on its growing power, but also its moral authority and regional acceptance. The region’s future peace and stability, therefore, is not determined by whether the US forgoes its primacy or not, but primarily by how China behaves to prove it deserves such a concession from the US. Continue reading “Should the US forgo its primacy to accommodate China?”

Vietnam’s strategic trajectory: From internal development to external engagement

[ASPI Strategic Insights] Vietnam has recently emerged as a key player in Southeast Asia. Strategically located at the heart of the Asia–Pacific region, Vietnam is home to a population of 88 million people and a promising economy that has registered an average annual growth rate of around 7% over the past decade. Since adopting the ‘Doi Moi’ (‘renovation’) policy in the late 1980s, Vietnam has also been pursuing an active and constructive foreign policy aimed at diversifying and multilateralising its external relations. Vietnam’s quest for deeper international economic integration and a greater political role has therefore brought the international community an opportunity to engage the once‑pariah state in building a peaceful, stable and prosperous regional order.  Continue reading “Vietnam’s strategic trajectory: From internal development to external engagement”

Trung Quốc và tư tưởng “sùng binh”

[BBC Vietnamese] Trải qua hàng ngàn năm lịch sử, các triều đại phong kiến Trung Quốc thường được tạo dựng và phát triển bởi các tướng lĩnh.

Trong những triều đại khi mà các vị hoàng đế không trực tiếp cầm quân thì các tướng lĩnh tài ba luôn được trọng vọng. Đồng thời các vương triều cũng luôn hướng tới mục tiêu xây dựng một lực lượng “binh hùng tướng mạnh”. Continue reading “Trung Quốc và tư tưởng “sùng binh””

China’s “Cult of the Military”

[The Diplomat] Under Chinese Communist Party rule, the influence of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) on Chinese domestic politics has generally been carefully controlled, and Chinese generals today appear to enjoy a less privileged status than in centuries past, when they created and ruled states, or played a key role in helping emperors expand territory, maintain social order and suppress rebels. Continue reading “China’s “Cult of the Military””

Law and the South China Sea

[The Diplomat] To help control potential armed conflicts in the South China Sea, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations has recently pressed China to conclude a Code of Conduct (COC) to replace the Declaration of Conduct (DOC) of Parties in the South China Sea that was signed between ASEAN and China in 2002. Continue reading “Law and the South China Sea”