The Policy File

Your weekly round-up of Asia-Pacific policy links and analysis

Kelly Hayward

Uncategorized

8 April 2016

Each week on the Policy File we round-up some essential weekend policy reading from around the web. This week we look at the fallout from The Panama Papers leak, China’s trade sanctions on North Korea; and the Indonesia-China stand-off on the high seas. 

A leak of more than 11.5 million files – The Panama Papers – has exposed the murky world of offshore banking. The leak has had an immediate and dramatic effect, forcing one Prime Minister to step aside, and pulling a range of high-profile public figures into its orbit, including Vladimir Putin, David Cameron, and the new FIFA President Gianni Infantino. William Mauldin and Laura Saunders at The Wall Street Journal break down the papers, the leaks, and the policies that may come after, while Luke Harding at The Guardian looks at the transfer of wealth and what it reveals. On Vox, this clever video explains The Panama Papers via a cartoon about piggy banks.

The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists looks at the leaders, criminals, victims and the law engulfing the scandal, while Jon Lee Anderson at The New Yorker looks at the secret life of Panama City and the ‘anything-goes’ business and banking system that helped build it. Over in Beijing, meanwhile, censors have been working hard to ensure that news of the leaks does not penetrate China’s Great Firewall.

This week China imposed trade sanctions on neighbouring North Korea in response to the country’s recent nuclear blasts. Shannon Tiezzi at The Diplomat takes a look at China flexing its muscles and considers what it could mean for international diplomacy between the countries. Eleanor Albert and Beina Xu at the Council on Foreign Relations, meanwhile, look at an alliance under stress and how it could impact North Korea’s food and energy supplies – largely imported from China.

Zhu Feng at The New York Times says Beijing’s changing policy to North Korea signals political abandonment of a once close ally, while John Carlson on Policy Forum says the international community – including China – must do whatever it can to stop North Korea’s nuclear program.

A stand-off between Indonesian and Chinese ships over illegal fishing near the contested South China Sea has made waves between the two countries. Evan A Laksmana on New Mandala takes a look at what it reveals about Indonesia’s foreign policy, while Lachlan Wilson on The National Interest asks if the incident could be the next crisis to make a splash. Susan Mocker on Eurasia Review, meanwhile, looks at the foreign policy of President Joko Widodo, questioning his ability to weather a crisis.

What will it take to make the Sustainable Development Goals a success? On Policy Forum, Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations Shamshad Akhtar says for change to happen a more integrated approach is needed that involves both policy approaches and civil society movements. Ramesh Thakur, though, says the SDGs are a ‘dog’s breakfast’ rather than a coherent development agenda.

Michelle Nayahamui Rooney on DevPolicy Blog looks at development challenges facing Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, while on the latest Policy Forum Pod, Joseph Zveglich and Christopher Edmonds of the Asian Development Bank discuss key issues facing the region in 2016, particularly in the wake of the Chinese economic slowdown.

Alcohol remains a complex challenge for policymakers in Australia, with more than 5,500 deaths each year, and more than 150,000 hospital admissions. On Policy Forum, Michael Livingston looks at the challenges of balancing policy and popularity. Turning to Asia, Jamie Doward on The Guardian says the UN’s war on drugs has failed to meet expectations, and it’s time to consider a new approach.

David Sim on International Business Insider takes a closer look at drug production and trafficking in Southeast Asia’s ‘Golden Triangle’, while Gloria Lai looks at why ASEAN’s drug-free dream is failing.

Don’t forget you can debate key public policy issues by joining the Asia and the Pacific Policy Society’s LinkedIn group – a closed group exclusive to Society Members.  Be part of the conversation – we’ll see you there.

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Hayward, K. (2016). The Policy File - Policy Forum. [online] Policy Forum. Available at: http://www.policyforum.net/8-april-2016/ 

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