Asia Matters Podcast

Asia Matters Podcast

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

Episodes

July 19, 2021 38 min

The most shocking political development in Asia so far this year is arguably the seizure of power by the military in Myanmar, and the arrest of the country’s former de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi. The military’s crackdown on protests and other resistance against the coup has so far resulted in hundreds of deaths and thousands of arrests.

In this episode we discuss the impact of the coup on the South East Asian nation, which is als...

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Against all odds, and after much compromise,  the Tokyo Olympic Games are set to go ahead this summer.  With no foreign fans and most spectators banned, it's certainly not the event  Japan would have wanted. 

In this episode we’ll assess the impact and significance of past Olympics in the Asian region, as well as what this summer’s event may mean for Japan. Previous Olympics in Asia have often held huge symbolic importance - fro...

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This week we turn our attention to the Indo-Pacific -   the new geopolitical groupings emerging there, from multilateral trade deals to nascent security arrangements - and how Europe fits in to the picture. 

The most well-known of these new security groups is probably the Quad, a grouping of the major democracies with skin in the game in the region -  namely India, Japan, Australia, and the US.  

But what of Europe, the world's l...

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In July the Chinese Communist Party turns 100. From humble beginnings in a small building in Shanghai's French Concession, the party would go on to seize power, retaining it into the present day, and fundamentally alter the course of China's history. 

A century ago, the CCP's founders would probably not have been able to imagine the influence they would wield and the modern country their party would forge, even if they m...

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For this episode we're taking a look at one of the world’s most intractable geopolitical issues - North Korea - as the second of our collaborations with the Centre for Security, Strategy and Diplomacy at the Brussels School of Governance. 

South Korea’s president Moon Jae-in has just been in Washington for talks with President Biden, in part to discuss how to deal with the long-isolated country. 

And in its first comments reactin...

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This week we set our sights on Japan and South Korea, East Asia's most prominent middle powers. 

With the United States and China showing no sign of backing away from confrontation, we look at what it means for two countries caught between them geographically and politically.

What roles do they see themselves taking on as the Asia-Pacific becomes ever more fractious?  Both are major economic players, with important clout both i...

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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 ...

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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 interfe...

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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 an...

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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 role...

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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 hea...

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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. T...

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After a year-long battle behind closed doors, Vietnam has a new political leadership. At its Congress, which finished on February 1st, the Communist Party selected a new Politburo to run the country for the next five years.  In this episode of Asia Matters we find out why the Party thinks a 76-year-old man with serious health problems is the best person to lead this rapidly changing society.

More than a third of the Politburo are no...

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"Our country was a bird that was just learning to fly. Now the army broke our wings," said one activist. "What was granted by the generals is now being taken back," declared another.

It’s been a dramatic few days in Southeast Asian nation Myanmar - or Burma. The country’s military has seized power again, and arrested several of the country’s civilian leaders, including national figurehead Aung San Suu Kyi. Her party,...

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The US and India are the world's two biggest democracies - and the relationship between them is one  of the world's most important bilateral partnerships. In political, economic and security terms, the two countries have grown closer and closer over the past two decades, with the Trump administration hailing a period of "remarkable growth" in 2020.

Of course, it's no coincidence that this convergence has happene...

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Southeast Asia is becoming an increasingly important geopolitical battleground - and so this week, we put the region's complex relations with China in the spotlight. 

Although many ASEAN nations have deepened their economic ties with Beijing in recent years, there remains a fair bit of wariness towards China's expansion of interests in the region. And of course, responses vary dramatically among individual countries - with f...

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November 29, 2020 45 min

It took a little longer than expected but we finally know who the next American president will be: Democratic candidate Joe Biden. 

The Trump era is drawing to a close then, though some of his policies' repercussions in Asia may well last longer than their instigator. The heightened tensions with China, and his unprecedented one-on-one meetings with North Korea's Kim Jong-un, are perhaps the most memorable. His presidency w...

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When Joko Widodo, widely known as Jokowi, became president of Indonesia in 2014, it completed a stunning rise for a political outsider who had spent much of his previous life running a furniture making company.

With his mastery of retail politics and business know-how, Jokowi seemed set to cut through the bureaucracy and corruption that have bedevilled the development of Indonesia, one of the world’s most populous nations with aroun...

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This week's episode is a deep dive on a company that's transforming not just Asia, but arguably the entire global tech sector - Japan's Softbank. 

Even if you've never heard of Softbank, you'll have heard of the companies it's invested in - from Alibaba to Uber to Tiktok owner Bytedance - and more recently, and disastrously, US property firm WeWork. 

Phred Dvorak, a special correspondent with the Wall Street J...

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September 28, 2020 35 min

In the second of our special editions recorded at the Association for Asian Studies' annual conference, we turn our focus to India. 

Our guest is Pratap Mehta (@pbmehta), one of the country's best-known public intellectuals, who's also the former president of the Centre for Policy Research. 

India has the world's second-highest coronavirus caseload and has been averaging 90,000 cases daily in recent weeks. So how ...

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