Asia Unbound

Asia Unbound

CFR fellows and other experts assess the latest issues emerging in Asia today.

Latest Post

Students wearing face masks and face shields sit as they attend a flag-raising ceremony as schools nationwide reopened, in Pathum Thani province, Thailand on July 1, 2020. Athit Perawongmetha/Reuters

Mainland Southeast Asia's Battle Against COVID-19

With the exception of Thailand, the five countries of mainland Southeast Asia are some of the poorest in the Asia-Pacific region. According to the World Bank, Cambodia has a per capita GDP of around $1,500, while Myanmar’s is roughly $1,300. Laos and Vietnam fare only marginally better, each at just over $2,500. Their political systems run the gamut from semi-democracies to authoritarian one-party states. Yet they effectively suppressed COVID-19, proving far more effective in addressing the pandemic than most developed countries, including the United States. Read More

China's Retrograde Rural Land Policies
Despite rhetoric to the contrary, rural land reform is a perennial problem for the Chinese government.
Southeast Asia
Vietnam’s Response to the United States’ Changing Approach to the South China Sea
Huong Le Thu is a senior analyst at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute. July 2020 marked a significant shift in developments regarding the South China Sea. The Trump administration announce…
Coronavirus in South Asia, July 2020: No End in Sight for India
Experts continue to be concerned about low levels of COVID-19 testing across South Asia.
  • Southeast Asia
    The Implications of the Najib Razak Case
    On Tuesday (Malaysia time), a Malaysian court found former Prime Minister Najib tun Razak guilty on seven counts of corruption, and sentenced him to twelve years in jail and a nearly $50 million fine…
  • Southeast Asia
    Elections Have Consequences in Singapore Too
    Meredith Weiss is professor and chair of political science in the Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy of the University at Albany, SUNY. As anticipated, the incumbent People’s Action …
  • Southeast Asia
    Do Thailand’s Weekend Protests Signal Renewed Opposition Energy?
    Last weekend in Thailand, protestors demanding changes in the Thai constitution, new elections, an end to harassment of activists and other government critics, the reduction of the role of the army i…
  • South Korea
    Remembering General Paik Sun-yup
    Without Paik’s herculean effort, South Korea as we know it today—a vibrant, capitalist, and liberal democracy—wouldn’t exist.
  • Southeast Asia
    Singapore’s Election: The PAP Triumphs, But Long-Term Trends Suggest a Viable Opposition
    In last Friday’s election, Singapore’s long-ruling People’s Action Party (PAP), as usual, won a large share of the seats in parliament. With roughly 61 percent of the total vote, the PAP took eighty-…
  • Southeast Asia
    Dents to Ruling Party in Singapore Election
    By the normally staid, unchanging standards of Singapore politics, Friday’s election appears to be delivering significant changes. Though official results are not yet out as I write this, initial cou…
  • North Korea
    Disruption and Realignment Are Necessary for Peace in Korea
    The Korean War had hybrid origins as a civil war, a regional conflict, and a flashpoint in the global bipolar competition. The peninsular, regional, and global dimensions of the confrontation pointed…