Asia Unbound
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Asia Unbound

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

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A police officer checks a passenger's body temperature at a quarantine checkpoint amid the reimposed strict lockdown to curb COVID-19 infections, in Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines, on August 5, 2020. Eloisa Lopez/Reuters

COVID-19 Batters Asia’s Already-Struggling Democracies

Over the past fifteen years, democracy across Asia has regressed. Although the region still has strong democracies like South Korea, Japan and Taiwan, many other leading Asian democracies and countries with democratic potential have slid backwards, turning into near-autocracies or outright authoritarian states. While Thailand had been one of the freest states in Asia in the late 1990s and early 2000s, it has suffered two military coups in the past decade and now is run by a parliamentary government that took power after a seriously flawed election in 2019. Read More

Southeast Asia
Thailand’s Dangerous Political Interregnum
Pavin Chachavalpongpun is associate professor at Kyoto University’s Center of Southeast Asian Studies. King Maha Vajiralongkorn ascended the throne in October 2016, ending the authoritative and l…
Southeast Asia
Cambodia Begins Oil Production, But Who Will Benefit?
Late last year, Cambodia finally began oil production, from offshore fields in the Gulf of Thailand. A joint venture between the Cambodian government and Singaporean company KrisEnergy Ltd started pr…
South Korea
U.S.-South Korea Alliance: A New Vision For The Global Challenges Ahead
This article is co-authored with Chaesung Chun, Patrick Cronin and Sang-hyun Lee. The U.S.-South Korea alliance has survived for almost seven decades, and has sustained peace on the Korean peninsu…
  • China
    "Road Kill in a Game of Chicken": China, Canada, and the United States
    It has been over two years since Chinese officials detained Canadians Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor. How the next U.S. administration handles this issue could foreshadow the future of U.S.-Canada relations.
  • Southeast Asia
    Southeast Asia Events to Watch: Part 2
    The effects of COVID-19 on Southeast Asia’s health, economies, and political systems will not be the only stories to watch in the region in 2021, although they will surely be among the most important…
  • Southeast Asia
    Southeast Asia Events to Watch in 2021: Part 1
    The past year was a highly eventful one in Southeast Asia. The region suffered significantly from the global pandemic, and yet it also contained some of the states with the best records on COVID-19 i…
  • Japan
    Japan-South Korea Relations and the Biden Factor
    President-Elect Biden and his team come at a critical time for Japan-South Korea relations.
  • Japan
    Global Health Needs U.S.-Japan Partnership
    James Gannon is the executive director of the Japan Center for International Exchange (JCIE/USA). For decades, the United States and Japan have touted their bilateral partnership on global health …
  • Asia
    Assessing China’s Digital Silk Road: A Transformative Approach to Technology Financing or a Danger to Freedoms?
    As part of China’s massive Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), the biggest infrastructure undertaking in the world, Beijing has launched the Digital Silk Road (DSR). Announced in 2015 with a loose mandat…
  • South Korea
    Returning Seoul-Tokyo Relations to Normalcy
    Worsening Japan-South Korea relations have unprecedented ramifications for the economic and security fields.