Asia’s Key Issues in 2014

Article by Daniel Um

Photograph from: http://chaurahha.files.wordpress.com/2013/03/2012-07-11-cartoon.jpg

 In recent years, Asia’s rapid development has brought it to the forefront of international investment and scrutiny.   Average income per capita in East Asia has quadrupled in the last century and poverty is now down to only 11%.   But due to the emergence of the multiple Asian powers, competition has steepened and geopolitical conflicts have surfaced.   In light of Asia’s rise, The National Bureau of Asian Research has published its 2014 Asia-Pacific Watch List of “Eleven Key Issues for the Coming Year”.  This report includes:

  1. Growing Tension in Northeast Asia

  2. North Korea: We’re in for a Bumpy Ride

  3. Xi Jinping and the Future of China

  4. PLA (Peoples Liberation Army) Developments

  5. Dim Prospects for the South China Sea

  6. Asia’s Energy Security Outlook

  7. Leadership Transitions Across the Asia-Pacific

  8. India-Pakistan Rivalry in Afghanistan

  9. Myanmar Steps into the Limelight

  10. Prospects for Regional Economic Integration

  11. Asian FDI (Foreign Direct Investment) in the United States

 The issue of particular significance to the Philippines is the ‘Dim Prospects for the South China Sea’.  Asian countries such as China, the Philippines, Brunei, Taiwan, Malaysia and Vietnam are all claiming ownership of the Spratly Islands in attempt to exploit the abundant supply of oil and natural gas.  According to UNCLOS (United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea), the Spratly islands belong to the Philippines because they are located 200 nautical miles off the Philippine’s shoreline.  But China claims sovereignty over the South China Sea, thus asserting domain over the Islands. The maritime dispute is still ongoing with external powers such as the United States playing crucial decisive roles.

To read more about the dispute or any of the 11 issues, refer to the following document: http://elibrary.worldbank.org/doi/book/10.1596/0-8213-2386-5

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