China Policy Institute Blog

China and the spectre of water wars in Southeast Asia

Written by Pichamon Yeophantong. In late 2013, controversy over China’s dams on the upper stretches of the Mekong River—otherwise known as the Lancang Jiang—flared up once again. Disbelief quickly spread among the communities of the Lower Mekong Basin when an acute peak in water levels during December resulted in massive flooding in parts of northern …

Beyond the Water Transfer: Five Key Challenges

Written by Sam Geall. At the end of this month, the “middle route” of China’s massive South-to-North Water Transfer project will become operational, supplying Yangtze River water from the Dangjiakou Reservoir in central Hubei province to arid Beijing for the first time. Famously proposed by Mao Zedong in 1952 to address chronic water scarcity in …

Transnational Water Security in Asia: A Leadership Role for Rising Powers?

Written by Katherine Morton. Water security is one of the most intractable challenges confronting Asia’s future. It is widely recognised that climate change combined with other stress factors relating to population growth, urbanisation, and unsustainable development are leading to negative impacts on the availability and quality of the region’s water resources. Equally worrying are the lack …

The Islands In-between

Written by Misato Matsuoka. The “Senkaku”, “Diaoyu” or “Diaoyutai” islands have been at the centre of a long-standing territorial dispute between Japan, China and Taiwan. There is no consensus about the historical trajectory of the ownership of the islands. The tensions, especially between China and Japan, have intensified, triggered by the collision between a Chinese …

Taiwan’s Pivotal Place in Asia’s Territorial Dispute Chessboard

Written by Alex Calvo. A look at the Indian-Pacific Ocean Region reveals a landscape full of territorial disputes, with more than a few featuring regular incidents and a clear risk of escalation. Right in the middle of these disputes stands Taiwan, in more than one way. First of all, geographically, the Island is right between …

The Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands: The Spark for Great Power War?

Written by Harry Kazianis. While China has multiple overlapping territorial claims with many of its neighbors in various parts of the East and South China Seas, none has more potential for great power conflict as claims concerning the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands. In fact, considering this hotly disputed area of the Asia-Pacific is contested by two of …

Amphibious Posturing and the Senkaku Dispute

Written by Ian Bowers. The creation of a Japanese amphibious unit tasked with recapturing the nation’s outermost islands following an invasion is part of a package of measures designed to counteract potential Chinese aggression over the Senkaku islands. However, the use of military force to decide the dispute is unlikely given the inherent difficulty of …

Korea’s ‘Dokdo’ Claim is about more than just Territory – It’s Identity

Written by Robert E. Kelly. Korea and Japan have been locked in an on-again/off-again dispute over two small volcanic rocks in the Sea of Japan since the 1950s. In Korea, these two rocks are known as ‘Dokdo’ (독도); in Japan, they are called ‘Takeshima’ (たけしま). In the West, they are called the ‘Liancourt Rocks,’ after …

Cross-Strait relations after the Sunflower movement

Written by Vincent Wei-cheng Wang. It has been six months since the Sunflower Movement (SFM). The student protest movement initially caught the KMT, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), and the United States by surprise because it appeared a sudden and unexpected reaction against the Cross-Strait Services and Trade Agreement (CSSTA), abruptly halting further progress in …

Human Resources as China’s National Power: Why Document No. 35 Is Not Enough

Written by Huang Wei. China’s State Council recently issued Implementation Opinions on Deepening the Reform of Admission System ([2014] No.35), which outlined the forthcoming reform in higher education admission. The guiding principle of the proposed reform is to enhance the fairness and efficiency of the selection of talent. Pilot reforms will start in 2014, expand …