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Only a few countries made
the leap from developing to advanced industrial nations in the 20th century.
Among the fortunate five, four are from East Asia: Japan, Singapore, South Korea
and Taiwan. Their politics and economic policies have varied widely over the
decades, but at least one common denominator stands out: a rigorous early
selection process for their political and business elites based on academic
China & Northeast Asia
vulnerability of Russia’s Far Eastern and Siberian regions to Chinese expansion
has become a truism. Yet most Russians seem to favor closer ties with China,
and bilateral relations may be at their best in history, without a trace of
military or political tension. There are also few signs of Chinese economic
penetration, at least on a level that exceeds Japan’s or South Korea’s.
Migration pressure from China into the underpopulated Russian north may be the
hollowest of these popular myths.
Russia & Central Asia
China’s National People’s Congress recently abolished term and age limits for the highest offices, including that of president. While the changes may not mean much for the workings of the Chinese party-state or the country’s development, they are part of a broader effort by President Xi Jinping to expand his influence and that of the Communist Party.
While Russia focuses on its geopolitical objectives
in Central Asia, China’s primarily interest is in the region’s mineral and
energy resources. As recipients of Chinese investments and development aid, the
five Central Asian countries – Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan
and Uzbekistan – are seeking to leverage the two powers’ competition for their
Battulga Khaltmaa won the 2017 presidential race in Mongolia with the sort of discourse that
has been also heard from populists in the West, but the country’s well-balanced
constitutional system and its ingrained culture of consensus decision-making are
shielding one of Asia’s rare democracies from backsliding into authoritarian
might be one of the only countries with which North Korea could have a normal conversation: the countries have historically had friendly ties. And
Mongolia has hosted negotiations between North Korea and Japan, for example,
before. However, a wide gap remains between Pyongyang’s goals and the West’s.
Until the sides come to the negotiating table, Mongolia will play its own role: showcasing an example of a country in Northeast Asia with communist roots that achieved security without pursuing nuclear weapons.
Fed up with economic and
political drift, Mongolian voters handed the center-left opposition a crushing victory
in the June 29 general election. What the new government does with its
constitutional majority is another question. To keep the sputtering economy
afloat, it will have to strike shrewd bargains with powerful neighbors and
Over the past 25 years Mongolia has benefited substantially from its ‘multi-pillar’ foreign policy. The country prioritised relations with its two powerful neighbours – Russia and China – creating a geopolitical context that has enhanced its security and economic growth. At the same time, Mongolia developed the concept of ‘third neighbours’ – large, global powers w...
Mongolia is a large, sparsely populated, landlocked country sandwiched between two much stronger neighbours: Russia and China. For much of the past 300 years, the country has been dominated by one or the other of these two powers. Since its transition to democracy and a market economy in the early 1990s, it has pursued a ‘multi-pillar’ foreign policy that looks to ...