Show cover of CSDS-Asia Matters Podcast

CSDS-Asia Matters Podcast

In the CSDS-Asia Matters Podcast, we go beyond the headlines with experts from around the globe to help explain what's shaping the region.


‘From Shrimp to Whale’: A History of Modern Korea
South Korea has undoubtedly become a major player both in regional and — increasingly — global geopolitics. A remarkable period of economic growth in recent decades has led it to become the world’s tenth largest economy, home to global corporate giants such as Samsung and Hyundai. Yet the country’s post World War Two politics has been marked by drama, particularly as it transitioned to democracy in the 1980s, and more recently, as the threat from neighbour North Korea has intensified. Meanwhile South Korea’s growing influence on the world stage has been buttressed by its extraordinary cultural success, particularly with the rise of K-Pop and the popularity of Korean cinema.Our regular contributor Ramon Pacheco Pardo, the Korea Chair at the Centre for Security, Diplomacy and Strategy at the Brussels School of Governance, is our guest this week to discuss his new book, ‘From Shrimp to Whale’, in which he captures many of these themes. Joining him is Kim Eun Mee, Professor and Dean at the Graduate School of International Studies and the Director of the Institute for Development and Human Security at Ewha Womans University in Seoul.
38:54 28/09/22
The Legacy of Shinzo Abe
The assassination of former Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe on 8th July shocked the world, with tributes pouring in from all over the globe. Abe, Japan’s longest serving prime minister until he stepped down in 2020, was arguably one of the country’s most consequential leaders. He oversaw a programme of economic reform at home, which came to be known as Abenomics, as well as a reorientation of Japan’s approach to foreign policy and national security.In this episode we look at Abe's legacy, particularly when it comes to international affairs. We are thrilled to be joined by Eva Pejsova, senior Japan fellow at the Centre for Security, Diplomacy and Strategy at the Brussels School of Governance; and Dr Mike Green, chief executive of the US Studies Centre at the University of Sydney and the author of ‘Line of Advantage - Japan’s Grand Strategy in the Era of Shinzo Abe.’ 
42:42 19/07/22
An overlooked actor? Japan's role in South East Asia
This episode focuses on Japan’s role in Asia, and in particular its somewhat overlooked relations with South East Asia.While there is plenty of coverage of China’s increasing economic and diplomatic clout in the region, Japan — still, of course, the world’s third largest economy — has for decades been a major investor in the region. Not only that, it has also built strong diplomatic ties with southeast Asian nations and has recently been co-operating more closely on defence issues too, most recently signing a deal with Thailand.At a time when inter-state relations in Asia are evolving and becoming more complex, we wanted to look at Japan's significant presence in the region — and also to understand how countries there view that role. To do so, we have regular guest Eva Pejsova, a senior Japan fellow at CSDS with a research portfolio that focuses on security issues in the Indo-Pacific region. And we’re delighted to be joined for the first time by Maria Thaemar Tana, an assistant professor in international relations at the University of the Philippines. 
40:58 12/07/22
The uneasy alliance between North Korea and China
With tensions around North Korea starting to make headlines again, in this episode we look at relations between Pyongyang and its closest ally, China. The North Korean army has already carried out more missile tests this year than ever before, according to the US government - and speculation is mounting that the one-party state may be about to launch its first nuclear missile tests in five years. Despite their geographical and ideological proximity, China and North Korea have had an up-and-down relationship over the years. So how are the two countries co-operating now? What do both Beijing and Pyongyang want from their relationship, and how far would China go to defend its ally? Our guests this week are Tongfi Kim, Research Professor in Asian Geopolitics at the Centre for Security, Diplomacy and Strategy at the Brussels School of Governance; and Jiyoung Ko, Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science and International Relations at Korea University. 
34:50 04/07/22
The Philippines: A Family Business
At the end of June, the Philippines will formally inaugurate a new leadership – but it will feature two very familiar names. There will be a second ‘President Ferdinand Marcos’; and another Duterte – Sara, daughter of the current president – will become vice-president.The new President Marcos, generally known as Bongbong, is the son of the man who led the Philippines from the time he was elected in 1965 until he was deposed by a ‘people power’ revolution in 1986. During the two decades in between, Marcos Senior amassed billions of dollars in private wealth, oversaw the killing and disappearance of thousands of political opponents, imposed martial law and created a debt-fuelled economic boom which ended in a major recession.Sara Duterte is the daughter of a man who has polarised the Philippines during the past six years, the current president, Rodrigo Duterte. His signature policy was a ‘war on drugs’ which has caused the deaths of somewhere between six and thirty thousand people.Despite these chequered family backgrounds both Bongbong Marcos and Sara Duterte were elected with huge majorities in the elections on May 9th. Now the dust has settled, we’re going to find out how they did it and what it means for the country.Our first guest is Ronald Holmes, president of Pulse Asia, one of the Philippines' leading public opinion research companies. He's also Professor of Politics at De La Salle University in Manila.Joining him is Maria Ela Atienza, Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of the Philippines. Our guest host for this episode is Bill Hayton, Associate Fellow with the Asia-Pacific Programme at the London-based think-tank, Chatham House. As ever, you can find out more about the episodes on our website. 
39:35 22/05/22
Asia’s Response to the War in Ukraine
This episode examines the responses of three of Asia’s most prominent nations to Russia's invasion of Ukraine: Japan, India, and Korea.The war has not only brought dreadful suffering to the Ukrainian people, as well as heavy losses for the Russian army - it has also upended many of the assumptions that have guided international relations for decades.  Indeed, it's arguably the biggest change to the geopolitical order since the fall of the Soviet Union. Joining Andrew Peaple to discuss the topic are  two familiar voices from the Centre for Security, Diplomacy and Strategy at the Brussels School of Governance: Eva Pejsova, senior Japan fellow at CSDS, and Ramon Pacheco Pardo, who holds the Korea chair at the Centre. And to discuss the implications for India,  Garima Mohan joins the show.  She is a fellow in the Asia Program at the German Marshall Fund of the United States, where she leads work on India. As ever, you can find more information, including episode transcripts, on our website.
38:08 04/04/22
Close and nasty: South Korea's divisive election
South Korea’s closest presidential election since it became a democracy in 1987 has led to victory for the conservative Yoon Seok-yeol, who will now take office for a five-year term in May. His win comes at a time of difficulty, with North Korea once again testing missiles and nearby Russia engaged in war in Europe. At home, Yoon faces pressing economic issues such as runaway house prices and an aging population, while he has faced criticism for his stance on social issues such as gender equality. Joining us to discuss the hows and whys of the election and what Yoon’s win might mean for Korea and the broader region are three well-placed experts.Ramon Pacheco Pardo holds the Korea chair at the Centre for Security, Diplomacy and Strategy at the Brussels School of Governance. From Seoul we are joined by Timothy Martin, Korea bureau chief for The Wall Street Journal, and CNN's Yoonjung Seo. 
32:42 15/03/22
Women's Lives In Modern China
On the eve of International Women's Day, we're bringing you a special podcast in collaboration with King's College London's Lau China Institute, looking at the lives of women in China today. In this episode we look at the challenges facing young Chinese women in balancing their jobs and home lives, and the prejudices they often face in the workplace, with a particular look at the effects of China's massive internal migration in recent years.What kind of position do women hold in the modern Chinese state? How has the country's extraordinary economic growth over the last few decades affected them both professionally and socially? With the birth rate in China having dropped to its lowest level on record, what impact is the government's push to increase it having on women? To answer these questions and more, we spoke to Ye Liu, a senior lecturer in international development at King's College London. Her research has focused on education and gender inequalities in China. She was joined by Deborah Davis, professor of sociology at Yale University, whose 2014 book, ‘Wives, Husbands and Lovers’ focused on marriage and sexuality in Hong Kong, Taiwan, and urban China. Over the course of the year we'll be bringing you a special series of China focused episodes, working with the Lau China Institute, the largest centre of its kind in the UK. It exists to build a greater understanding of China, both in the UK and across the globe through education, research and outreach. To find out more, please visit
39:52 04/03/22
ASEAN and the European Union - Kindred Spirits or Worlds Apart?
Welcome to the inaugural episode of CSDS-Asia Matters, in which we continue our mission to bring together policy experts and academics to dissect the factors shaping today’s Asia. It's a huge pleasure for us to be formally linked with the Centre for Security, Diplomacy and Strategy at the Brussels School of Governance — an academic institution that's doing so much to promote understanding of the broad range of challenges facing us all in the 21st century.This first episode examines relations between the European Union and ASEAN, the Association of South East Asian Nations. The two sides agreed to become strategic partners in 2020, but there are still big questions about their relationship. Does Europe have a role in South East Asia beyond being an economic ally? What do ASEAN nations want from the EU? And in an era of big-power competition and small-power security arrangements, how relevant are ASEAN and the EU anyway?To discuss these questions and more, Andrew is joined by Eva Pejsova, senior Japan fellow at CSDS, whose research focuses on security issues in the Indo-Pacific region, and by Huong Le Thu, Senior Fellow at Australian Strategic Policy Institute and a non-resident fellow with the South East Asia program at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies. Her research covers South East Asian security, and the region’s relations with China.As ever, you can find more information on our website. 
33:57 25/02/22
China's Politics and Economy as the Winter Olympics Open
The eyes of the world are on China as Beijing hosts the Winter Olympics. A successful Games will be used by leader Xi Jinping to bolster his image and status at home and abroad; a status that was given a significant boost in November, when a major meeting of the Communist Party effectively enshrined his position in the party’s historical pantheon, alongside Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping.But while the opening ceremonies and stage-managed meetings played out without a hitch, there are still major tests for the Chinese leadership. This is especially true on the economic front, as growth slows, and concerns about a crisis in the property market persist. In this episode we look at the state of play in Chinese politics and economics with two well-placed observers.Dr Ling Li teaches Chinese politics and law at the University of Vienna, where she was also a visiting professor.  She has written extensively on topics related to corruption and anti-corruption in China. And Dr Isabella Weber is an Assistant Professor of Economics and the Research Leader for China of the Asian Political Economy Program at the Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Her recent book, ‘How China Escaped Shock Therapy: The Market Reform Debate’ provides a detailed history and analysis of the debates around economic reform in 1908s China.As ever, you can find more information on our website 
28:17 05/02/22
Is there a Transatlantic Approach to China and the Indo-Pacific?
We’re heading to familiar territory again on this week's podcast - the Indo-Pacific. Increasingly, the area is becoming the centre of the geopolitical conversation being had all around the world.  China's showcasing of its increasing might there is a big reason for this of course. But the sheer size of this complex region and the wealth of its resources means the Indo-Pacific's many other diverse players cannot be overlooked. How can the United States and its European allies best manage relations with the powers in this all-important region - and how should the transatlantic allies work together to best serve their respective goals? Our guests this week could not be better placed to answer those questions. Admiral Harry Harris was US ambassador to South Korea from 2018 to 2021. Before that he served as the commander of the US Pacific Command, which has now been renamed the Indo Pacific Command, and also served as direct representative to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to the Secretaries of State, Hillary Clinton, and John Kerry. We're also delighted to welcome Dr Michael Reiterer back to Asia Matters, who has an equally distinguished career as a long term diplomat. He has worked for his own national service, and also the European External Action Service. He served as EU ambassador to Korea, from 2017 to 2020 - where he crossed over with Admiral Harris. He is now a distinguished professor at the Centre for Security, Diplomacy and Strategy at the Brussels School of Governance.This episode is a recording of a webinar held in collaboration with the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) in London, and Senior Associate Fellow Raffaello Pantucci is our host for this episode. The podcast is part of a project on transatlantic dialogue on China that RUSI is running at the moment with Chatham House, which has been generously supported by the Carnegie Corporation of New York.As ever, you can find more information on our website - 
45:54 15/12/21
Good COP? China, Asia and Climate Change
This week we take stock of COP26, the latest major international meeting on climate change which just wrapped up in Glasgow - billed beforehand as the "last best hope for the world to get its act together". Asia, of course, is crucial to the debate over climate change. It’s home to some of the world’s biggest polluters, but also some of its fastest-growing economies, that are at the forefront of the world’s shift to cleaner energy.The 197 countries involved in COP26 did at least agree on rules to limit greenhouse gas emissions.  But the meeting's outcome has drawn plenty of criticism, particularly over the final deal’s language on the use of coal - and China and India's role in shaping that language. Joining Andrew this week we have Dr Sam Geall. He's the CEO of China Dialogue, a website devoted to understanding and analyzing China’s approach to tackling climate change; and is also an associate fellow at Chatham House in London. Dr Tom Hale is an associate professor in public policy at the Blavatnik School of Government at Oxford University, who specializes in the way multilateral institutions tackle global challenges. He also co-leads the Net Zero Tracker which monitors different countries’ and companies’ progress on meeting their climate change commitments.We also have Yan Qin with us on the show; she is the lead analyst at Refinitiv, and has over a decade’s experience analyzing energy and carbon markets in China and Europe. 
37:08 27/11/21
China Tackles Its Tech Titans
This week we look at China's tech industry - few sectors have been more dynamic or grown as fast in recent years, with the likes of e-commerce giant Alibaba and video games maker Tencent rising to become among the world’s most valuable companies.Until recently, that is. Over the past year China’s government has taken a series of steps that together have come to be seen as a crackdown on the tech sector, from restricting big companies’ plans to float on the stock market to limiting the time Chinese kids can play video games. So what’s behind Xi Jinping’s government taking on one of Chinese business’s biggest success stories -- and why is this happening now? And what could be the broader global implications?Joining us to discuss these questions and more we have two excellent guests.Rui Ma is a longtime investor and adviser on the tech sector in both China and the U.S., and the founder of Tech Buzz China, which provides insights and research on Chinese tech companies across different platforms, including its own podcast.And we’re also joined by Graham Webster. Graham is editor in chief of the DigiChina project at the Stanford University Cyber Policy Center, where he leads a network of specialists who produce analysis on China’s digital policy developments.
44:23 12/11/21
Delta Damage: Asia's Continuing Covid Struggle
For those hoping the coronavirus pandemic was under control in Asia, the summer has been a nasty shock. A resurgence of Covid-19 across Malaysia, Thailand, Myanmar, Indonesia and elsewhere, mainly associated with the spread of the Delta variant, has put paid to the idea the region was nearing the end of the health crisis. Even in countries like China, where the virus seems to have been restrained, the way forward is not clear. Almost two years into the pandemic, as economies reel and populations chafe under continuing restrictions, questions are mounting over how sustainable a hardline approach may be.Joining us to discuss the current state of play in the region are Yanzhong Huang, senior fellow for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations; and Peter Mumford, a political risk analyst who is now the practice head for South East and South Asia at Eurasia Group in Singapore.As usual you can find more information at our website, 
35:17 13/10/21
South Korea: The Tech Powerhouse on the Cyber Frontline
In any list of influential tech powers in the world, South Korea would undoubtedly be near the top. In this episode we delve into how the country achieved this status,  transforming the nature of its economy and producing global industry leaders like Samsung and LG Electronics. But  we'll also look to the future, and at how South Korea is working with the international community to build up the world's tech infrastructure. How is Seoul cooperating with other regions and countries when it comes to issues such as regulating the internet? How are issues of data collection and privacy being received in Korean society? Like most globally connected powers, South Korea is also highly attuned to the risk of cyber attacks -  particularly given its volatile neighbour North Korea.  We are delighted to have Dr Michael Reiterer, former EU ambassador to Korea, and now the distinguished professor for international security and diplomacy at the Centre for Security, Diplomacy and Strategy in Brussels, on the show. He has specialized in the EU’s relations with Korea and Japan during his career, particularly in the security realm. Also joining us is Dr Robyn Klingler-Vidra, a reader in International Political Economy at King’s College, London, whose research has focused on how east and southeast nations have developed their tech sectors. For this episode, we are once again partnering with the Centre for Security, Diplomacy and Strategy at the Brussels School of Governance. 
37:40 07/10/21
North Korea: The View from the South
We turn again to the Korean peninsula in this week's episode, in another collaboration with CSDS. We often talk about North Korea's future in terms of how the issue plays out amid the region's broad geopolitical rivalries, and between the US and China. Less discussed is how the issue is viewed in South Korea - which technically remains at war with its northern neighbour - and whose interest in the matter is existential.Seoul's approach to the DPRK is set to come more sharply into focus in the coming months, with candidates gearing up for next spring’s presidential elections, where a successor to Moon Jae-in will be chosen. So what shapes South Korean attitudes towards North Korea? How united has the country been behind Moon’s approach over the last few years? And what might change as the country enters a period of new leadership?Joining us we have Dr Jina Kim, a research fellow at the Korea Institute for Defense Analyses, who specializes in North Asian security issues and has also advised the South Korean government.Our other guest is Ramon Pacheco Pardo, the Korea Chair at the Centre for Security, Diplomacy and Strategy at the Brussels School of Governance. CSDS is home to a rich expertise on Asia, and is working to enhance understanding of Asia’s security matters in Europe and promote greater engagement between the two regions. You can find more information on the topic on their website, as well as on our own -
38:51 08/08/21
Myanmar Six Months On: A Failed State?
The most shocking political development in Asia so far this year is arguably the seizure of power by the military in Myanmar, and the arrest of the country’s former de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi. The military’s crackdown on protests and other resistance against the coup has so far resulted in hundreds of deaths and thousands of arrests.In this episode we discuss the impact of the coup on the South East Asian nation, which is also often known as Burma, and how the current situation may develop in the months ahead.Joining us to do so we are pleased to welcome back to the podcast Thant Myint-U, one of the best known historians of the country and the author most recently of ‘The Hidden History of Burma’.As ever - you can find out more on our website,
38:29 19/07/21
The Olympics in Asia: Gold, Glory and Geopolitics
Against all odds, and after much compromise,  the Tokyo Olympic Games are set to go ahead this summer.  With no foreign fans and most spectators banned, it's certainly not the event  Japan would have wanted. In this episode we’ll assess the impact and significance of past Olympics in the Asian region, as well as what this summer’s event may mean for Japan. Previous Olympics in Asia have often held huge symbolic importance - from Japan's post WWII 'coming out' Games in 1964, right up until most recently in 2008, when a newly powerful and confident China hosted the Beijing games. Indeed, throughout recent history, hosting the Games has been a chance for countries to not just show off their sporting prowess, but also to demonstrate their cultural and economic power,  and to shape powerful narratives about themselves both on the global and domestic stage. Joining us this week is the man who literally wrote the book on the politics of sport in Asia - Victor Cha, currently the Senior Vice President and Korea Chair at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, and author of ‘Beyond the Final Score’.Our other guest is the University of Birmingham's Shushu Chen, an expert in sport policy and management who has published extensively on the legacies of various Games. As ever - you can find out more on our website,
37:29 12/07/21
How the EU Fits into Asia’s Security Puzzle
This week we turn our attention to the Indo-Pacific -   the new geopolitical groupings emerging there, from multilateral trade deals to nascent security arrangements - and how Europe fits in to the picture. The most well-known of these new security groups is probably the Quad, a grouping of the major democracies with skin in the game in the region -  namely India, Japan, Australia, and the US.  But what of Europe, the world's largest trading bloc? Back in April, the EU published a strategy document aimed at boosting its presence in the region. But what does that mean in practice - what does the bloc hope to achieve, what limitations is it up against - and what do the major players situated in the region make of this renewed European focus? This is Asia Matters' latest collaboration with the Centre for Security, Strategy and Diplomacy at the Brussels School of Governance - and its Senior Japan Fellow  Eva Pejsova is one of our guests as we discuss where Europe fits into the shifting geopolitical picture in the region. Joining Andrew and Eva are Abhijit Singh, Senior Fellow and head of the Maritime Policy Initiative at the Observer Research Foundation; and Kei Koga, Assistant Professor at the School of Social Sciences at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. As ever - you can find out more on our website,
39:06 27/06/21
Does China See Itself as a Great Power?
In July the Chinese Communist Party turns 100. From humble beginnings in a small building in Shanghai's French Concession, the party would go on to seize power, retaining it into the present day, and fundamentally alter the course of China's history. A century ago, the CCP's founders would probably not have been able to imagine the influence they would wield and the modern country their party would forge, even if they might have hoped for it.  China in 1921 was fracturing, impoverished, and often found itself at the mercy of the era's great powers. But today's China is a global economic behemoth; and its international political influence is inexorably on the rise too, seen in its growing power in multilateral institutions like the UN. Many would argue that it's seen by the world's leading superpower, the United States, as its main rival. But is China what we might call a great power? And crucially - whilst we certainly know a lot about what everyone else thinks about this - how does China perceive itself?  To answer these very big questions, we've assembled some of the biggest brains in the field. The incomparable Rana Mitter, Professor of the History and Politics of Modern China at the University of Oxford, is our guest host for this episode. He's joined by Professor Shaun Breslin of the University of Warwick and Suyan Pan, Associate Professor at the Education University of Hong Kong. As ever - you can find out more on our website,
48:11 08/06/21
North Korea: Is Full Denuclearisation Still a Viable Goal?
For this episode we're taking a look at one of the world’s most intractable geopolitical issues - North Korea - as the second of our collaborations with the Centre for Security, Strategy and Diplomacy at the Brussels School of Governance. South Korea’s president Moon Jae-in has just been in Washington for talks with President Biden, in part to discuss how to deal with the long-isolated country. And in its first comments reacting to that meeting, Pyongyang has signalled it was not best pleased - warning that what it called the U.S.’s hostile policy against the North could lead to an “acute and unstable situation” on the Korean Peninsula. The last few years have of course seen plenty of drama, but little resolution around the North Korean issue - Donald Trump's historic talks with Kim Jong Un being a prime example of both phenomena. So has there been any real progress on the Korean Peninsula?  What is the best and most realistic way forward now? Is it time, for example, to give up the goal of fully denuclearising North Korea? This week we are joined by CSDS's Korea Chair, Ramon Pacheco Pardo, who is also an associate professor at King’s College, London. Our other distinguished guest is Sue Mi Terry, a senior fellow at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies, her latest post in a stellar career following Korean issues in the worlds of intelligence, policy making and academia. This episode is a collaboration with the CSDS, home to a rich expertise on Asia and is working to enhance understanding of Asia’s security matters in Europe and promote greater engagement between the two regions.As ever - you can find out more on our website,
38:17 01/06/21
Japan and South Korea: Navigating an Era of Competition
This week we set our sights on Japan and South Korea, East Asia's most prominent middle powers.  With the United States and China showing no sign of backing away from confrontation, we look at what it means for two countries caught between them geographically and politically. What roles do they see themselves taking on as the Asia-Pacific becomes ever more fractious?  Both are major economic players, with important clout both in their own sphere and further afield. The decisions they make could have a significant impact on some of the most pressing challenges facing the region. Is this new era of competition ripe with opportunity, or fraught with danger? And what, if anything, are they doing to make Asia a safer place?Haruko Satoh, Professor at the Osaka School of International Public Policy in Japan, is back with us for this episode, and Brendan Howe, Professor of International Relations at Ewha Womans University in South Korea, joins us too.  Chatham House's Bill Hayton is our host again this week.  For more on this episode, including a reading list, our website has all you need - you can also give us feedback and subscribe to our mailing list there. 
41:41 28/05/21
Biden Post-100 Days: The View from Asia
US President Joe Biden has steamed past his first 100 days in office, typically a stage where we can look back and take stock of where a new administration is headed. For those of us outside America there’s a particular focus on Mr Biden’s foreign policy - and for us and our listeners of course, a particular focus on his Asia policy. In this episode we have partnered with the IAFOR Research Centre's Korea Foundation project on "Korea and Japan in the evolving China-US relations" and assembled a panel of experts to talk through what they've made of this first chunk of the Biden era. From South Korea, we are joined by Jaewoo Choo, Professor of Foreign Policy in the Department of Chinese Studies at Kyung Hee University; from the US, Dr. Satu Limaye, Vice President & Director of the East West Center where he directs the coincidentally named Asia Matters for America initiative; and Haruko Satoh, co-director of the IRC at Osaka School of International Public Policy at Osaka University, joins us from Japan. For more on this episode, including a reading list, our website has all you need - you can also give us feedback and subscribe to our mailing list there. 
48:15 12/05/21
Dealing with Disinformation: A Global Challenge
This week Asia Matters joins forces with the Centre for Security, Diplomacy and Strategy at the Brussels School of Governance, home to a rich expertise on Asia and working to enhance understanding of Europe's security challenges in the region. Our first in what will be a series of episodes is on disinformation.  Disinformation has become somewhat of a buzzword over the last few years, particularly in the wake of Russian interference into the 2016 US election. But what exactly do we mean when we talk about 'disinformation' - and who is spreading it, and how?  Governments, academics and journalists have been playing ever closer attention to the phenomenon, especially when it comes to state actors - and for Europe, the US and its allies, that means Russia and China in particular. But faced with a vast array of actors and motives - from pro-Kremlin troll farms to China's so-called wolf warrior diplomats - what efforts can governments take to lessen their impact? To discuss this, we are joined by Lutz Guellner, the Head of Strategic Communications at the European External Action Service , the EU's diplomatic service. And Bonji Ohara, an expert in defence issues and Senior Fellow at the Sasakawa Peace Foundation, joins us from Tokyo. For more on this episode, including a reading list, our website has all you need - you can also give us feedback and subscribe to our mailing list there. 
29:33 03/05/21
ASEAN and Myanmar: How to Handle the Coup Next Door
ASEAN leaders will meet in Jakarta on April 24 to discuss the ongoing crisis in Myanmar, which has shown no sign of abating since a military coup deposed civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi at the beginning of February.Hundreds of thousands of protesters have taken to the streets daily to demand a return to democracy - and the military has sought to quell the anti-coup movement with lethal force. Hundreds of people have been killed and thousands detained. Much hope has been placed in the international community to mediate an end to the turmoil - particularly in the regional stakeholders represented by ASEAN. But Myanmar will be represented at the Jakarta summit by the junta leader Min Aung Hlaing - something that's raised a fair few eyebrows and has highlighted the limitations in what ASEAN can be expected to - and is prepared to - do. To discuss the issue we are joined by two brilliant guests, who both have extensive experience at the very heart of the region's politics. Bilahari Kausikan is the former Permanent Secretary of Singapore's Foreign Ministry, and now the chair of the Middle East Institute at the National University of Singapore. Our other guest, Hoang Thi Ha from the ASEAN Studies Centre of ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute in Singapore, has nine years experience at the ASEAN Secretariat itself and also used to work  at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Vietnam. Our host this week is Bill Hayton, Associate Fellow with the Asia-Pacific Programme at Chatham House. 
33:19 23/04/21
How China Is Changing - And Being Changed by - the UN
China’s growing economic clout has seen its influence rise accordingly in major international institutions — and none more so than in the United Nations. For several years now, China has spoken of the UN as the most authoritative multilateral body in world affairs - and it's put its money where its mouth is, becoming the second-biggest contributor to the UN’s finances. Meanwhile, Chinese citizens have taken several leading roles in UN organisations. But China’s growing presence in the organisation has come during a period when the UN's focus has shifted in ways that seem to run counter to Beijing’s interests and beliefs - such as its increased willingness to intervene within countries to resolve conflict or protect human rights. And some of China's actions at the UN - like vetoing attempts to put more pressure on Syria's government -  have drawn heavy criticism from major Western powers, and raised questions about whether its approach to international relations conflicts with the UN’s developing conception of its own role in global affairs.To unpick some of these issues, Andrew is  joined by Professor Rosemary Foot, a senior research fellow in the Department of Politics and International Relations at the University of Oxford - and  Dr Courtney Fung, associate professor in International Relations at the University of Hong Kong.  For more on this episode, including a reading list, check out our website, where you can also give us feedback and subscribe to our mailing list.
44:13 28/03/21
China Faces Up To Its Biggest Challenges
China’s rulers have been setting out their goals for the country at their big annual political meetings in Beijing. This year’s event held special significance, with policy makers revealing their latest five-year plan for China’s economy, as well as their targets for the environment among a host of other issues.We are first joined by two experts to discuss the near-term results from the meetings, and how they assess the current health of China’s economy: Tao Wang, the Hong Kong-based chief China economist and Head of Asia Economic Research at UBS; and Jinny Yan, a managing director and chief China economist at ICBC Standard Bank in London. Later we discuss one of China’s most difficult long-term problems — wealth inequality. We talk to Scott Rozelle, who is a senior fellow and co-director of the Rural Education Action Program in the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies at Stanford University. Scott’s recent book, ‘Invisible China’, is a must-read on this topic, and the growing divide between rural and urban China. 
40:36 16/03/21
Islands Apart: Pacific Nations In The Covid Era
In this episode we turn to a part of the world we haven’t discussed before — the Pacific Islands. Stretching over a vast area covering some 15% of the earth’s surface, the region is home to diverse countries and cultures, from Papua New Guinea in the West to the Cook Islands in the east, taking in countries such as Fiji and the Solomon Islands, along with smaller nations such as Nauru and Palau. Problems, though, are stacking up. The COVID-19 pandemic is devastating the region’s economy. Meanwhile climate change has become a major security threat for the often low-lying Pacific Islands. What’s more the region has become yet another area of strategic rivalry between China, and the US and other Western nations — primarily Australia.Facing these strains, the unity of the Pacific Islands has started to unravel. Five member countries of the Pacific Islands Forum have recently quit the organisation in a dispute over who should take over as its Secretary General. To discuss these and other issues we are first joined by Samoan journalist and commentator Lagipoiva Cherelle Jackson. Later we get perspectives from David Ward, the UK’s high commissioner to Samoa, who previously held a similar post in the Solomon Islands; and Jonathan Pryke, director of the Pacific Islands program at the Lowy Institute in Sydney and a long time researcher on the region.
31:22 01/03/21
What to Expect from Vietnam’s New Leaders
After a year-long battle behind closed doors, Vietnam has a new political leadership. At its Congress, which finished on February 1st, the Communist Party selected a new Politburo to run the country for the next five years.  In this episode of Asia Matters we find out why the Party thinks a 76-year-old man with serious health problems is the best person to lead this rapidly changing society.More than a third of the Politburo are now men with a background in the security services. What does this tell us about the Communist Party’s intentions? And how will the leadership navigate Vietnam’s relations between the United States and China? What will the next five years bring for the country, and for its place in the wider Asia region?Our presenter for this episode is Bill Hayton, Associate Fellow with the Asia-Pacific Programme at Chatham House. His guests are Nguyen Phuong Linh, Vietnam analyst with Control Risks in Singapore and Nguyen Khac Giang, researcher at the Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand.
30:06 19/02/21
Myanmar's Military Are Back: First Impressions of the Coup
"Our country was a bird that was just learning to fly. Now the army broke our wings," said one activist. "What was granted by the generals is now being taken back," declared another.It’s been a dramatic few days in Southeast Asian nation Myanmar - or Burma. The country’s military has seized power again, and arrested several of the country’s civilian leaders, including national figurehead Aung San Suu Kyi. Her party, the National League for Democracy, had won a convincing victory in elections last November.To those who used to live under Myanmar’s decades-long military dictatorship, it’s a hugely concerning turn of events. Of course, Myanmar’s democratically-elected civilian government, including Ms Suu Kyi herself, has come under intense criticism from overseas in recent years owing to the alleged genocide of the Rohingya minority in the country’s north west.The situation is obviously quite fluid, but we wanted to bring you analysis of these events and their background, and ask what next for Myanmar's relationship with the outside world following this dramatic move. Joining us to do so, we are pleased to have Dr. Champa Patel (@patel_champa), head of the Asia-Pacific programme at Chatham House; and Tin Htar Swe (@tinhtarswe), the BBC’s former Burmese editor and now an independent analyst based in London.
24:22 07/02/21