As 2016 begins, an historic contest is under way over competing development models – that is, strategies to promote economic growth – between China, on the one hand, and the US and other Western countries on the other. Although this contest has been largely hidden from public view, the outcome will determine the fate of much of Eurasia for decades to come.
Myanmar is just weeks away from seeing whether the upbeat, forward-looking vocabulary of national reconciliation, trust and cooperation can be translated into workable arrangements between the ruling party, the military and the opposition when they trade places in parliament and government. In finding their own pace and tone within the confines of such concepts, Myanmar’s leaders will do well to remain mindful of the patience, effort and skill it took other leaders to move toward democracy.
Victory has rewarded the National League for Democracy, led by Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, after years of effort. However, there are many challenges for the incoming government, including the need to revitalise the economy; bring peace, education and health to the people; and reform the corrupted justice system.
Since its introduction by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013, the “one belt, one road” initiative – an ambitious plan to revitalise the ancient Silk Road overland and maritime trade routes linking East and West – has attracted considerable attention. And for good reason: The project, which involves more than 60 countries and quite a few international organisations, implies unprecedented opportunities – and challenges.
Month by month, Nay Pyi Taw has become the accepted centre of politics and policy, one where the ordinary business of government is transacted without fanfare. This means the National League for Deomcracy will be taking charge of a capital quite different than the one that greeted their predecessors in early 2011.
In a remarkably low-profile visit for such a high-ranking figure, the head of the UK’s armed forces visited Myanmar this week for discussions with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and Senior General Min Aung Hlaing.
For more than six months in 2011, Ywe Ja refused to leave her home in Kachin State despite heavy fighting around her village. It was where she was born, and she had built a life there as a teacher with a farmer husband and a young child.
The announcement in October that China is terminating its one-child policy marks the end of a 37-year historical aberration that has accelerated the country’s demographic ageing by decades. The social and economic consequences of the authorities’ drastic population controls, which reduced the average fertility rate in urban households from about three in 1970 to just over one by 1982, have been dramatic. The question now is whether, and to what extent, the country’s new two-child policy will mitigate those consequences.