This paper examines the history of the commercial maritime activities associated with the former British Consulate at Takao (1864–1895) by considering its role as a facilitator of trade and international relations, particularly with Southeast Asia. The Takao Consulate fostered international trade between Southern Taiwan and Southeast Asia through the trading firm Jardine Matheson and contributed to the favorable economic conditions that were further enhanced by the Japanese Empire’s colonial administration of Taiwan from 1895 to 1945. By drawing on Man-Houng Lin’s work on the development of Taiwan in the late 19th to early 20th century, examining the history of the Consulate, locating Taiwan in the nexus of commercial links spanning the Western Pacific rim, and analyzing the links between the implementation of state policies and the conduct of international business, we will provide a contextualisation of the prevailing foreign trade policies of the Taiwanese government.
This article traces the evolution of China-Malaysia relations under National Front Prime Minister Najib Razak and the Alliance of Hope Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad. While the Belt and Road Initiative (bri) strengthened Beijing’s support of Najib’s kleptocratic regime in Malaysia, the 2018 general elections brought the anti-graft Alliance of Hope coalition led by Mahathir into power. Under Mahathir’s leadership, Malaysia cancelled several large-scale infrastructural projects like the East Coast Rail Link (ecrl), owing to their links with Najib’s 1mdb scandal and the unfavorable terms of the bri which put Malaysia severely in China’s debt. Although this curtailed Beijing’s use of Malaysia as a pawn in its goals in the region, it alienated some of the new Alliance of Hope’s supporters and saw the loss of much Chinese investment. However, Malaysia had already been caught in the bri’s web and Mahathir had to mend fences with Beijing by renegotiating better deals and redefining Malaysia’s relations with China. As Malaysia is geopolitically strategic to China’s extension of influence in Southeast Asia, Beijing willingly cut the ecrl cost by a third. It is in such context and with due consideration of the changing developments in the Alliance of Hope’s perception of Malaysia’s relations with China that this article will explore the enigmatic nature of China-Malaysia relations as the latter strives to protect its sovereignty against Chinese influence and Beijing continues to press its charm offensive through the bri.
In the last decade, Surabaya city has reinvented itself through a rapid greening development concept. The emergence of cities in diplomacy represents the multi-centric world rather than state-centric world in post-Westphalian diplomacy. By using Surabaya as a case study and examining how it overcomes environmental challenges, we will show how a city can play a crucial role in the realization of responsible development. We will focus on the mayor’s efforts to decentralize Surabaya by making the city’s diplomacy down-to-earth and people-oriented, especially in environmental-related issues. This overturns the idea that diplomacy is the reserve of diplomats and political elites, with little connection to the welfare of the people, especially those at the grassroots level. This article suggests that Surabaya, as a secondary city, has been successful in creating green living spaces and achieving sdg targets through active environmental diplomacy via multilateral engagement, bilateral partnership, and local community involvement.
Despite the United States and its allies recently declaring the utter defeat of the terrorist organization Islamic State’s (IS) strongholds in Iraq and Syria, the 2019 Easter suicide bombings in Sri Lanka highlights IS’s successful transformation into a globally networked organization. This paper examines IS’s global-localization strategy by identifying the common patterns in its terrorist attacks in Sri Lanka, Indonesia and the Philippines. Through global-localization, the so-called IS caliphate in the Middle East is able to effectively connect with Muslim communities in the peripheral Global South and command supremacy over them. I will outline IS’s self-transformative strategy by comparing its terror attacks in Sri Lanka, Indonesia and the Philippines. Through historical analysis of post-colonial ethnic conflicts among the Sinhalese, Tamil and Muslim groups in Sri Lanka, I will generate policy recommendations for the establishment of a pluralistic and inclusive intelligence system as an essential means to prevent further terrorist attacks.
This paper focuses on the political changes that have taken place in Malaysia leading to and resulting from the 14th general elections in May 2018. The political change offered an opportunity for changes and reforms in the media sector, especially in light of the promises made by the new government to free up the laws and rules on censorship and access to information. To date, the implementation of reforms has met hurdles, U-turns and the realities of structural and political barriers that see continuity of policies, rather than outright transformation. Reflecting on the experiences of media reforms and assistance, this paper argues that initiatives focused at media work and laws are expected to have limited results given the partisan and conservative nature of the mainstream media. It will also be difficult for Malaysia’s news media to regain public confidence after years of declining trust, especially as the media community has yet to come together reclaim and defend its rights.
This study focuses on Christian minorities and their response to the rise of Islamic politics in Indonesia following Ahok’s trial for alleged blasphemy. It will be suggested that the case brought against Ahok has changed the attitude of preachers of the Javanese Christian Church or Gereja Kristen Jawa (gkj) towards politics. After Ahok was prosecuted, some gkj preachers have delivered political sermons focusing on calming the churchgoers to prevent them from reacting overtly to the rise of Islamic politics in Indonesia. This indicates that preachers have become more melek politik or politically aware. While the gkj remains distant from the practice of politics, it conducts political education for members of the clergy and the politicians affiliated with the church. Through informal interviews with several gkj preachers and qualitative research, this study has avoided making generalizations. Specifically, differences in the Sunday sermons of the gkj attended by the author as well as other gkj and non-gkj churches that the author visited in 2017–2019 will be analyzed.
The main objective of this paper is to examine the position of Africa in the global division of labor in the era of globalization by deconstructing the assumptions, institutions and tools that buttress the North-South and the South-South relations in general and by using the aid, trade and investment regimes in particular. The paper argues that Africa has been integrated in the global economy at least since the middle of the 19th century with the colonization of the continent, albeit in a different form and intensity, but it has been located at the bottom of the hierarchy of the integration ladder playing a marginal role mainly on account of two reasons – firstly, its development destiny has been dictated from afar by its old (Global North, like Europeans) and also by the emerging (Global South, like China and India) external powers, as each of them tried to fulfill their national interests; and secondly, it has been following protectionist and unwelcoming economic policies internally. The net effect of the external pressure on Africa is nothing, but the emergence of an asymmetrical economic relationship between Africa and that of the old and the new powers. Accordingly, at present, the continent is suffering from the multiple byproducts of economic globalization like low prices for its primary products, infant manufacturing and industrialization, limited and constrained market access, huge debt burden, and economic and political conditionality.