East-West Center Research in the News

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30 July 2020—Lee Teng-hui, former president of Taiwan, dies at 97, Los Angeles Times via Yahoo! News: Denny Roy

"Lee worked within this system to get to the top, but eventually turned his back … supporting some democratic reforms and emphasizing Taiwan’s worthiness for individual statehood,” said Denny Roy, Senior Fellow at the East-West Center. “His description of Taiwan and China having a ‘special state-to-state relationship’ is as good as any bumper-sticker principle anyone has offered to capture Taiwan’s point of view.”

29 July 2020—US-China reconciliation is drifting further away, Japan Times: Denny Roy

The deterioration of US-China relations was further solidified by an important speech by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on July 23. Pompeo’s speech will accelerate the sense that a “new cold war” is underway between China and the United States because it seems to demand the overthrow of the Chinese Communist Party as a prerequisite for peace. As for the longer term, Pompeo’s speech deepens the view among some Americans that peaceful coexistence with an authoritarian and increasingly powerful China is not possible without sacrificing vital American interests. 

28 July 2020—US vs. China: How did we even get here?, EE Tiimes: Dieter Ernst

As Dieter Ernst, economist and Senior Fellow at the Centre for International Governance Innovation (Waterloo, Canada) and the East-West Center (Honolulu), told us in an interview, “There is no doubt that the US Department of Commerce and  the US Trade Representative should fight against unfair practices in intellectual property rights, trade secrets, and government procurement, wherever they occur, including in China. But most important, both the US government and the private sector need to join forces and develop and implement a national strategy to upgrade the country’s innovation system in order to cope with the challenge of China’s innovation policy from a position of strength.” He concluded: “In short, technology warfare based on crude techno-nationalism is threatening to destroy AI’s global knowledge-sharing culture. This is true both for the ‘America First’ doctrine and for China’s attempts to claim sovereignty over its cyberspace through the Great Firewall.”

28 July 2020—India alaarmed at growing China-Bangladesh relations, OpEdNews: Anu Anwar

Historically, Bangladesh has more cultural and societal links with India than with China. However, India's hegemonic posture and coercive tactics created deep resentment among ordinary Bangladeshis, especially when contrasted with China's model of noninterference in domestic affairs coupled with lavish spending, says Anu Anwar, an Affiliate Scholar at the East-West Cente, and a Research Fellow at the Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies (APCSS), Hawaii.

25 July 2020—As the world gets tougher on China, Japan tries to thread a needle, New York Times: Kristi Govella

Japan’s recent decision to abandon its plan to buy an American missile defense system, known as Aegis Ashore, led some to wonder if it would now be more exposed to potential attacks from both North Korea and China. “While the cancellation of Aegis Ashore might put Japan in a more vulnerable position, if Japan uses this opportunity to pivot to acquisition of other capabilities, then the result could be even more worrying for China,” said Kristi Govella, an Assistant Professor in the Department of Asian Studies at the University of Hawaii at Manoa [and Adjunct Fellow at the East-West Center].

23 July 2020—UHERO economist to discuss reopening Hawaii tourism in free online event, Pacific Business News: Tim Brown

An economist from the University of Hawaii Economic Research Organization, a fellow from the East-West Center and a University of Hawaii epidemiologist will discuss reopening the Hawaii tourism industry in the age of Covid-19 during an online event hosted by the Hawaii Economic Association on Aug. 6. Sumner LaCroix, professor emeritus of economics at the University of Hawaii and UHERO research fellow, will deliver a presentation on the state’s reliance on tourism and the state of Hawaii's economy during the Covid-19 pandemic. He will be joined for a question-and-answer session by Tim Brown, a senior fellow at the East-West Center and F. DeWolfe Miller, professor emeritus of epidemiology at the UH John A. Burns School of Medicine. The hour-long event is free and will start at noon. Click here to register.

23 July 2020—LSU names Spencer as Graduate School Vice Provost and Dean, LSU Media Service: James H. Spencer

Louisiana State University has named James H. Spencer the Vice provost and Dean for the LSU Graduate School. Spencer is a Professor of City and Regional Planning and Associate Dean of the College of Architecture, Arts and Humanities at Clemson University, as well as Adjunct Senior Fellow at the East West Center in Hawai'i. He will begin his role as vice provost and dean on Aug. 3. 

22 July 2020—Did COVID-19 really give China a strategic advantage?, The Diplomat: Denny Roy

Many China analysts have concluded the Chinese leadership saw in the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic an opportunity to advance China’s strategic agenda because other countries would be distracted by their internal struggles with the virus. This narrative is erroneous. The pandemic was much more a liability than a boon for Beijing’s efforts to promote China’s international reputation and agenda, and the theory that it caused more aggressive Chinese foreign policy moves does not withstand close scrutiny.

21 July 2020—Prospects for resolving North Korean issue remain vague, Penza News: Denny Roy

Denny Roy, Senior Fellow at East-West Center, an expert on Northeast Asian international security issues, noted that the relations between the two Koreas have returned to their usual pattern of past decades. “Pyongyang basically fears and despises the Seoul government. The Kim regime seeks to extort concessions from South Korea, not to reach permanent peace with South Korea. Nevertheless, occasionally Pyongyang will launch a temporary peace offensive against South Korea, either as another way of gaining concessions or as a show to gain more cooperation from either the United States or China,” he said.

15 July 2020—Will a waning Moon reduce the opportunity for peace on the Korean peninsula?, The National Interest: Denny Roy

Given the events of the past five years, the emergence of a peace treaty between North and South Korea in the next five years looks improbable, although it is possible Kim Jong-un or his successor could decide that pursuing a peace treaty is to North Korea’s tactical advantage. In keeping with the pattern of past North Korean leaders, his regime is now back to menacing and belittling Seoul following an apparent thaw in relations.  

14 July 2020—Challenges and responses to COVID-19: Experience From Asia, Eurasia Review: Nancy Davis Lewis and Jonathan D. Mayer

Experience in Asia suggests that public health and medical capacity are critical for an effective response to an emerging infectious disease. Political will and previous experience with disease outbreaks also play a role.

14 July 2020—China blasted by US for unlawful bullying in South China Sea, Honolulu Star-Advertiser: Denny Roy

The United States stepped up its rhetoric on Monday in a condemnation of what it called China’s unlawful bullying in the South China Sea. Denny Roy, an expert on Asia Pacific security issues at the East-West Center in Honolulu, said US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s comments are not a seismic shift but are a “stronger, more forthright orienting of our approach to the South China Sea.”

12 July 2020—Hawaii likely to push back tourism reopening from August 1, Travel Pulse: Tim Brown

Tim Brown, a Senior Fellow with the East-West Center, notes that even without receiving outsiders, Hawaii has seen 26 new COVID-19 cases a day over the past week, and the rising numbers both at home and on the US mainland don’t bode well. He said that Hawaii really can’t afford to allow tourists in until the daily count for new infections is back down in the single-digits. Brown told KHON2 that too many residents are failing to wear their masks and practice social-distancing and proposed that state officials should take action to reinforce the impact and seriousness of these protocols.

11 July 2020—China’s peace and reconciliation effort falls flat, Asia Times: Denny Roy

Beijing is seeking to pull US-China relations out of their current downturn, perhaps the most serious since the two countries established diplomatic relations in 1979, according to Denny Roy, Senior Fellow at the East-West Center. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi spoke about this subject on July 9 to the China-US Think Tanks and Media Online Forum. Wang’s speech is important as an authoritative statement of the pitch Beijing is making to the US policy-making community, many of whom have become disillusioned with China during Xi Jinping’s rule.

10 July 2020—Hawaii's LG says governor will postpone Aug. 1 date to reopen tourism, KHON: Tim Brown

Tim Brown of the East-West Center said the combination of rising COVID-19 cases here and on the mainland is a strong signal that August 1 is too early to reopen tourism. He adds that to be ready, state officials need to send a stronger message to residents to take safety protocols more seriously. “I think we need an actual public service announcement campaign of several million dollars, probably hiring professional firms to get this message across and to explain to people, look, your irresponsibility is the reason we can’t open the economy,” he said.

7 July 2020—Philippines needs stronger climate change adaptation, urban planning, Manila Bulletin: Allen Clark

Allen Clark, from the East-West Center in Honolulu, Hawaii, said policies in the Philippines must be reassessed and updated to address the annual typhoons hitting the country. In particular, policies in urban planning must be taken into higher consideration after super typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan). “You have what I call the perfect storm in the Philippines. You’ve got the physical storm, climate change, urbanization, and explosive population growth,” emphasized Clark.

6 July 2020—Impact of COVID-19 on rice farmers on Southeast Asia, Eurasia Review: Jefferson Fox, Arunee Promkhabut, and Phanwin Yoking

Over the past several decades, rice farmers across Southeast Asia have experienced growing labor shortages as working-age adults migrated to nearby cities and abroad in search of better jobs. Today, rice farmers are dealing with one of the worst droughts in recent history, and now they also face substantial challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic. At the same time, global demand for food stockpiles is pushing rice prices for consumers to levels not seen since the 2008 global economic crisis.

30 June 2020—Hawaii tourism is on life support as visitor arrivals plunge 99% in May, Honolulu Star-Advertiser: Tim Brown

Tim Brown, a Senior Fellow in infectious disease at the East-West Center, co-authored a recent study on the prevention of travel­-related reintroduction of COVID-19 to Hawaii that presented a strategy for screening travelers, particularly prior to boarding a plane for Hawaii. If tourism resumes, with 6,000 visitors arriving daily screened only for temperature and symptoms, Brown and his co-authors estimated it would lead to 750 additional active infections in the community per month, overwhelming the state’s health care system. Brown is also concerned about recent double-digit increases in local coronavirus cases—an average of about 13 new infections a day in the past two weeks, indicating it is not under control. In addition to more urgent public messaging on wearing face masks, physical distancing ,and not congregating in large groups, Brown said there needs to be more aggressive testing, including individuals who are asymptomatic and those at greatest risk, along with prompt contact tracing. The next few weeks will be telling, he said, and if numbers continue to climb, he would seriously reconsider whether Hawaii is ready to reopen to visitors.

19 June 2020—미중 외교수장 회담 우호적이었지만 입장차만 확인 [Despite friendly talks, US-China chief diplomats only agree to disagree], News1 Korea: Denny Roy

19 June 2020—川普稱中美仍有可能「徹底脫鉤」學者:夏威夷會談各說各話 [Trump said that China and the United States may still be "completely decoupled:" Scholars in Hawaii talks speak their own words], 天下 [CommonWealth]: Denny Roy

18 June 2020—Why troubles brewing in North-East Asia bear watching, The Straits Times: Denny Roy

While the China-India border and the South China Sea are grabbing most of the headlines, the strategic landscape is also changing in North-East Asia. Some of the changes have the potential to dramatically impact South-East Asia. There are three major developments that merit attention: North Korea lashing out at South Korea, tension between the United States and its allies Japan and South Korea, and rumblings of discontent out of China. Each has different causes and poses a different problem for thebroader Asia-Pacific region.

18 June 2020—US-China talks: Mike Pompeo’s seven-hour meeting with Yang Jiechi ‘helps atmosphere’—but differing statements show divisions remain, South China Morning Post: Denny Roy

Denny Roy, senior fellow at the Hawaii-based East-West Center, said the meeting signalled that both sides want to reset the relationship and that US President Donald Trump probably wanted significant progress towards a comprehensive deal to end the two countries’ protracted trade dispute before the US election in November. “Pompeo and Yang would not be the officials to hammer out a trade deal, but rather they would explore ways to generally improve the atmosphere,” Roy said. “More bilateral discussions are likely before the election, not necessarily with the same officials or the same format.” Roy said the US State Department’s statement was “extremely brief”, possibly reflecting an awareness of ongoing revelations about Trump’s previous dealings with Chinese President Xi Jinping by John Bolton, the former US national security adviser. “Perhaps the White House’s thinking is to downplay the meeting as much as possible, even make Americans forget about it, rather than have them interpret the results through the lens suggested by Bolton,” Roy said. “Now, thanks to Bolton, Trump is under more scrutiny to deliver results that prove he is looking out for America’s interests, not just his own.”

17 June 2020—U.S.-China tensions: It’s worse this time, The Japan Times: Denny Roy

China and the United States have overcome quarrels before. The current deterioration of bilateral relations, however, is more worrisome than usual. Two deep and long-term sources of tension are rivalry for leadership in the Asia-Pacific region and internal political factors in both countries. Bilateral relations will still fluctuate, which means they could improve from today’s nadir. But the ceiling for improvement is steadily getting lower.

16 June 2020—Hawaii talks a chance for Mike Pompeo and Yang Jiechi to ‘draw red lines in the sand,’ South China Morning Post: Denny Roy

Denny Roy, a Senior Fellow at the East-West Center in Hawaii, believes China needs the meeting more than the US, as Beijing faces an economic slowdown as well as strategic crises in the region. “There will be little if any room for convergence of views on any of these issues. The best possibility for a small breakthrough will be in bilateral economic relations,” he said. “China also lost prestige and caused an acceleration in calls for economic decoupling as a result of its actions during the pandemic.” He said while the Trump administration had positioned itself to use China-bashing as a campaign tactic, “Trump would likely still prefer the chance to claim that he got America a win in its relations with China right before the election.”

11 June 2020—I maluhia kakou: A plan for opening Hawaii safely, Honolulu Civil Beat: Tim Brown

Hawaii continues to fare well in the coronavirus pandemic. This is in large part because airplane and cruise ship travel has been decreased by the 14-day quarantine order, and because residents have adhered to a prolonged and unsustainable shut-down of social and economic activity. Now we must find a way towards an economic revival that supports the people and their health. Our goal should be to eliminate COVID-19 transmission within the islands, while also taking steps to revitalize the economy and community life. As Hawaii’s economy is largely dependent on tourism, we must also develop a plan to prevent the arrival of infected individuals.

11 June 2020—Waikiki businesses losing nearly $6B in visitor revenues since lockdown, KHON 2: Tim Brown

The governor’s announcement to extend the 14-day quarantine to out-of-state travelers is a staggering blow to Waikiki businesses that have suffered losses of close to $6 billion since the lockdown. But the recent spike in cases in several mainland states is worrying. Even if Hawaii tests incoming travelers before they leave, allowing mainland travelers without quarantine could lead to a dangerous surge. “Because of the sensitivity of the tests, the fact that it’s not detecting everybody, we would see an increase in the number of cases of active Covid infection coming into the islands if we open up to tourism from the mainland,” said Tim Brown, East-West Center Senior Fellow. Brown says it would be safer to allow visitors from countries with low infection rates such as South Korea and Australia that “have really done a good job of containing the epidemic. And if we open to those, yes, it’s not the majority of our tourism, but at least it lets us get the tourism industry started again,” said Brown.

9 June 2020—The pandemic In North Korea: Lessons from the 1990s famine, Eurasia Review: Marcus Noland

North Korea's response to the COVID-19 pandemic is oddly reminiscent of the catastrophic famine that overtook the country in the 1990s. Then as now, the onset and severity of the problem caught the North Korean leadership unawares, and their first response was to deny that a problem existed. Eventually the government reversed course and began exaggerating the distress in order to obtain international aid. This pattern may well occur again in the face of the pandemic.

9 June 2020—Experts: Test passengers to reopen Hawaii tourism, Honolulu Civil Beat: Tim Brown

As Hawaii waits to reopen its largest industry, economists and medical experts increasingly view testing passengers before they board planes to Hawaii as a key to safely bringing visitors back to the state and resurrecting the state’s economy. Even with a fraction of the visitors it had before the COVID-19 crisis shut down the tourism industry, Hawaii could expect several hundred cases of the virus to be brought into the state each month by travelers, the University of Hawaii Economic Research Organization reported in a paper released Tuesday. The report argues that testing passengers before they come to Hawaii can allow the state to reopen safely. It was written by Tim Brown, who studies infectious disease and epidemiology as a Senior Fellow with the East-West Center; Sumner La Croix, Professor Emeritus of economics at the University of Hawaii, and F. DeWolfe Miller, an epidemiologist and Professor of tropical medicine at UH’s John A. Burns School of Medicine.

9 Jun3 2020—The pandemic in North Korea: Lessons from the 1990s famine, Eurasia Review: Marcus Noland

North Korea’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic is oddly reminiscent of the catastrophic famine that overtook the country in the 1990s, according to East-West Center's Non-Resident Senior Fellow Marcus Noland. Then as now, the onset and severity of the famine caught the North Korean leadership unawares, and their first response was to deny that a problem existed. A look back at how the response played out after the initial denial offers some clues as to how the current regime may respond to the COVID-19 crisis today.

9 June 2020—COVID-19 testing pre-departure may eliminate 90% of infectious passengers,UH News: Tim Brown

Sumner La Croix, UHERO research fellow and UH Mānoa professor emeritus of economics in the College of Social Sciences; F. DeWolfe Miller, John A. Burns School of Medicine professor emeritus; and Tim Brown, East-West Center senior fellow recommend that individuals who clear a temperature and symptom screening, and a COVID-19 test in their departure city will not be required to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival to Hawaiʻi. Read the full post on UHERO’s website.

1 June 2020—Reopening tourism: Residents, visitors must trust they’ll stay virus-free, Hawaii Business Magazine: Tim Brown

Sumner La Croix, UH professor emeritus of economics, and Tim Brown, a public health researcher and senior fellow at the East-West Center, suggest in a written presentation that emerging technologies that screen visitors for the virus before they board planes will be one of the surest methods to reassure both locals and tourists. “Tourists need to conclude that it is safe to visit Hawai‘i,” La Croix and Brown write. “Residents need to conclude that tourists are safe visitors with only a small chance of contributing to Hawai‘i’s epidemic.”

31 May 2020—President Donald Trump revokes Hong Kong's special status, KITV Channel Four: Denny Roy

Senior Fellow at the East-West Center Denny Roy describes the latest step by the Chinese government as "establishing the practice of Beijing making laws and then imposing them on Hong Kong and completely bipassing the Hong Kong legislature. In this case, the law at issue would make free political speech illegal." This breaks China's promise under international law to allow Hong Kong to keep its accustomed legal, social, and political systems for 50 years after the handover from Britain.

30 May 2020—US-China tensions expected to escalate further after Donald Trump promises action over Hong Kong, South China Morning Post: Denny Roy

Denny Roy, a Senior Fellow at the Hawaii-based East-West Center, said many in the US had been angered by Trump’s announcement that the US would withdraw from the WHO in the middle of a pandemic and his failure to address nationwide protests over police brutality and racism. While there was great sympathy in the US for the Hong Kong people, he said the US would be unable to force China to restore the city’s freedom. "America is not going to war over this," he said. "Washington will take some kind of symbolic action to express our dismay. I hope very much it will be calibrated to cause pain to PRC [People’s Republic of China] elites but not to further endanger the livelihoods of ordinary Hongkongers, who will probably have a harder time now as some foreign banks and corporations pull out.”

27 May 2020—Better work opportunities for older adults would benefit South Korean economy, Eurasia Review: Sang-Hyop Lee

South Korea has one of the fastest-aging populations in the world. Over the next 30 years, the share of Korea’s population age 65 and older is projected to grow from 15 to 40 percent. Given this extreme rate of population aging, Korean policymakers face two critical challenges—ensuring an adequate level of support for the elderly while maintaining robust economic growth. Keeping healthy older people in the labor force can help achieve both these goals.

25 May 2020—China's domestic politics hamstring its diplomacy, Asia Times: Denny Roy

The pandemic was both a crisis and an opportunity for the People’s Republic of China (PRC). Beijing had the chance to make the best of a bad situation. The initial attempt to cover up the severity of the outbreak damaged China’s international reputation, but thereafter the Chinese government relatively quickly flattened the curve of infections as the disease exploded in the United States and Western Europe. On balance, however, China’s pandemic diplomacy has clearly failed. The reason for its failure is that China’s international pandemic outreach was an extension of Chinese domestic politics, specifically the insecurity of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and the regime’s emphasis on promoting the image of paramount leader Xi Jinping. The phenomenon of domestic politics influencing foreign policy is certainly not unique to China, but the peculiarities of the PRC political system especially in the Xi era, create additional baggage that may keep China from punching its weight as a potential global leader.

25 May 2020—China’s tech reach falls short of its ambitions, EE Times: Dieter Ernst

Technology scholar Dieter Ernst concluded in a recent study that China’s AI industry is immature, fragmented, and focused primarily on AI apps that will yield a quick return on investment. For all the resources Beijing has thrown at AI development, China has yet to develop the ecosystem necessary for real technology innovation. The same is true for semiconductors and other critical electronics technologies.

22 May 2020—New China cold war: US overtures to Taiwan escalate tension with Beijing, Washington Examiner: Denny  Roy

President Trump’s administration plans to sell 18 torpedoes to Taiwan at a time when worsening tensions between the United States and China raise the specter of conflict over the island’s political sovereignty. "The current nadir in US-China relations frees Washington from the burden of trying to please Beijing and also makes an independent Taiwan more strategically valuable,” said East-West Center Senior Fellow Denny Roy.

20 May 2020—One pandemic, two Koreas: Coronavirus and the Korean peninsula standoff, Korea Press Foundation: Marcus Noland

"North Korea's political culture inhibits the communication of bad news, and it is notable that the government claims that there are no COVID-19 cases, despite a variety of indicators that would suggest otherwise," according to East-West Center Non-Resident Senior Fellow Marcus Noland. "If a decision is made to openly seek outside assistance, Pyonyang will exhibit a predilection for material aid such as medical equipment, which can be portrayed internally as a kind of political tribute to the Kim regime," Noland added.

19 May 2020—Hawaii antibody tests suggest community's level of exposure low, Hawaii Public Radio: Tim Brown

"The level of COVID-19 exposure in the community is still comparatively low," says Tim Brown, an infectious disease expert at the East-West Center. "In some ways, that's good news, but it's bad news if you're hoping that herd immunity in the community is going to protect people," he said. Brown said herd immunity alone would probably not work in a place as large as the United States because the death toll would be far too large. That’s why he predicts that while we wait for a vaccine, a more likely scenario will be that doctors will find better treatments for COVID-19. Although there may not be much COVID-19 circulating in Hawaii, Brown says we shouldn’t let our guard down. He said with some less contagious diseases, it’s enough to get the infection down to a very low number. But with the coronavirus as transmissible as it is, one person’s cough can infect many people.

19 May 2020—报告揭露中国AI产业现况的神秘面纱![The report reveals the mystery of the current state of China's AI industry! [In Chinese], EE Times: Dieter Ernst

19 May 2020—북 지도자 관련 급변사태에도 북 체제 크게 바뀌지 않을 것 [The North Korean regime will not change significantly in the event of a sudden change in relations with North Korean leaders: In Korean], RFA: Marcus Noland

12 May 2020—No fire and fury: 2020 may be a quiet year for US-North Korea relations, National Interest: Denny Roy

For several reasons, this year will likely be a hiatus in serious US-DPRK diplomacy. The re-election of President Donald Trump in November 2020 is far from certain. Pyongyang therefore has little incentive to engage in hard bargaining to reach an agreement that might be overturned by a new US president in January 2021. If the usual false hope of a breakthrough in US-DPRK relations is off the table for 2020, it still appears available in Pyongyang's relations with South Korea, where President Moon Jae-in's government remains ready to talk economic benefits now and denuclearization later.

11 May 2020—Using vinegar to fight coronavirus: Cheap, simple symptom checks can help economies reopen, Hawaii Public Radio: Tim Brown

Tim Brown, an expert in infectious diseases and epidemic behavior at the East-West Center, says that the main benefit of symptom screening, such as fever checks, is that they’re quick and easy. “They’re non-invasive, they take only seconds, they can be done at the door,” Brown said. "Of course, there is one obvious weakness to the smell test," says Brown. “It’s relying on self-reporting and if people know ‘I’m supposed to say I smell something,’ then they may just say that they smell something. Additionally, not all those infected will experience a fever or loss of smell." Still, says Brown, in “any place where you’re likely to have significant crowding, in places like a healthcare setting, where workers are motivated to protect themselves and their co-workers, I think it could be very valuable there. Schools, military bases, and prisons are all good candidates for increased symptom checks regimens.

8 May 2020—COVID-19 antibody tests available on Big Island, Big Island Now: Tim Brown

“The antibody tests that are out there now, which are the ones that are most amenable to becoming take-home tests, are bad—for a lack of any other word,” Dr. Tim Brown, Senior Fellow at UNAIDS Collaborating Center at the East-West Center, said in late April. Brown added that the antibody tests cross-react with common cold coronaviruses, which means someone may test positive for a cold they had a month ago.

7 May 2020—How China is slow conquering the South China Sea, National Interest: Denny Roy

Changing the trajectory of the trend in the South China Sea would require more of the region to decide that the long-term risk of de facto Chinese ownership of this important waterway outweighs the short-term risk—both military and economic—of taking a stronger stand against Chinese encroachment.

6 May 2020—On beach closures, the governor and lieutenant governor aren’t on the same page, Hawaii News Now: Tim Brown

Despite the growing list of businesses and state parks that are set to reopen, Gov. David Ige says Hawaii’s beaches are still off limits for relaxing and sunbathing. “I’m less worried about beaches than crowding at Ala Moana Center and so on," said Tim Brown, Senior Fellow at the East West Center and an expert on infectious diseases.

6 May 2020—Health experts say it’s too soon to reopen, Honolulu Star-Advertiser: Tim Brown

“Opening malls is brain-dead. That’s just inviting crowds. That’s just foolish. One thing we know about the virus is it loves crowds. The last thing we want to do is bring people together,” said Dr. Tim Brown, an infectious-disease modeler and senior fellow at the East-West Center. “Right now the number is basically down because most people are sheltering in place, but once we open up, the number of (cases and) close contacts is going to rise very rapidly. The streets are a lot more crowded; people are already effectively starting to lift the lockdown even though they’re technically supposed to be in lockdown.”

1 May 2020—China’s eight arguments against Western ‘hubris’ and why they fail, Pacific Forum: Denny Roy

The poor performance of Western Europe and the United States during the pandemic has revived Western declinism. A recent example is an essay by Zhou Bo of the Center of China-American Defense Relations, Academy of Military Science of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army. Zhou’s assertions are important, but also mainly wrong, and therefore call for a critique.

29 April 2020—Antibody tests now available statewide, Big Island Now: Tim Brown

The antibody tests that are out there now, which are the ones that are most amenable to becoming take-home tests, are bad—for a lack of any other word,” said Dr. Tim Brown, Senior Fellow at UNAIDS Collaborating Center at the East-West Center. Brown added the antibody tests cross-react with common cold coronaviruses, which means someone may test positive for a cold they had a month ago. “The FDA is basically approving tests that have extremely high false-positive rates, so they are overestimating the prevalence… and badly overestimating it,” he continued. “They give a lot of people the impression that they’re not infective when they are, and vice versa, that they are infective when they’re not.” That could cause serious health risks for those who believe they were exposed based on a bad test and head out into the community with a false sense of security due to a phantom immunity that doesn’t actually exist, Brown said.

29 April 2020—Corona virus effect on US China trade [audio], The Conversation (Hawaii Public Radio): Christopher McNally

Chris McNally, Adjunct Senior Fellow at the East-West Center and Political Economy Professor at Chaminade University, says overall trade with China is down, but trade in medical equipment is up through the roof. Some new Chinese companies that are producing medical equipment were not well qualified, resulting in the export of shoddy goods, but the Chinese government is now putting better rules in place. Broader trade issues are currently on hold, but Dr. McNally hopes that cooler heads will prevail because neither side can win a trade war.

26 April 2020—If Kim Jong-un dies North Korea could survive (with Kim Yo-jong taking over), The National Interest: Denny Roy

The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) regime could survive the death of Kim Jong-un.The established pattern of hereditary succession suggests Kim’s younger sister, Kim Yo-jong, would most likely replace him.… The death of Kim Jong-un would lead to uncertainty in US-DPRK relations. The personal relationship between the two national leaders would be gone. A period of introversion by North Korea might follow, in effect a hiatus in bilateral relations. But equally likely is an increase in tensions on the Peninsula.

24 April 2020—Q&A: No winners in America-first/China-first AI war, EE Times: Dieter Ernst

There is no doubt that the US government should fight against unfair practices in intellectual property rights, trade secrets, and government procurement, wherever they occur, including in China. But most important, both the US government and the private sector need to join forces and develop and implement a national strategy to upgrade the country’s innovation system in order to cope with the challenge of China’s innovation policy from a position of strength. China in turn needs to reconsider the notion that the country can only progress in AI if it pursues a zero-sum competition policy in its relationship with the United States and other advanced countries. China should provide safeguards to foreign companies against forced technology transfer through policies such as compulsory licensing, cyber security standards and certification, and restrictive government procurement policies.In short, technology warfare based on crude techno-nationalism is threatening to destroy AI’s global knowledge-sharing culture.

22 April 2020—Debunking the myth of China's AI superiority, EE Times: Dieter Ernst

It is time to accept that the US, the most powerful country in the world, can no longer single-handedly dictate the pace of innovation in AI and in IT at large. It is in the interest of US industry that the US government returns to a policy that promotes rather than disrupts the rule of law in international trade, in order to regain stability, predictability, and a more equitable distribution of gains from trade. It will take quite some time to repair the tremendous damage done by current US policies.

16 April 2020—Reasons for Taiwan to be hopeful, Taipei Times: Denny Roy

Four longer-term trends have positive implications for Taiwan. First, Taiwan is on track to remain prosperous after the pandemic blows over. Second, the pandemic has increased world respect and sympathy for Taiwan, which will pay long-term dividends. A third positive trend is increased US support for Taiwan. The fourth positive trend is the routinization of Taiwan’s autonomy from China. Taiwan is not only a de facto independent country, it is a successful and internationally respected one.

15 April 2020—Hawaii lags behind other states in release of COVID-19 data, Honolulu Civil Beat: Tim Brown

“When you put out 26 when the number is really 56, you’re downplaying the problem and giving the public the wrong impression,” said Tim Brown, a Senior Fellow at the East-West Center who specializes in infectious disease epidemiology and modeling. “I’m a firm believer that in public health you give the public the truth and let them make their own choices.” In particular, Brown would like to see the Department of Health provide more information about contact tracing and the clusters of positive coronavirus cases that are popping up in the community so that individuals can use that information to change their habits. He said this will be especially important as officials consider allowing businesses to reopen and life begins to get back to some semblance of normalcy. The number of hospitalizations are important, too, he said, because those figures highlight just how serious contracting COVID-19 can be. “It’s valuable for people to see that this thing is not a gentle virus,” Brown said.

15 April 2020—Two plans to reopen Hawaii's economy, The Conversation (Hawaii Public Radio): Tim Brown

Tim Brown, infectious disease specialist at the East-West Center, stresses that testing for COVID-19 is "critically important from a public health perspective in terms of giving us the entry point for contact tracing."

14 April 2020—Korea's economic policy to overcome the corona virus: Concentration and speed [in Korean], U. Korea News: Joonkyung Ha

14 April 2020—VIDEO: Conditions to lifting Hawaii shutdown debated, Big Island Video News: Tim Brown

According to a presentation by Tim Brown, a Senior Fellow at the East-West Center, lifting the shutdown all hinges on “having the capacity to rapidly test suspected cases, trace their close contacts, and quarantine them to stem the growth of the epidemic.” “In addition, we must have data to inform triggers for reimposing lockdown should the epidemic resurge,” Brown said. “The worry I do have is that because the social isolation measures have been so effective, only a small fraction of the population has contracted the COVID-19 virus so far,” Brown said. “Based on experiences with other coronaviruses, these people are likely to have some measure of at least temporary immunity to reinfection. However, the rest of the population—the other 99.9% percent of us—are still as vulnerable to infection as ever. This virus spreads remarkably easily and quickly in the absence of controls. Each person infected transmits the virus to 2 or 3 others, usually within a period of several days, and sometimes before they even develop symptoms. If we were to lift the shutdown measures now and go back to our previous way of life, we could easily find ourselves in a New York type situation within a month or two.”

“Thus, as we lift the restrictions,” Brown continued, “unless we are prepared to see this epidemic take off again we will need to identify new infections promptly, trace their close contacts, and get those people into isolation as quickly as we can.” “This creates preconditions for lifting the shutdown,” Brown stated. “We must have a solid testing and contact tracing program in place, and we must have the ability to ensure isolation of close contacts of coronavirus cases from the community. If we reopen without these programs in place, we’re wearing blinders .”

14 April 2020—Hawaii appears to be flattening the COVID-19 curve—for now, Honolulu Civil Beat: Tim Brown

Any model of COVID-19 in Hawaii is hampered by limited data, however, says Tim Brown, an infectious disease modeler and Senior Fellow at the East-West Center. “The data here is sparse enough that any model is not likely to be particularly solid or realistic here,” says Brown, who specializes in HIV/AIDS and has been observing the progress of the coronavirus in Hawaii. But Brown agrees that the epidemic on Oahu appears to be slowing down, noting that cases in Maui County appear to be trending upward. “Whether that will hold up we will see,” he says.

14 April 2020—Hawaii experts disagree over importance of testing in reopening economy, Hawaii Public Radio: Tim Brown

Tim Brown, an infectious disease specialist at the East-West Center, co-wrote a plan with economist Sumner LaCroix of the University of Hawaii Economic Research Organization. Their plan emphasized the importance of testing for the novel coronavirus. At Monday’s briefing to lawmakers, Brown reaffirmed the importance of testing. “Where it's critically important from a public health perspective is really in terms of giving us the entry point for contact tracing,” he said.

14 April 2020—Hawaii has the lowest coronavirus infection rate in U.S.—so far, Government Technology [also appeared in Honolulu Star-Advertiser]: Tim Brown

Tim Brown, a senior fellow at the East-West Center with expertise in infectious disease and behavioral epidemiology, said the stay-home order and social distancing, for the most part, are “having the desired effect.” There has been relatively slow growth in hospitalizations and deaths, and “because this virus usually manifests in symptoms in less than two weeks, if the virus were widespread in the community, these numbers would be growing more rapidly,” Brown told the House select committee Monday.

But before the state can lift the statewide lockdown, it must have the capacity to more rapidly test suspected cases, quickly trace their contacts and quarantine people as needed, he said. The state also needs “data to inform triggers for reimposing lockdown should the epidemic surge,” Brown said. Hawaii health officials will need that extra lab capacity and other resources to cope with the new coronavirus for the next one to two years until a vaccine is developed, he said. “If we were to lift the shutdown measures now and go back to our previous way of life, we could easily find ourselves in a New York type of situation within a month or two,” he said. He cited the example of Singapore, which has traced clusters of infections around workplaces, preschools, gyms, shipyards, private functions, and dormitories.

14 April 2020—House select committee’s fourth meeting looks at COVID-19 testing, business support, and leadership moving forward, State of Reform: Tim Brown

Tim Brown, Senior Fellow of the East-West Center, started a discussion on testing people for the virus, saying rapid turnaround of results along with a thorough contact tracing system are needed to get a better picture of who has virus and how it is spreading.

14 April 2020—Reopening Hawaii’s economy will likely be slow and painful, Honolulu Civil Beat: Tim Brown

One thing all seem to agree on is that it’s important to have a robust system to trace people who have been in contact with people who test positive. The challenge is that conducting fast and extensive contact tracing isn’t easy, said Tim Brown, an economist with the East-West Center who co-authored the UHERO paper with University of Hawaii economist Sumner La Croix. The COVID-19 contact tracing criteria involve tracking down anyone who came into contact—meaning within 2 meters for at least 15 minutes—with an infected person, Brown said. This typically can mean some 30 to 40 people, he said. “The staffing needs should not be understated,” Brown said. That’s where apps can come in. He pointed specifically to Safe Paths, an open source technology being developed by MIT. As MIT describes it, the technology allows people to “match the personal diary of location data on their smartphones with anonymized, redacted, and blurred location history of infected patients.”

13 April 2020—Date to reopen Hawai‘i economy a distant, moving target, Big Island Now: Tim Brown

Experts agree that a host of upgrades to testing capacity and efficiency, as well as data provided by technology the state does not yet possess, will be necessary before a date to reopen the economy can be set. Tim Brown, East-West Center Senior Fellow, said the state is a long way from obtaining either. “[Hawai‘i] must have a solid testing and contact tracing system in place and the ability to ensure isolation of close contacts from the community,” Brown said. “If we open without this in place, we’re wearing blinders and entering a leaky boat.” Contact tracing will provide a real-time picture of what the virus is doing. Currently, with a COVID-19 viral incubation period of up to two weeks and test turnaround times that stretch on for days instead of hours, the picture officials have is wildly out-of-date. Rapid turnaround tests are needed, Brown said, and the state must be able to process tests on its own without shipping them to the mainland.

13 April 2020—Hawaii must boost COVID-19 testing, contact tracing before reopening the economy, KITV-4: Tim Brown

Widespread testing and contact tracing data are needed before the economy can be reopened. “We must have a solid testing and contact tracing program in place and we must have the ability to ensure isolation of close contacts of coronavirus cases from the community," said Tim Brown, infectious disease expert and Senior Fellow at the East-West Center. "If we reopen without these programs in place, we're wearing blinders and piloting a leaky boat as we fight a deadly virus.”

13 April 2020—University's report weighs next steps for economy, tourism, Travel Weekly: Tim Brown

In a report published by the University of Hawaii on April 3, two researchers take a stab at charting Hawaii's next steps after the pandemic shutdown, including what needs to happen for tourism to flourish once again. The authors, University of Hawaii economics professor emeritus Sumner LaCroix and East-West Center Senior Fellow Tim Brown, suggest it could be a year or longer before Hawaii is fully open for business again but allow that the economy could bounce back sooner if certain criteria are realized. For one thing, more resources may need to be dedicated to monitoring those subject to quarantine, including electronic ankle bracelets or location-monitoring apps, and for contact tracing. Next, to further containment and inch closer to restarting shuttered businesses, the state must establish facilities where exposed people can be cared for in isolation, with potential candidates including hotels in tourist districts and neighborhoods or vacant military housing. Once the state has a handle on the pandemic, which means a sustained reduction in the number of new cases for at least 14 days, a drop in demand on hospital services and emergency services, and more robust testing and monitoring systems, then the restrictions can be lifted.

12 April 2020—Editorial: Trace for coronavirus containment, then carefully restart Hawaii businesses, Honolulu Star Advertiser: Tim Brown

The University of Hawaii Economic Research Organization (UHERO) has drafted a plan titled “How to Control Hawaii’s Coronavirus Epidemic and Bring Back the Economy: The Next Steps,” authored by Sumner La Croix and Tim Brown, that presents a well-founded and rational strategy. One idea in the UHERO draft that could provide some immediate direction is the proposal that government workers who have been sidelined by the stay-at-home order could be drafted to help with “contact tracing.” That’s the critical function of identifying those whom a COVID-19-infected person had contacted, potentially passing on the virus.

9 April 2020—China may forge ahead of the US in the AI chip race, but at what cost to both?, South China Morning Post: Dieter Ernst

Competing in artificial intelligence chips: China’s challenge amid technology war, a special report by East-West Center Adjunct Senior Fellow Dieter Ernst assesses the challenges that China faces in developing its artificial intelligence (AI) industry due to unprecedented US technology export restrictions. A central proposition is that China's achievements in AI lack a robust foundation in leading-edge AI chips, and thus the country is vulnerable to externally imposed supply disruptions. From a US perspective, it is ironic that US restrictions on technology exports may actually strengthen China's resolve to accelerate the development of its domestic semiconductor industry.

8 April 2020—Hawaii has more steps to take to restart local, tourism economies, Pacific Business News: Tim Brown

The scenarios laid out by UHERO include restarting the local economy, which accounts for 77 percent of Hawaii’s gross domestic product, with businesses reorganizing operations to adapt to social distancing in the workplace. The tourism economy would follow.

8 April 2020—UHERO brief: Containing COVID-19, restoring the economy,University of Hawaii News: Tim Brown

Sumner La Croix, University of Hawaiʻi Economic Research Organization (UHERO) research fellow and professor emeritus of economics, and Tim Brown, East-West Center Senior Fellow, examined the state’s efforts to control the coronavirus, studied the plan for testing, contact tracing and isolating, and looked at ways to reduce government-imposed restrictions and gradually reopen the economy. La Croix and Brown acknowledged the state has taken two major steps to limit the spread of COVID-19 through restricting travel and quarantining all arriving passengers for 14 days, and government orders for all residents and visitors to remain at home and to practice social distancing. The third step, which the authors said is the most challenging, is to expand testing, trace the contacts of those infected, enforce isolation and arrange care for ill and exposed people. The final step is for the state to gradually relax stay-at-home orders to allow for some economic activities to resume. However, this must be done with a strong monitoring system in place to avoid a COVID-19 resurgence.

7 April 2020—Researchers offer draft plan for coronavirus recovery, Honolulu Star Advertiser: Tim Brown

Police detectives, teachers, and government workers who have been idled by the pandemic might need to be drafted into service to work on a more aggressive coronavirus contact tracing program in Hawaii, according to the authors of a new paper published by the University of Hawaii Economic Research Organization. UH researcher Researcher Sumner La Croix and East-West Center researcher Tim Brown also make a case for more extensive use of tracking technology to help enforce the quarantines of people who continue to fly to Hawaii or who have been exposed to the coronavirus. The authors also propose that a testing protocol must be established before mass tourism can restart to ensure that visitors coming to Hawaii are not infected.

6 April 2020—Ige, UH economists agree: COVID-19 testing may be key to restoring tourism, Honolulu Civil Beat: Tim Brown

Hawaii’s tourism industry may take as long as 12 to 18 months to begin opening for business again but could restart sooner if certain conditions are met, according to a new study titled How to control Hawaii’s coronavirus epidemic and bring back the economy: The next steps by Sumner LaCroix, UH Professor Emeritus of Economics, and Tim Brown, Senior Fellow with the East-West Center. Commenting on the study, Carl Bonham, executive director of the University of Hawaii Economic Research Organization (UHERO), told the Hawaii House Select Committee on COVID-19 Economic and Financial Preparedness, “Tourism can resume very quickly if Hawaii is perceived as a safe place.… Hawaii could be the premier destination for U.S. travelers over the next year.”

6 April 2020—Echoes of Spanish flu pandemic in Hawaii a century ago heard in coronavirus outbreak, Honolulu Star Advertiser: Eleanor C. Nordyke

Hawaiian Journal of History. Written by former state Statistician Robert C. Schmitt and Eleanor C. Nordyke, a population expert formerly at the East-West Center, the paper recounts the health crisis that gripped the then-U.S. territory during World War I and through the first half of 1920. From the Spanish flu, health officials learned that social distancing and shutting down events and gathering places are effective measures to battle a dangerous respiratory virus.

5 April 2020—Survey: Most of us are staying home during virus outbreak, Honolulu Civil Beat: Tim Brown

About 2% of respondents to a new Hawaii survey say they are living in households where someone has COVID-19 or its symptoms. And 3% said they kept attending social gatherings even after Hawaii’s March 25 stay-at-home order. Those are just a couple of the findings in an ongoing study that seeks to learn more about how people are getting the coronavirus and how it spreads. The survey by Pacific Urban Resilience Lab at the University of Hawaii includes 11,000 responses gathered during the last week of March. Tim Brown, a Senior Fellow at the East-West Center who specializes in infectious disease and behavioral epidemiology, cautions against inferring too much from these initial results. “You certainly don’t want to over-interpret it and assume that it’s representative of what’s going on in the community,” he said. Still, given the dearth of data about COVID-19 in Hawaii right now, “Any information is useful at this point,” he said.

5 April 2020—Why relaunching tourism can only be the last step after bringing back the economy, ETurbo News: Global Travel Industry News: Tim Brown

This comprehensive article spells out in detail how increased testing, comprehensive contact tracing, and isolation of exposed and infected individuals can lead to a rapid reduction in new infections and hospitalizations in Hawaii. Once this system has been put in place and has operated successfully for several weeks, Hawaii may begin to approach several measurable targets—number of new infections, number of new hospitalizations, capacity of the health care system to treat newly infected or exposed individuals—that would enable Governor Ige to gradually relax his stay-at-home order and for individuals to gradually relax some social distancing restrictions. The tourism economy will take longer to restart than the non-tourism economy. This is because tourism from overseas will only resume when either: (1) a vaccine is developed; (2) the coronavirus epidemic is brought completely under control in areas sending tourists to Hawaii; or (3) rapid, same-day antigen tests become available to pre-screen potential visitors.

4 April 2020—The imprecise science of predicting the spread of COVID-19, Honolulu Civil Beat: Tim Brown

Hawaii has confirmed more than 300 COVID-19 infections and three deaths. Compared with national estimates, mapping the trajectory of the virus in Hawaii is particularly tough because of limited data, says Tim Brown, a Senior Fellow at the East-West Center who specializes in infectious disease and behavioral epidemiology. “Right now any models that are being done are relatively ad hoc,” he said. “We’d probably need a more complete picture of what the situation is in the community which we don’t really have right now because the testing is all with symptomatic people. It will take another two to three weeks of data collection and more information about community transmission before the numbers will be significant enough to show a trend," Brown says.

4 April 2020—Rural-to-urban transition may explain viral outbreaks: Vietnam study, Voice of America: James H. Spencer, Sumeet Saksena, and Jefferson Fox

In a study of Vietnam’s response to an avian flu outbreak in 2003, East-West Center scholars and colleagues in Vietnam found that infection rates were highest in areas that were in the process of urbanization and thus had a mix of conditions, such as different rates of toilet access and diverse bird populations near national highways. “On a practical level, information on the link between urban development and disease outbreaks can help government agencies identify which locations are most likely to experience an outbreak of avian influenza so that prevention efforts can be less costly, more targeted, and more effective,” they wrote. They added, “The concepts and methodology that were developed for this study could easily be adapted to many other disease threats, ranging from SARS, Ebola, and dengue fever to the current pandemic of COVID-19.”

3 April 2020—Links between urbanization and viral disease: Lessons for COVID-19, Daily News (Colombo, Sri Lanka): James H. Spencer, Sumeet Saksena, and Jefferson Fox

The current COVID-19 pandemic, which started in Wuhan, China, underscores what the public health community has warned about for more than two decades—the risk of viral diseases capable of spreading from animal to human hosts. The first outbreaks of “bird flu” (highly pathogenic avian influenza—HPAI, subtype H5N1)—raised similar concerns 20 years ago, concerns that have persisted with the outbreak of SARS in 2002–2004 and COVID-19 today.

2 April 2020—"Xi Jinping thought on diplomacy" fails to impress—or reassure, The Diplomat: Denny Roy

Although "Xi Jinping Thought on Diplomacy" is an exercise in public relations by Beijing intended to win over the international community, a close reading still provides plenty of cause for the rest of the world to be concerned about China’s growing global influence and impact. History should make us skeptical of Beijing’s claim, repeated in Xi Thought, that China will break the pattern of great powers using their relative strength and influence to exploit other states.

30 March 2020—An economic hurricane is hurtling towards the South Pacific, The Sydney Morning Herald: Karena Lyons

"Our best chance collectively is to isolate ourselves and break the chain of community transmission," says Karena Lyons, Director of Research at the East-West Center in Honolulu. "I know it was a big deal for my family in Samoa and New Zealand to refrain from going to church—but they did it and they started three weeks ago," says Lyons. "Thank goodness – it took a village to convince my mother."

28 March 2020—Pandemic won’t break the North Korea stalemate, The National Interest: Denny Roy

In Northeast Asia, the disruptive COVID-19 pandemic meets the intractable North Korea problem. Pyongyang is enduring the same wave of illness as its neighbors, but with a weaker economy and healthcare system. Nevertheless, the basic situation on the Korean Peninsula—a tense standoff between nuclear-armed and authoritarian Pyongyang and its US-backed democratic rival South Korea—will persist after the pandemic subsides. It is exceedingly unlikely that the COVID-19 crisis will force Pyongyang to change the direction of its security policy. On the other hand, it is highly likely the pandemic could push Pyongyang toward temporary tactical adjustments, possibly to include another peace offensive.

25 March 2020—China's coronavirus aid seeking to shift narrative away from Beijing's cover-up, experts say, ABC News [Australian Broadcasting Corporation]: Denny Roy

Denny Roy, a senior fellow at the Hawaii-based East-West Center, said China could be seeking to bolster its reputation as "a responsible country", at a time when other nations appeared to be scrambling."This is why China has so strenuously pushed the notions that the disease is contained in China, that China did the rest of the world a favor by acting quickly and effectively, and that China is now a major international benefactor by giving medical suppliers to other virus-hit countries," he said.

25 March 2020—CCP actively aids foreign countries to increase influence [in Chinese], Epoch Times: Denny Roy

25 March 2020—China's frequent actions to fight the epidemic are cold-headed: Motivation is not altruistic [in Chinese], Central News Agency: Denny Roy

25 March 2020—International Relations Task Force addresses common issues, States News Service: Richard Vuylsteke and Denny Roy

The East-West Center's president, Richard Vuylsteke, provided a broad-based outlook on America's regional relations. Leveraging his experience with the American Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong and Taipei, Vuylsteke reflected on the region's movement towards an economic and political inflection point. With respect to Hong Kong and Taiwan, institutional principles of openness and transparency are coming under greater scrutiny vis a vis China's posture towards market openness, rule of law, and local governance. Vuylsteke was followed by Denny Roy, Senior Fellow and Northeast Asia security specialist at EWC, who drilled down into observations about the U.S. Free and Open Indo-Pacific Policy, Asia-Pacific security issues, and Chinese foreign policy.

19 March 2020—China won’t achieve regional hegemony, The Washington Quarterly: Denny Roy

Whether it seeks regional hegemony or not, China’s potential to dominate is restrained by a combination of domestic and international factors including, but not limited to, US commitments and regional resistance to a change in leadership. The region’s future will be more bipolar than unipolar.

6 March 2019—COVID-19 crisis reveals the CCP's true colors, The Japan Times: Denny Roy

The COVID-19 outbreak highlights what some would say is a strength of the Chinese political system: the ability to make quick and bold policy adjustments, such as shutting down travel between large Chinese cities and enforcing restrictions on banned public activity. But the health crisis also reminds us of an unpleasant truth about the Chinese Communist Party: For all the talk from Chinese officials and state-approved commentators about how the rise of China is good for the world, the overwhelming and driving objective of the CCP is its own survival.

4 March 2020—Four coronavirus-driven Chinese consumer trends that will last even after the epidemic has subsided, South China Morning Post: Sumeet Saksena

The outbreak has hastened the transition to e-commerce and accelerated the use of artificial intelligence and robotics. People are also flocking to local stores and pickup points instead of patronizing centralised shopping areas and are showing more interest in food safety and health.

2 March 2020—Why a South Korean church was the perfect petri dish for coronavirus, The Wall Street Journal: Tim Brown

When infections occur, institutions and individuals must quickly share information to locate the virus’s source and prevent further spread. “Failure to do so creates distrust, and distrust disrupts transparency,” said Tim Brown, an infectious-disease researcher at the East-West Center who has consulted with the WHO, “making containment even more challenging, if not impossible.”

18 February 2020—Investments In shared surveillance systems, urban infrastructure integral to managing risks from emerging infectious diseases, experts say, Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report: James H. Spencer, Catherine L. Ross and Sumeet Saksena

Even more so than shared surveillance systems, compatible social and urban infrastructure are needed to manage emerging infectious disease risks effectively.

17 February 2020—Opinion: Smart cities can help fight against infectious diseases, Atlanta Journal-Constitution: James H. Spencer, Catherine L. Ross and Sumeet Saksena

Rapid urban transitions have led to the rise of emerging infectious diseases such as Coronavirus, Avian Flu, MERS, SARS and Ebola. Research has shown that the "spillover" of infectious zoonotic pathogens from domesticated animals to humans happens most frequently where unplanned and rapid urbanization has combined with agricultural intensification and the conversion of natural habitats.

11 February 2020—Impact of coronavirus on global economy, The Conversation [Hawaii Public Radio]: Chris McNally

The Chinese economy has really changed. It is more service oriented, and sectors such as entertainment, retail, and tourism are being hit hard by the coronavirus. Many very large cities lack protective gear and testing kits. Factories that make masks, testing kits, and pharmaceuticals are ramping up production, but others will be closed longer, which also has an impact on South Korea and Japan.

11 February 2020—Republic of the Marshall Islands holds first national climate change and health dialog, Reliefweb: Laura Brewington and John Marra

On January 30-31, 2020, Pacific RISA and NOAA International Research and Applications Project Principal Investigator Laura Brewington of the East-West Center led the first national Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) Climate Change and Health Dialog in Majuro. NOAA’s Regional Climate Services Director, John Marra facilitated the Dialog. According to RMI Secretary of Health Jack Niedenthal, climate impacts on health are not merely something the country needs to prepare for in the future—they are happening right now.

12 January 2020—Beijing’s new ‘landing ship’ could be used to help invade Taiwan, Chinese media suggests, CNBC: Denny Roy

China has developed a new amphibious warship that could be used in future wars involving islands, according to a Beijing-controlled tabloid. “I think they are looking realistically to get Taiwan back in the near future,” Denny Roy, a senior fellow at the East-West Center in Honolulu told CNBC Thursday. The think tank’s defense expert said Beijing’s strategy may be to effectively “frighten Taiwan into submitting without a fight.” According to Roy, Beijing is believed to have the capability today with its existing ships to send about 20,000 troops to Taiwan.

10 January 2020—Closer ties with China? Taiwan’s voters look likely to say, "No thanks," The Christian Science Monitor: Denny Roy

Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen was poised to win another four-year term, her campaign buoyed by a shored up political base and improved economic growth. She also received a boost from the backfiring of China’s pressure tactics toward Taiwan and also toward nearby Hong Kong. “On the part of the Beijing leadership, it’s ... not catastrophic but certainly an extremely unfavorable development if Tsai Ing-wen gets reelected,” says Denny Roy, senior fellow at the East-West Center in Honolulu. “It will generally increase the weight in the debate of those who argue that Taiwan is slipping away and we, China, need to be doing something different to staunch that trend. That is the real danger,” he says.Still, some analysts downplay the significance of the dwindling of such formal ties. “What should really be important” to Taiwan is “very strong unofficial relations with important countries like the United States and Japan,” Mr. Roy says.

East-West Center Research in the News: 2019

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