The East-West Center Research Program works with research and policy communities in the US and the Asia Pacific to provide more complete knowledge and deeper understanding of environments, societies, economies, governments, and international relations in the region. Research is conducted in close collaboration with networks of individuals and institutions throughout Asia and the Pacific and is shared broadly with planners, policymakers, regional specialists, the media, and the general public.

Center Research Highlighted in East-West Wire

In 2017, the East-West Wire, a long-standing media service provided by the East-West Center, increased coverage of findings and commentary from East-West Center researchers, visitors, and colleagues from the University of Hawaii and other research organizations. Produced by the Research Program in Honolulu, the Wires are two-page summaries that cover a wide range of topics. Many recent Wires are based on presentations made in the Research Program's Noon Seminar Series.


Other Recent Activities

The Arctic in World Affairs: A North Pacific Dialogue on Building Capacity for a Sustainable Arctic in a Changing Global Order addresses five major themes relating to the Arctic: the impacts of a changing global order; responsible economic development of the Arctic; sustainable Arctic communities; Arctic challenges and opportunities for global maritime industries; and opportunities for enhancing the dialogue between practitioners and analysts. This book is available as a free download from the East-West Center website.



Japan's dramatic transformation from economic success story to prime example of economic stagnation offers important policy lessons to advanced countries everywhere. A new book, published by the Korean Development Institute and the East-West Center, assesses a wide range of policy approaches aimed at avoiding stagnation and economic decline, with lessons for the Republic of Korea. The book, Economic Stagnation in Japan, Exploring the Causes and Remedies of Japanization was edited by Dongchul Cho, Takatoshi Ito, and Andrew Mason and is available from the publisher, Edward Elgar.



In early December 2017, nearly 100 parliamentarians, directors of national statistics agencies, university-based researchers, and representatives from civil-society organizations came together in Chiang Mai, Thailand, to discuss how population change is affecting Asian economies. Some of the research findings presented at the gathering are summarized in NTA Bulletin 12, Sharing the demographic dividend: Findings from low- and middle-income countries in Asia.


East-West Center researchers recently launched a collaborative study on changes in rice farming in mainland Southeast Asia, supported by the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). Researchers will examine one of the most intriguing agricultural-development questions in the region—how have fewer, older farmers with fewer agricultural laborers and smaller farms managed to more than double total rice production over the past 20 years?


The East-West Center’s Pacific Regional Integrated Sciences and Assessments (Pacific RISA) program helps communities in Hawai'i and the US-Affiliated Pacific Islands anticipate and adapt to a changing climate. Recent activities in Hawai'i include an assessment of the effects of future climate change on freshwater resources on Maui and Oahu. In the Republic of the Marshall Islands, Pacific RISA is evaluating the impact of climate change on human migration. The Pacific RISA program is also leading the development of the Pacific Islands chapter of the fourth US National Climate Assessment.


Selected Publications by East-West Center Authors

What do we learn when we "Count Women's Work"? (2018). NTA Bulletin No.11. Honolulu: East-West Center.

Taking account of unpaid care and housework substantially increases the cost of raising children but also shows that the elderly, who often contribute substantially to care and housework, are not as heavy a burden on their families as sometimes suggested.

Household cooking fuel use in rural and peri-urban Viet Nam: A multilevel longitudinal analysis of supply side factors, by Sumeet Saksena, Chinh Cong Tran, and Jefferson Fox (2018). Energy for Sustainable Development. 44:47–54.

There may be places in Vietnam where the transition from wood to cleaner fuels for household cooking has slowed down due to the government's successful small-holder plantation programs. Other external interventions, such as highway construction and improved access to markets, may facilitate households moving to cleaner fuels.

Prospects for Taiwan maintaining its autonomy under Chinese pressure, by Denny Roy (2017). Asian Survey. 57(6): 1135–58.

The widely believed notion that Taiwan will inevitably submit to rule by Beijing is not politically, economically, or strategically well grounded. Despite its economic influence and growing military might, China’s ability to compel involuntary unification is far from certain if Taiwan’s people are determined to maintain their autonomy.

Sharing the demographic dividend: Findings from low-and middle-income countries in Asia (2017). NTA Bulletin No. 12. Honolulu: East-West Center.

Recent work by National Transfer Accounts (NTA) teams in Asia sheds light on how both the contributions and benefits associated with population change are shared-—among age groups, between genders, among income groups, and between urban and rural residents. Better insights into these distributional issues can potentially help policymakers maximize the potential of demographic change to stimulate economic growth and reduce the disparities among population groups.

Misunderstanding North Korea, by Denny Roy (2017). AsiaPacific Issues No. 133. Honolulu: East-West Center.

It is important to dispense with four common misunderstandings about North Korea. First, characterizations of the regime as irrational are wrong. Second, Pyongyang is extremely unlikely to exchange its nuclear weapons for greater trade opportunities with democratic countries. Third, the option of using military action to stop North Korea's missile program is not "on the table." Finally, depending on China to solve the problem is fruitless because the Chinese fear a collapse of the regime more than they fear a nuclear-armed North Korea.

More Publications by East-West Center Authors…

EWC Research in the News

11 April 2018—Hawaii: Facing North Korea with the aloha spirit, The Diplomat: Denny Roy

Denny Roy said that the United States has three options for dealing with Pyongyang: launch preventative “surgical strikes,” accept a nuclear-armed North Korea, or pursue diplomatic negotiations. Now, with a diplomatic breakthrough and talk of a possible Trump-Kim summit, Roy continues to see a North Korean strike against Hawaii as a “very low-probability event.”

5 April 2018—What is "Made in China 2025"? Policy could trigger US trade war, International Business Times: Dieter Ernst

Dieter Ernst explained that the "Made in China 2025" initiative came from the realization that China's investment-driven “Global Factory” model, based on low-wage production, was no longer enough to provide long-term economic growth and prosperity. 

29 March 2018—Kim Jong Un now poised to extract concessions, The Straits Times: Denny Roy

Denny Roy stressed that China wants influence over any agreement between North Korea and the US.

23 March 2018—For the U.S. and China, a technology cold war that's freezing over, New York Times: Dieter Ernst

Recent tit-for-tat trade actions could deepen what has become a global contest for technological dominance between the United States and China. Dieter Ernst points out that the Chinese have a long way to go in manufacturing semiconductors, but they are well aware that they are by far the most important market for American companies.

14 March 2018—PM Hasina calls on Myanmar to help repatriate Rohingya, Straits Times: Charles Morrison

In a recent visit to Singapore, Bangladesh Prime Minister asked for ASEAN support to convince the Myanmar government to prepare for the safe return of the Rohingya refugees. Charles Morrison cautions, however, that ASEAN would be unlikely to interfere in what would be considered an internal Myanmar problem.

9 March 2018—Trump, too, needs to be a smart cookie, Pacific Forum: Denny Roy

As the Trump administration plans a summit meeting with the leaders of North Korea, they need to have realistic expectations, be aware of Pyongyang's core objectives, and keep in mind the larger geopolitical context in the region.

7 January 2018—Is a full oil embargo against North Korea even possible?, South China Morning Post: Denny Roy

Cutting off North Korea's oil imports, some have argued, could bring economic and military activity to a halt, inexorably forcing Kim Jong-un to put his nukes on the bargaining table. But most of North Korea’s oil is imported from China, and it is unlikely China will ever agree to a full, sustained oil embargo. This is because a total cutoff on exports to North Korea could lead to regime collapse in Pyongyang—something Beijing fears more than a nuclear-armed neighbor.

5 January 2018—Can China really take over Taiwan?, The Washington Post: Denny Roy

For years, most analysts in the United States generally accepted the idea that Taiwan's status as a de facto independent democracy was unsustainable as China's economy and military rose to dominate Asia. In recent years, however, U.S. analysts and officials have begun to doubt whether China has the capacity, or even the will, to take over Taiwan.

More East-West Center in the News…

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