Start 06.05.2021 - End 31.12.2023

CSDS-Asia Matters Podcast

In collaboration with Asia Matters, we publish a series of podcast episodes to enhance the understanding of Asia's security challenges in Europe:


CSDS-Asia Matters at the Brussels Indo-Pacific Forum - 16/12/2022

This episode was recorded at the first ever 'Brussels Indo-Pacific Forum' organised by the Centre for Security, Diplomacy and Strategy (CSDS). The forum was an opportunity for experts and policymakers from across both Europe and the Indo-Pacific to come together to talk about relevant issues - and for us to take them to one side and record a conversation. Delegates discussed the geopolitical landscape - in particular, the US-China rivalry and how countries in the Indo-Pacific region are responding to it - and what Europe's role in all of that might be. There was a session on the major security and defence trends taking place in the region and one on the quickly changing landscape of technology and supply chains. To give you a flavour of the event, we talked to experts from each of the panels. Firstly, Yuichi Hosoya, Professor of International Politics at Keio University, spoke on the balance of power in the region and how it's changed over time. Yoon Jung Choi, Director of the Center for Indo-Pacific Studies at South Korea's Sejong Institute, explained global supply chains and digital partnerships between Europe and Indo-Pacific countries. And lastly, Richard Tibbels, Special Envoy for the Indo-Pacific at the European External Action Service, talked about how the EU sees its role in the region - and what the trends over the next few years might be. Listen to the podcast episode:



How to Deal with Xi Jinping's China - 02/11/2022

All eyes have been on China recently as the 20th Communist Party Congress drew to a close, and Xi Jinping was confirmed as leader for a historic third term. Joining us this episode to discuss the outcome of the congress, and more, is one of the UK’s leading academics on China, Kerry Brown. He's a prolific author and started his career as a diplomat in the British embassy in Beijing in the 1990s. This show was recorded live in London in conjunction with the Lau Institute at King’s College where Kerry is Professor of Chinese Studies. We talked about two of his most recent books. Firstly, 'Xi: A Study in Power' which looks at the rise of China’s leader and where his rule might be headed, and secondly, a fascinating collection that Kerry has put together with Gemma Chenger Deng called ‘China Through European Eyes’. In it, they take excerpts from writings on China by thinkers from Marco Polo to Voltaire, and Karl Marx to Simone de Beauvoir, looking at the ways in which they have interacted with and interpreted the country. Listen to the podcast episode:



From Shrimp to Whale: A History of Modern Korea - 30/09/2022

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. Listen to the podcast episode:



The legacy of Shinzo Abe - 19/07/2022

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 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.’ Listen to the podcast episode and get the transcript here:



An overlooked actor? Japan's role in South East Asia - 12/07/2022

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. Listen to the podcast episode and get the transcript here:



The uneasy alliance between North Korea and China - 04/07/2022

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. Listen to the podcast episode and get the transcript here:



The Philippines: A Family Business - 23/05/2022

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. Listen to the podcast episode here:



Asia’s Response to the War in Ukraine - 05/04/2022

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. Listen to the podcast episode and get the transcript here:



Close and nasty: South Korea's divisive election - 16/03/2022

This time, we look at the recent incredibly close presidential election in South Korea. After a bruising and sometimes nasty campaign, conservative candidate Yoon Suk-yeol won out and will take office in May. We asked our excellent panel of guests what his win tells us about the state of politics in South Korea, and what Yoon's foreign policy might look like. We talk about the fierce debate around gender equality during the campaign and Yoon's appeal to young, male voters, as well as the impact of the country's fast-rising house prices. We also discussed how Yoon might respond to North Korea's increased aggression recently and his approach to the war in Ukraine; how he will manage the country's relationship with the U.S. and China, and whether South Korea's place in world affairs matches its economic prowess. Our panel includes: Ramon Pacheco Pardo, Korea chair at CSDS; Tim Martin, the Seoul bureau chief for the Wall Street Journal; and Yoonjung Seo, a producer in CNN's Seoul bureau. Listen to the podcast episode and the transcript here:



Women's Lives In Modern China - 07/03/2022

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. Listen to the podcast episode and get the transcript here:



ASEAN and the European Union - Kindred Spirits or Worlds Apart? - 25/02/2022

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. Listen to the podcast episode and get the transcript here:



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 the Republic of Korea and a Distinguished Professor at CSDS, Brussels School of Governance, on the show. He has specialised in 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. Listen to this podcast episode:



North Korea: The View from the South

We often talk about North Korea’s future in terms of how the issue plays out in the region’s broad geopolitical rivalry, and between the US and China. Less discussed is how the issue plays out 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. Listen to this podcast episode:



How the EU Fits into Asia’s Security Puzzle

This week we turn our attention to the Indo-Pacific - and the new geopolitical groupings emerging there, from multilateral trade deals to nascent security arrangements. The most well-known of the latter 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? Eva Pejsova, Senior Japan Fellow at Centre for Security, Diplomacy and Strategy (CSDS) of the Brussels School of Governance, 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. Listen to this podcast episode:



North Korea: Is full denuclearisation still a viable goal?

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. Listen to this podcast episode:



Dealing with Disinformation: A Global Challenge

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. Listen to this podcast episode: