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Asia and Pacific

Decades of impressive economic growth and stability, combined with the emergence of China and India as major powers, have significantly transformed patterns of competition and cooperation within the Asia-Pacific region. The economic and strategic importance of the Asia-Pacific region, especially in this 'Asian Century', is increasing rapidly in the international arena. The Lowy Institute's diverse team of experts charts the political, strategic and economic dynamics defining the region, its importance to Australia, and its place on the global stage.

Progress and the Party: Social(ist) tensions in Vietnam

Elliot Brennan is a Research Fellow at the Institute for Security and Development Policy (Sweden) and a Non-Resident Fellow at the Pacific Forum-Center for Strategic and International Studies (US).   Late last month, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi met with his Vietnamese counterpart, Pham Binh

Reader ripostes: The Guardian's flawed Indonesia quiz

Stephen Grenville writes: Nicholas Stuart is right in spotting an error in The Guardian’s Indonesia Quiz, but he misses the best part of the British connection in only mentioning their presence at the end of WWII. Much more interesting is the presence of the British during and after the

Obama's Asia trip and the credibility of the pivot

Michael Green served on the US National Security Council staff from 2001-2005. He is now Senior Vice President for Asia at CSIS and a non-resident fellow at the Lowy Institute. President Obama has cut Malaysia and the Philippines from his itinerary for his upcoming Asia trip, but still appears

Obama's Asia trip and the credibility of the pivot

Michael Green served on the US National Security Council staff from 2001-2005. He is now Senior Vice President for Asia at CSIS and a non-resident fellow at the Lowy Institute. President Obama has cut Malaysia and the Philippines from his itinerary for his upcoming Asia trip, but still appears

How Indonesia's print media saw the Abbott visit

Yesterday Sam Roggeveen provided English-language links to coverage of Prime Minister Abbott's visit to Indonesia. This post looks at the Indonesian language print media on Tuesday and Wednesday. I've covered four of Indonesia's largest daily newspapers — Kompas, Jawa Pos, Koran Tempo and Media

Abbott's Indonesia visit: Links

Tony Abbott's press statement alongside President Yudhoyono. (UPDATE: Video of the joint press conference. Tks Politics Australia.) Abbott's remarks to the official dinner in Jakarta. Reporting on yesterday's meeting is mixed, with Fairfax saying Abbott got a significant concession from President

China's environmental crisis, close up

China watcher James West writes for The Atlantic on his latest train trip through China, and has a short accompanying video (above): I have never before been as dumbfounded as during a train ride this week from Beijing through a swathe of China’s northeast coal belt... ...The scene could be a

Confucianism? Engage platonically

Nicholas Stuart is a Canberra Times columnist and author of Kevin Rudd: An Unauthorised Political Biography. Melissa Conley Tyler’s reminder that there might be different ways to ‘think’ (or, to construct the formulation another way, ‘decipher the way of the world’) is timely. Engaging

Indonesia political update

Following Wednesday's interview updating you on the economic situation in Indonesia, below is my chat with the Lowy Institute's David McRae on the political situation. Dave spoke on this topic at Monday's Lowy Institute-ANU Indonesia Mini-Update event (full audio for the event here). Dave talks

Not so inscrutable: Learning how Asians think

Melissa Conley Tyler is National Executive Director of the Australian Institute of International Affairs. In 1998 it was still possible to publish a book with the title Can Asians Think?, at least if you were Singaporean. I don’t think anyone would ask that question now. But at a time when Asia

China's bullet trains: Build it and they will come

There's been a lot of talk about overcapacity, but the New York Times reports that China's high-speed rail (HSR) network is a success: China’s high-speed rail system has emerged as an unexpected success story. Economists and transportation experts cite it as one reason for China’s continued

Indonesian economy update

Yesterday the Lowy Institute hosted* one of our regular 'mini update' conferences on Indonesia, and I got the chance to talk with two of the speakers, Jason Alford from the Australian Treasury and Moekti Soejachmoen from the Support for Economic Analysis Development in Indonesia (SEADI) project.

Christopher Koch, 1932-2013: A literary guide to Asia

The death yesterday of Christopher Koch at the age of 81 marks the end of a distinguished literary career. Twice winner of the Miles Franklin Award, Koch's work as a writer spanned novels and poetry as well as pungent commentary on what he saw as the failings of contemporary culture. For those

US-China: Why things won't go well

Deep and rather arresting pessimism here about the future of US-China relations from Jennifer Lind and Daryl Press: The best hope for amicable U.S.-China relations rests on Beijing adopting a highly restrained grand strategy, but it would be historically unprecedented if it did so. China would be

Andrew Michelmore: Understanding China's SOEs

Eva O’Dea is a Research Associate in the Lowy Institute’s East Asia Program. Australia needs to better understand Chinese state owned enterprises (SOEs), according to Andrew Michelmore, CEO of MMG Limited. In his address to the Lowy Institute’s tenth anniversary China Changing Lecture in

Michelmore on Chinese investment in Australia

Eva O’Dea is a Research Associate in the Lowy Institute’s East Asia Program. Australia has ‘tarnished’ its reputation for policy stability in recent years through mismanagement and miscommunication over the introduction of the Minerals Resources Rent Tax and carbon pricing, according to

Views across the Pacific: Change in Myanmar

Although still not a democracy, Myanmar has been the standout case of political change in Southeast Asia over the past two years. In this new video, the third in the 'Views Across the Pacific' series with the Washington, DC-based Center for Strategic and International Studies, I discuss with Ernie

Revisiting the 'Asian arms race' debate

Chris Rahman is a Senior Research Fellow in Maritime Strategy and Security at the University of Wollongong. The hoary question of whether Asia is experiencing a naval arms race has been a persistent topic of strategic debate for the best part of two decades. This is perhaps understandable given the

Indonesia wants gunships for WHAT?

This news comes as a bit of a surprise: Indonesia's Defence Ministry has concluded a deal with the US for the purchase of eight AH-64 Apache helicopter gunships. The Australian Government will probably look kindly on this*. For one thing, as the ABC points out, it suggests US-Indonesia military

US reveals new Darwin Marines move

Cameron Stewart writes in The Australian today about the announcement by the US Chief of Naval Operations (from his Navigation Plan 2014-2018) that he aims to 'provide amphibious lift for US marines operating out of Australia by establishing a fifth amphibious readiness group in the Pacific by

Solomons' gun amnesty: A stunning achievement

Nick Warner, now the Director-General of ASIS, was the first Special Coordinator of the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (2003-2004). This post is drawn from a speech he made in Honiara on 25 July for the 10th anniversary of RAMSI. Nick Warner (right) briefs media in Honiara in

Movie trailer: The Wind Rises

The Wind Rises has been a box office sensation in Japan, and this new trailer with English subtitles has just appeared. The politics of this movie are fascinating. The Wind Rises is, in the words of the Wall Street Journal, 'a fictional take on the life of Jiro Horikoshi, the man who designed

Views across the Pacific: Xi Jinping

Two weeks ago we shared with you the first video from the Lowy Institute—Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) Views Across the Pacific video partnership. The series features real-time conversations between fellows from both organisations on topical foreign policy issues,

Pacific leadership: PNG gets its chance

Competing claims for leadership of the Pacific Islands region are reinforcing doubts about the efficacy of regional architecture in the lead-up to the Pacific Islands Forum Leaders' summit in Majuro in the Marshall Islands in the first week of September. The Fiji Government hosted the Pacific

Flat-tops everywhere

A quick update on the regional boom in 'flat-tops'; that is true aircraft carriers for fast-jet operations and also amphibious ships with large flight decks designed to carry helicopters and maybe drones and jump jets. There's been something of a boom in this type of vessel in the region, though I

The Pacific in the foreign policy debate

It was great to see Australia's relations with Pacific Islands feature in last night's foreign policy debate and particularly pleasing to see this issue raised outside of the inevitable focus on the PNG asylum seeker deal. Overall, I thought Ms Bishop demonstrated greater commitment to enhancing

Cambodia: A humbled Hun Sen?

Much of the external commentary on the Cambodian election results has had a distinct character of schadenfreude, with the Economist's take a typical example. I have no doubt that Hun Sen and his Cambodian People's Party colleagues were surprised by the results, as I readily admit I was. I

Singapore, you're creeping us out

Actually, that headline's a little unfair. It's Mentos that's responsible for this weird four-minute ad to mark Singapore's National Day (9 August). Last year Mentos produced a racy (by Singapore standards) ad encouraging couples to procreate on National Day. Evidently it worked so well that this

The EU's dysfunctional asylum system

Benedict Coleridge recently worked as a policy researcher for Jesuit Refugee Service Europe. He will soon begin graduate study at the University of Oxford. I recently returned from Brussels, where I researched and wrote a report on the Balkans as a transit route for forced migrants attempting to

Indonesia relations: Three lessons from Timor

Iain Henry is a Fulbright Scholar and PhD Candidate at ANU's Strategic and Defence Studies Centre. He tweets at @IainDHenry. Recent events have thrust the Australia-Indonesia relationship back into the spotlight. Managing this relationship will be one of the next Government's highest

Views across the Pacific: North Korea

The Lowy Institute and leading US think tank the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) present a new video discussion series called 'Views Across the Pacific'. These real-time conversations will feature Fellows from both organisations discussing topical foreign policy issues,

Asylum seekers: The cost to Defence

There must be days when the Chief of the Defence Force and Secretary of Defence pine for the creation of an Australian Coast Guard, just so they can prise the Australian Defence Force away from the toxic debate on Australia's asylum seeker policy. Labor's PNG solution will rely on the ADF to

Youth vote emerges in Cambodia

Hun Sen's Cambodian People's Party remains firmly in power following Sunday's elections, but with a substantially reduced majority. With an officially announced 68 seats won to the opposition's 55, the Government has a comfortable working majority. Nevertheless, the contrast with the previous

Emerging economies: Why so gloomy?

Ever since the 2008 financial crisis left many advanced economies in disarray, global growth has been sustained only through the continued spectacular performance of the emerging countries, especially China. But a wave of gloom has now spread concerning their prospects and the knock-on

China's worrying blue-water ambitions

[youtube:HUPVW2ep4oc#] Compared with the Rudd Government's 2009 Defence White Paper, which was criticised for what many viewed as its alarmist treatment of China's rise, the most recent White Paper, released in April this year, has become known for its considerably more relaxed take on the issue.

Risk and reward with Burma's security sector

Andrew Selth is a Research Fellow at the Griffith Asia Institute. Part 1 of this post here. The initiatives for closer ties between the West and Burma's police and armed forces summarised in the previous post have aroused the ire of the activist community, which has been quick to remind everyone

Indonesia's development formula II

Part 1 of this post here. The debate Joe Studwell has advanced in How Asia Works (see Sam Roggeveen's three-part interview here) is, in fact, not that novel. Studwell is not alone in advocating industrial policy: Justin Lin, former World Bank chief economist, makes the same argument in his

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