Monday 09 Dec 2019 | 14:24 | SYDNEY
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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.

Alliances in Asia: South Korea unlikely to be lost

'Washington, you're on your own' is the gist of a recent piece by Stephen Walt, who assesses that Europe would have no dog in an Asian fight and will therefore distance itself from the American's long list of troubles involving China. This was underscored by Angela Merkel's recent visit to China,

Does Abbott understand the China challenge?

Sam Roggeveen says that Mr Abe's visit last week, and Julie Bishop's interview with John Garnaut, show that the Abbott Government now accepts there is a serious strategic competition underway in Asia as China challenges US primacy. If so, I think this would be an important shift. The simplest

Abe's Canberra speech: Dispelling doubts

Prime Minister Abe's carefully crafted speech to the Australian parliament gave credence to Prime Minister Abbott's much tut-tutted claim that Japan is Australia's best friend in Asia. The historic speech also clearly helped dispel one doubt about Prime Minister Abe: that he was unwilling to

Middle powers in Asia: The limits of realism

In the world of international relations theory, the realist paradigm reigns supreme. In large part, this is because it has core features that exert strong appeal beyond the academy: explanatory parsimony and the use of historical analogy. Realists place great emphasis on Europe's experience of

A conservative clean sweep in Asia?

If Prabowo Subianto does win tomorrow's presidential election in Indonesia, most if not all of Asia's elected democracies will be led by realist conservatives who triumphed over candidates less associated with this political position. From Netanyahu and Modi in West Asia to Park, Abe and Ma (less

Weekend catch-up: Indonesia election special

With Indonesia's presidential election to be held next Wednesday (9 July), we thought we'd depart from our normal weekend catch-up to highlight some of the first rate Indonesia election coverage we've featured on The Interpreter. Back in September 2013 Stephen Grenville commented on the possibility

Japanese collective self-defence: Abe's changes won't help

Clearly Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has deep personal and political motives for wanting to change Japan's strategic posture, 'escape from the postwar regime' and make Japan a normal country. But he has only been able to push this week's changes through because many Japanese who reject Abe's

Bishop invokes World War I

As Julian Snelder wrote yesterday, World War I analogies are all the rage among Asian security scholars this year (we posted a two-part examination of the similarities and differences by Robert Kelly in March). Now Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has joined the fray, with what Fairfax's

Asia's coal demand: You ain't seen nothing yet

Sam Roggeveen yesterday showed us how much demand for coal has risen in Asia during this century. Now consider what the future will hold. A recent joint publication from the International Energy Agency and the Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia forecasts what is in store for the

Mapping the world's EEZs

What does a political map of the world look like if you include those sometimes contentious 200nm Exclusive Economic Zones? Here's a handy tool from Open Democracy, who stress 'this map is not to be taken as the endorsement of one claim over another.' Below, I have pasted a detail incorporating the

Would Americans give their lives for Asia? No

Picture it: it's 1 March 2015. Tokyo and Beijing are headed towards what was once the unthinkable. Over the last several months China has instituted daily non-naval maritime patrols around the hotly disputed Senkaku/Diaoyu islands. Beijing is even sending fully-fledged naval assets within the

What Shinzo Abe actually said in Singapore

The Chinese rhetorical fireworks over Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's speech to the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore last weekend have been so widely reported that we are at risk of losing a sense of what Mr Abe actually said. As Interpreter readers will recall, the speech was denounced by

The diplomacy of hard and soft power at Shangri-La

The Shangri-La Dialogue styles itself as the premier forum for defence diplomacy in Asia. Given the scale of the event, the number of countries represented and the media coverage, the description is probably warranted. Defence diplomacy is a curious beast. Institutions and individuals whose

Shinzo Abe talks China at the Shangri-La Dialogue

By my count, the word 'China' only passed Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's lips twice during his keynote address to the Shangri-La Dialogue here in Singapore, yet it is difficult not read his speech as being all about Japan's giant neighbour, and Tokyo's intention to be more active in the region

West Point speech neglects East Asian security

Amid tensions in the South China Sea and new alarm about a China-Russia alignment, President Obama's speech at West Point sends some confusing signals to the countries of Indo-Pacific Asia.   To be fair, the speech was not meant to be principally about Asia. It was intended to draw a final line

Obama at West Point: The limits of American power

Barack Obama has declared a new foreign policy doctrine: the limits of American power. The US, he argues, 'must always lead on the world stage,' but 'US military action cannot be the only — or even primary — component of our leadership in every instance.'   Addressing future US Army

US foreign policy: Atlas seeks normalcy

President Obama's surprise weekend visit to Afghanistan was the curtain raiser to a two to four-week foreign policy sales pitch that will culminate in the release of the 2014 National Security Strategy. The President made his fourth visit to Afghanistan after an absence of two years, arriving

Inequality and security: Some strategic implications

Thomas Piketty speaking in Cambridge, Massachusetts in April 2014 (Wikimedia Commons)  Thomas Piketty's widely discussed (and contested) treatise has put the spotlight on the social consequences of resurgent inequality across the developed world. Yet the scope of his work hints at even wider

China to America: Not in our backyard

Last week was a heckuva week for China's rising power: tussling with Vietnam in the South China Sea (all about America, supposedly), signing a US$400 billion gas deal with Russia (all about America, too), and sparring with the US over cyber-espionage. But less noticed was the curious forum 

How competitive is China's civil aviation industry?

Reports have surfaced that the Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC) C919 airliner program is struggling, with first deliveries pushed back to 2018, two years later than scheduled. Local newspapers have run positive stories about progress, but the tone is defensive. Aviation Week has

The demise of the Australia Network

May should have been a milestone month for Australian international broadcasting, and arguably the most celebratory in the 13-year history of the Australia Network. ABC executives were due to sign a prized deal with the Shanghai Media Group, giving the ABC the most extensive access to Chinese

Why is Hong Kong unhappy?

Here in Hong Kong these days, you can't pick up a newspaper (metaphorically speaking) without seeing headlines on two topics: the people-to-people relationship between Hong Kong and mainland China, and Hong Kong's political decision-making process. The two issues appear to run at very different

The China-Vietnam standoff: Three key factors

So, another maritime incident between China and one of its neighbours. There are reports from officials in Hanoi that Chinese and Vietnamese vessels collided on at least two separate occasions in the South China Sea on Sunday, in waters 120nm off the Vietnamese coast. The dispute began last

Singapore: Asian bellwether or outlier?

Six years after leaving a diplomatic posting in Singapore for Australia and two years after returning from the Asia Pacific to Europe for good, a trip through Malaysia with an extended stay in Singapore confirms old answers but also raises new ones, in line with democratic, economic and social

Inequality in Hong Kong: The divorce factor

Hong Kong is famously unequal. The measured Gini coefficient is among the world's highest. It is praised for 'economic freedom' yet also criticised for 'crony capitalism.'  It's well known in political science that, worldwide, folks care less about wealth inequality per se than lack of opportunity

Mearsheimer's big question: Can China rise peacefully?

The University of Chicago's famed international relations theorist John Mearsheimer has generously updated, and posted free of charge, the epilogue to his legendary realist book The Tragedy of Great Power Politics. The original book, published in 2001, is frankly hard reading for any young IR or

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