Sunday 08 Dec 2019 | 06:35 | 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.

An Indian perspective on Australian maritime strategy

Abhijit Singh is a Research Fellow at the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses in New Delhi. This post is part of a series arranged in conjunction with the Sea Power Centre. The Sea Power Centre’s new book A maritime school of Strategic thought for Australia - Perspectives brings

Typhoon Haiyan and the geopolitics of disaster relief

Amid the horrific human tragedy, it may feel heartless to speculate about the strategic consequences of the typhoon that has taken more than 10,000 lives in the Philippines. But you can be sure such thinking will be well underway within governments all around Asia and the wider Indo-Pacific, even

Bombings in Burma: The long view

Andrew Selth is a Research Fellow at the Griffith Asia Institute and author of Burma and International Terrorism. The recent spate of terrorist bombings in Burma has not injured many people or caused much property damage, but it is a reminder of the country’s multi-faceted internal security

Documentary trailer: Tales from the Organ Trade

From the synopsis on the official website: TALES FROM THE ORGAN TRADE is a gritty and unflinching descent into the shadowy world of black-market organ trafficking: the street-level brokers, the rogue surgeons, the impoverished men and women who are willing to sacrifice a slice of their own

2014 a key year for Indonesia and the region

Peter McCawley is a Visiting Fellow in the Indonesia Project, Australian National University, and former Dean of the Asian Development Bank Institute, Tokyo. Amid the current ups and downs of the Indonesia-Australia relationship we need to remember that while Australia has just had an election,

New Zealand, China and the new world order

Dr Andrew Butcher is Director of Research at the Asia New Zealand Foundation. 'New Zealand’s future is Asian, above all Chinese' wrote Martin Jacques during his recent visit to New Zealand. Buttressing his case were what he saw as unique New Zealand attributes: its significant Maori and

How far East Asia has come, in one graph

Marty Harris is an assistant digital editor at the Lowy Institute. The following graph is from the UN's 2013 Millennium Development Goals Report:  Little comment is needed on this, except to say that despite rising income and urban-rural inequality in China, the number of people living in

Third plenary: Xi Jinping's big moment

Dirk van der Kley is a Research Associate in the Lowy Institute's East Asia Program. This weekend the Communist Party of China (CPC) will begin the third plenary session of its Central Committee, the 200 or so highest-ranked party members in China. This includes the Politburo (25 top-ranking

Reader riposte: Indonesia 2014 and spy claims

Ian Brownlie writes: A couple of comments on Stephen Grenville's post this morning on Jokowi and Indonesia's 2014 elections: Jokowi is not formally a member of Megawati's PDI-P but is closely affiliated to it and has been wooing her, apparently to some effect, even before he became governor of

Indonesia 2014: Jokowi or bust

You can't read a paper or watch TV in Indonesia without coming to the conclusion that Joko Widodo ('Jokowi'), the mayor of Jakarta, is a shoe-in for the 2014 Indonesian presidential election. Not only is he the front runner in most polls, he is ubiquitous, getting footpaths fixed, sorting out

Are China's leaders still capable of big reforms?

This is the second part of my interview with Damien Ma and William Adams, co-authors of In Line Behind a Billion People: How Scarcity will Define China's Ascent in the Next Decade. In part 1 I asked Ma and Adams about the theme of their book, scarcity, and why we ought to worry about it when so many

Asian crisis and GFC compared: All the wrong lessons

  Do we learn from economic crises? The 2008-10 crises in America and Europe and the Asian crisis a decade earlier present a rich source of contrasting experience to examine. What a divergence there is between the 2008-10 policy responses and 1997-8! In 1997 IMF funding, even supplemented by

China naval exercise stokes Japan's fears

So China is accusing Japan of ‘dangerous provocation’ over its alleged monitoring of Chinese naval exercises in the Western Pacific.  Amid the prolonged tensions between the two North Asian powers, this is a new twist. In the past, it has typically been Japan accusing China of perilous

NZ-US: Allies in all but name

Jack Georgieff is a research associate with the International Security program at the Lowy Institute. This week US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel and New Zealand Minister of Defence Jonathan Coleman officially marked the resumption of full military ties between the two countries for the first

Reader riposte: Indonesia's reaction to spying claims

Neil Watson responds to Sam Roggeveen's question: why is the Indonesian government making its displeasure over spying allegations so public? Re Indonesia and the spying, I would definitely lean towards firmness to impress the domestic audience. We can expect more of this in the run up to next year

Double trouble on the Mekong

Visiting Cambodia, Laos and Thailand over the past three weeks leaves me in no doubt that issues associated with the Mekong continue to be a subject of sharp controversy, both as a result of the Lao Government’s decision to build a dam at Don Sahong and the Cambodian Government’s decision to

Spy claims: Indonesia takes it up a notch, but why?

So Australian Ambassador Greg Moriarty is being 'invited' to pay a visit to Indonesia's foreign ministry to offer an explanation for this Sydney Morning Herald report claiming that 'Australian embassies are being secretly used to intercept phone calls and data across Asia as part of a US-led global

Aung San Suu Kyi's risky strategy

Andrew Selth is a Research Fellow at the Griffith Asia Institute. Aung San Suu Kyi is in Europe, where she recently collected the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought awarded to her by the European Parliament in 1990, shortly after she was placed under house arrest by Burma’s military

Reader riposte: India's resource scarcity

Wilson Chau, a former Lowy Institute intern, writes: Really interesting email exchange with the co-authors of In Line Behind a Billion People. It is a book that I must read. If scarcity will feature prominently in China's future, then surely scarcity will be an even greater dilemma for India.

How scarcity will define China's next decade

James Fallows calls it 'the never-ending big question about China': where is this high-speed juggernaut headed? In Line Behind a Billion People is a new book that attempts an answer, and the book's tagline (How Scarcity will Define China's Ascent in the Next Decade) gives you a hint at the

1945: The roots of Japanese pacifism

Ian Buruma is the author of Year Zero: A History of 1945, which is getting strong reviews. Here's a long interview with the author, of which a few choice extracts below: In Japan there were no Nazis and no Hitler. The same old elite before the war were running things during the war, so the

Indo-Pacific security links

'Indo-Pacific' is an increasingly recognised term in the analysis of Asian strategic issues. Of course, there’s debate about what it means and the extent to which such a super-sized region can be a meaningful frame of reference for policymaking. And its subregions of North Asia, South Asia and

A maritime school of strategic thought for Australia

In hindsight, 2012-13 might come to be seen as a watershed period for maritime strategic thinking in Australian defence policy. During the 37 years that Australian governments have produced defence white papers, the notion of maritime strategy has been applied in only half of these documents,

'Don't annoy the dragon' is not a foreign policy

My thanks Rob Ayson for responding promptly to my post on Japan and Japan-China relations. Rob says my post reaffirmed his worries about Australia’s management of the relationships with Japan and China. But in turn, Rob’s piece reaffirmed the worries I expressed about his original post. I

China-India: Dr Singh goes to Beijing

Shashank Joshi is a doctoral student at Harvard University's Department of Government and a Research Fellow of the Royal United Services Institute, London. He tweets here. Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is on a four-day tour to Russia and China, and he arrives in Beijing today. What's on

China's aid program: Why the numbers matter

Dr Philippa Brant is a Lowy Institute Research Associate. China’s aid policy, like almost everything China does on the world stage, attracts close scrutiny and often criticism. The forthcoming release of China’s second White Paper on Foreign Aid (likely within the next month) will

Reader riposte: Human trafficking in Vietnam

Meke Kamps, previously the Manager of Blue Dragon Children's Foundation (2009-11) and now a Blue Dragon board member, writes: I am contacting you after reading your article on The Interpreter by Marty Harris on human trafficking victims in the Greater Mekong region. I have a particular interest in

Japan-China: Why Australia should embrace ambiguity

Robert Ayson is a Visiting Fellow with the ANU's Strategic and Defence Studies Centre, on research leave from the Centre for Strategic Studies at Victoria University of Wellington. Malcolm Cook has offered thoughtful criticism of my argument that the Abbott Government went too far in a statement

Undercurrents of Sino-Japanese discord

Rikki Kersten is Professor of Modern Japanese Political History in the ANU College of Asia and the Pacific. Malcolm Cook is right – the Japanese are indeed worried about the China threat. But we need to delve a little deeper to make sense of it. Politically, magnifying the China threat has

Yes, Japan is alarmed by China's rise

Having been to Tokyo twice in the last two weeks* for interviews and workshops on Japan-China-Korea relations and Japan-Australia relations, my answer to Sam’s query (Is Japan Alarmed by China's Rise?) is YES. Japan is alarmed, and so it should be. Any country facing a neighbour that has a

Is Japan alarmed by China's rise?

The FT's Gideon Rachman on Japan's security fears (emphasis mine):  Abe’s radicalism is not driven solely by domestic economics. Japan has also been jolted into action by the perception of a growing threat from China. The Chinese economy surpassed Japan’s in size in 2011; the gap is

Movie trailer: A Touch of Sin

I'm late to A Touch of Sin, as it has already screened at the Melbourne International Film Festival, but on the strength of this trailer and some of the reviews, I'll be looking out for it on disc. A Touch of Sin tells four stories of a rapidly modernising China and examines corruption,

Rubbery figures: Chinese military R&D

Dennis Blasko is a Senior Research Scientist in China Studies for CNA Analysis & Solutions. Senior Research Scientist, China Studies Senior Research Scientist, China Studies For most of the past decade, organisations and individuals estimating China's 'actual' or 'true' defence-related spending

Cambodian election aftermath: Quiet flows the Mekong

Contrary to some media reports and photographs of razor wire in the streets, Phnom Penh has appeared calm over the past four days I have been here. Yesterday morning there was a demonstration near the Phnom (see photo above), the city's most recognisable landmark, but it was to do with land issues,

China's really big military R&D effort

The scale of China's military research and development effort has been underestimated in the open source literature, perhaps by as much as 50%, says Associate Professor Tai Ming Cheung, director of the Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation at the University of California. It's difficult to

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