Sunday 29 May 2022 | 21:34 | SYDNEY
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Asia

Japan-Australia: The chance to sweeten the deal

Typically, much of the initial foreign policy interest in a new (or slightly revised) Japanese government tends to look towards the United States – to consider the adjustments necessary to the alliance, to plan the first face-to-face meeting, to determine the nickname that will characterise

Leading by example: Two different responses to China’s rise

Australia and the Republic of Korea (ROK or South Korea) stand as critical security partners with the United States, and have supported the open, rules-based international order for well over half a century. Both have shed blood in this mission, standing with the US in every war since the Korean war

A chance for the US to change its tune on justice

On Monday last week, 72 countries at the United Nations offered their “unwavering support” for the International Criminal Court (ICC). Among them were Australia, Canada, the UK, France and others that have signed the Rome Statute, which established the ICC. In doing so, these states expressed

China’s problematic lending comes home to roost

On 13 November, the finance ministers and central bankers of the G20 will hold an extraordinary meeting to discuss action to help poor countries struggling to pay debts. A key issue will be getting China, the world’s largest bilateral creditor, to play a more active role. The push by China’s&

Economic diplomacy: A headless WTO, selling the Asian farm

New world order The leadership of the World Trade Organisation may be the first test of whether the world can move on with normal life amid the divisions and recriminations as the US recovers from a bitter election. In one of its last international policy moves, the Trump administration last week

A Trump legacy?

The “who won” question isn’t quite resolved. Bleary-eyed pundits fossicking over every county result are making about as much sense – and as much noise — as a flock of seagulls scrabbling for chips on the beach. Joe Biden might just have the numbers. But Donald Trump hasn’t been blown

Book review: The China bubble that never pops

Book review: Thomas Orlik China: The Bubble that Never Pops (Oxford University Press, 2020) Way back in 2001, Gordon Chang wrote a book entitled The Coming Collapse of China. Western analysts of China have been predicting a crisis ever since. Among the many concerns have been China’s massive

Coming soon: A neutral South Korea?

Around five years ago, I submitted an article to a leading strategic studies journal detailing how options previously considered extreme – such as abandoning the US alliance, acceding to China’s dominance, declaring a position of neutrality and/or securing a nuclear weapons capacity

Taiwan: Rising stakes for Australia

The Taiwan Strait is a key hotspot in the intensifying US-China rivalry, where the two superpowers’ spheres of influence overlap. Beijing claims the area as a uncompromisable “core interest” of sovereignty and territorial integrity, while the US seeks to maintain its close economic, political

Why Kim Jong-un will soon miss Donald Trump

If US President Donald Trump loses the 3 November election, North Korea’s Kim Jong-un will be first in line to mourn Trump’s departure from the White House. Despite a rocky start (those months of “fire and fury” seem a lifetime ago), the Trump-Kim relationship has grown incredibly in

Seychelles: New man, changing strategic environment

The election of Wavel Ramkalawan as President of Seychelles breaks the 43-year stranglehold of the party of former dictator France-Albert René. For Australia and the West, the election result removes many old assumptions about the central Indian Ocean and presents some new risks and opportunities

Thailand: Military, monarchy and the masses

At the heart of Thai street protests is the country’s inability to agree how power should be gained and used. What we are witnessing is a break from the past. The new king is more assertive than his father. And the junta’s five-year enforced hiatus in politicking has given rise to a new

Economic diplomacy: Japanese investment takes a Toll

Will the bell Toll? The quiet flood of Japanese investment into Australia over the past few years amid at times mounting alarm about much lower levels of Chinese investment has been regularly noted here. But the astounding story of corruption and mismanagement inside the largest single Japanese

A real-life Bollywood soap opera, with a political twist

When things get grim in India, the usual way of dealing with it is to look towards Bollywood for some distracting relief. This time, however, it’s not the latest musical providing distraction, but rather the imbroglio over the suicide of a popular movie actor, which was blamed on his girlfriend

Can China be a peacemaker in Afghanistan?

“China would be welcomed as an arbitrator in negotiations [for peace in Afghanistan] and should not leave matters of such a great importance solely to the US.” So said Maulana Samiul Haq, the so-called “Father of the Taliban”, in 2018. Peace talks between the Afghan government and the

Power in Asia in five charts

How should one think about power in Asia? Headlines would suggest that US-China competition is all that matters. But although the US and China wield substantially more power than most, there are still 24 other players in the regional game. Recognising the different ways these states generate and use

Progressive politics in Thailand’s polarised polity

Book review: Duncan McCargo and Anyarat Chattharakul Future Forward: The rise and fall of a Thai political party (NIAS Press, 2020) Youth-led protests in Thailand in recent months have rocked the army-backed ruling elite which has been politically ascendant since a military coup in 2014

Keeping West Papua on the agenda

When Vanuatu’s Prime Minister Bob Loughman addressed the UN General Assembly last month, he echoed a concern that has often been expressed by his predecessors, not about the Pacific directly, but about alleged human rights abuses in West Papua. “The world is taking a selective approach

Pakistan gets on the TikTok ban wagon

Pakistan has become the second South Asian nation after India to ban Chinese video-sharing app TikTok.  The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority on 9 October banned TikTok in the country after  ByteDance, the Chinese tech giant that owns TikTok, failed to “put in place effective

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