As India and Australia prepare for a virtual summit next month between prime ministers amid the coronavirus pandemic, a possible strategic initiative could involve the cooperative use of their respective island territories in the Indian Ocean for strategic purposes. India’s Andaman and Nicobar
In April, media reports revealed that a New Zealand court had issued an arrest warrant for a South Korean diplomat on sexual assault charges. South Korea’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) refused to cooperate with New Zealand authorities, invoking diplomatic immunity. Instead, they disciplined
The present phase of India-China relations emerged from the desire and imperative to reset relations after the Doklam standoff in 2017 and the realisation that, despite the persistence of major differences between them, India and China have significant areas of cooperation both in the bilateral and
When the world is grappling with the kind of calamity few of us have experienced before, it can be easy to forget other crises. Climate change springs to mind. So, too, does the record level of human displacement around the world, a problem largely driven by conflict.
That brings us to the long-
Governments around the world are working hard to convince their populations to download the various Covid-19 infection tracing apps. As well as potentially helping to stymie the spread of the virus, the app download numbers serve another purpose: they could be read to indicate how much trust there
Two things about the public health and economic impacts of Covid-19 are now clear.
First, with just a few exceptions, most affected countries have suffered egregiously, and in many cases unnecessarily. This is a tragic situation.
Second, the response has been mainly left to the national
The Covid-19 outbreak has hit hard for Southeast Asian economies. Anticipating more shocks to come, several countries have already moved to cut defence spending, seeing the military as a budget line that can be readily reduced. Indonesia, for example, has announced it will slash its defence budget
A new narrative, advanced by the “wolverines” and like-minded commentators, is emerging and solidifying within Australia’s China “debate”. This narrative casts disliked Chinese policies as attacks on Australian sovereignty, and thus any problem in the bilateral relationship is instantly
Today the mere mention of multilateralism leaves many jeering that the heyday of international cooperation has past. Isolationist politics appear preferred. Yet Vietnam’s recent activism in multilateral forums appears to demonstrate that Hanoi does not believe that cooperation is a faded luxury.
There have been plenty of Japanese officials weighing in on Tokyo’s Olympic rescheduling plans over the last few months. At times, it’s been hard to know who to focus on, especially when trying to follow the whole affair from Australia.
From the ageing Tokyo 2020 President Mori Yoshiro to
In recent times, Australia has been searching for ways to support its Pacific “family” through the Covid-19 crisis with an eye on China’s moves. India has also been trying to help countries in the Indian Ocean region amid China’s growing influence. Responses to the corona crisis have so far
In a Covid-19 world, there is perhaps little that can still shock and surprise. Still, this week’s brutal attack by Afghan insurgents on a clinic in a hospital in Kabul’s western suburb of Dasht-e-Barchi, during the holy month of Ramadan, made for particularly horrific news, given the targets
If the 15th-century philosopher Niccolò Machiavelli were alive today, he would surely have recognised the power of surveillance technologies that states such as China, Singapore, South Korea, and others have adopted in the fight against Covid-19. Patrol robots and drones, CCTV cameras and
Last weekend news broke that the Chinese government was considering imposing large tariffs on Australian barley exports. Now, China-bound exports from four Australian meat processors have been suspended.
Following Australian calls for an independent inquiry into the early handling of Covid-19,
The three-week disappearance by North Korea’s chairman Kim Jong-un prompted plenty of questions. Could a succession crisis unfold? Might it go even further, with the risk that North Korea could collapse?
Analysts have long argued that Kim’s health is a wild card when it comes to regime
If you want to see real Olympic-level panic-buying, head to a Vietnamese supermarket a week before Tet, or Lunar New Year.
Yet when the coronavirus broke out in China, Vietnam, with which it shares a border, there was only an hour or two of panic-buying before things settled down to
A few months back – only in January, yet seemingly a very different time – Mike Mazarr and I offered some initial reflections on America’s and China’s contrasting “theories of influence”. The article prompted a series of contributions, including an initial rejoinder from Sam Roggeveen
In the name of containing Covid-19, the Malaysian parliament will be convened for one day later this month, on 18 May. It’s a cynical move, much more about power struggles than containing the virus. The aim is to protect the three-month-old National Alliance (PN) government from scrutiny and a
The Covid-19 outbreak has once again exposed Indonesia’s lack of preparedness to handle disasters and emergencies. After weeks of denying the severity of the pandemic, the Indonesian government’s response to the climbing numbers of confirmed cases has been confusing. A lack of coordination
For Myanmar, the onset of Covid-19 has sparked a renewed crackdown in Rakhine and Chin states. These developments may not capture widespread attention – particularly as relations with China become increasingly fraught – yet they cannot be ignored, and must be recognised as a serious
A calculated leak? – Ben Scott
Local newspapers have published remarkable claims detailing Australia’s reported concern about suggestions coming out of Washington that the outbreak of Covid-19 may have been the result of an accident at a laboratory in Wuhan rather than coming from an
Three months have passed since the United States and the Taliban signed an “Agreement for bringing peace to Afghanistan”. For the Americans, it aims to put an end to the US military intervention in Afghanistan, which has lasted more than 18 years. The provisions of the agreement stipulate a
A major disruption and the emergence of a global threat in the shape of a pandemic may have been expected to foster closer global cooperation. While this may momentarily be true, as countries cooperate to strengthen their healthcare infrastructure and in seeking effective cures and vaccines, there
Insurgents have resumed attacks in Thailand’s south after Thai security forces killed three rebels during a ceasefire declared unilaterally by the main separatist group, the Barisan Revolusi Nasional (BRN). The raid bodes ill for a quick political solution. But insurgents will stay focussed on
In the midst of a delicate war-to-peace transition, still punctuated by military operations, attacks from militant groups and vendettas between feuding clans, the newly created autonomous region of Bangsamoro, in the southern Philippines, is now living in fear of Covid-19. While the extent of the
The 2020 US presidential election may well go down in history as the “China election”. Indeed, if the past month has been any indication, the narratives around this race for the White House will heavily feature how each candidate plans to manage the rapidly deteriorating relationship between the
In late 2017, China released its national emissions trading system (ETS) plan, laying out a three-stage transition from regional pilot systems that began in 2013. The national ETS announcement came at a time of intense global interest in China’s climate action, especially given the November 2020
While the Canberra political establishment has been sparring with China’s Foreign Ministry – and with Australian billionaires – much of the corporate elite has begun puzzling how to slipstream China’s post–Covid-19 economic recovery.
Optimists hope that Beijing will summon a massive
The small port town of Gwadar, in the south-west of Pakistan, is the centre stage of the $50 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project, the Pakistan component of ther Belt and Road Initiative. Under CPEC, Gwadar is to be developed into a smart port city, and will be not only a major
West Papuans continue to fight for independence with the support of many Pacific nations. Despite Indonesia’s opposition and the recent impact of COVID-19 on the region, the resolution of West Papuan grievances may have stalled but nationalist sentiment has not been quelled.
China’s role in the outbreak of the biggest pandemic since 1918 – both in terms of how it started and how China managed its response – has come into global focus. China is sharing what it has learned and assisting other countries to manage their own response. Its actions are being met with
Japan’s longest-serving Prime Minister Abe Shinzo is facing tough political challenges while dealing with Covid-19, which he has called “the biggest crisis” since the Second World War. The Abe government’s response to the crisis has been slow and dissatisfying to many Japanese voters,
With cruise ships banned from ports around the world, it would not be a stretch to wonder about the impact the coronavirus pandemic will have on future military movement as well. Such questions matter, for the practice of sending warships on visits to foreign ports has been an enduring feature of
There are many reasons the world needs an independent inquiry into the origins of the novel coronavirus. After all, the pandemic has infected nearly three million people and taken around 200,000 lives worldwide, at latest count. And the world should push for one at the appropriate time. Properly and
The economic impact of coronavirus has been made even more severe in oil-producing countries due to the consequences of Covid-19 itself and a collapse in oil prices. Crude has fallen below US$20 per barrel as demand for oil has plummeted. This dual shock has made it harder for oil producing
In 1973 Charles Kindleberger wrote his now acclaimed book on the Great Depression. He argued that it was “great” because the global economic system had lost its hegemon – in less exotic terms, its system manager. In the interwar period, the UK was the system manager, but given the grievous
Across the world, non-state entities from terrorist groups to drug cartels are taking steps to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic. In Afghanistan, the Taliban has been no exception to the trend. The insurgent group has launched a public-health awareness campaign that both the Afghan Ministry of Public
Around midnight on 2 April, a Vietnamese fishing vessel sank in the disputed waters in the South China Sea after allegedly being rammed by the Chinese coastguard. Vietnam’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs responded swiftly, stating that the act had violated its country’s sovereignty. A similar
Kim Jong-un may well be dead, but North Korea experts will be the first to tell you how little we know and how important it is not to speculate. Yet South Korean media spent last week doing just that. It appears more evidence that although the people of North Korea are pinned by the grip of state-
In early 2020, Japan reopened its National Museum of Territory and Sovereignty. Displays at the museum in Tokyo assert that islands disputed by Japan, South Korea and North Korea are Japanese territory and refer to these islands as Takeshima. South Korea’s government, which also claims sovereignty
On 20 April 20, US oil futures closed in negative territory for the first time, implying that no one was willing to take physical delivery of some barrels of oil. While the unprecedented price moves were exacerbated by technical market operations, including an excessively large exchange traded fund
Big boys time
From media baron Rupert Murdoch to leadership rival Peter Dutton, Malcolm Turnbull’s new memoir* released this week is partly built on his self-assessment that he can size up a bully better than most.
“The one thing I’d learned with bullies is that sucking up to them is
Gains for China’s reputation in Europe from Beijing’s spectacular PR-actions in the fight against the coronavirus will be short-lived. Covid-19 has not shifted the geopolitical landscape between the old European and the new Chinese world.
Serbia’s President Vucic kowtow to Xi Jinping,
Whoever first said that “you should never waste a good crisis”, the Chinese government appears to be listening. At least when it comes to Hong Kong. With the city and the world’s attention on Covid-19, Hong Kong police swooped at the weekend to arrest 15 veteran activists on allegations of
“He already had my face, my voice, my personal information. I was afraid that he would threaten me with that information if I said I would quit.”
Even as Covid-19 dominates the headlines, people in South Korea are furious and traumatised by the news about an online sex crime scandal known as
It remains one of the proudest moments, not only for India’s space program, but as a landmark in the history of the country. Forty-five years ago, on 19 April 1975, the rocket thrusters fired to launch India’s first indigenous satellite. It was named Aryabhata, yet like many initial forays
As Thailand shut down its border last month, a wave of migrant workers jostled shoulder-to-shoulder back through the Myawaddy crossing to Myanmar. Some 45,498 Myawaddy migrant workers have reportedly been placed in quarantine – a total of 50,731 people were in isolation as
The Morrison government needs to urgently consider how it might best help Indonesia manage the economic risks posed by the Covid-19 pandemic. Indonesia faces a perilous outlook. The government is struggling badly to control the virus. Making matters far worse, Indonesia has also been among