Australia must be feeling more lonely in its part of the world as increasingly authoritarian governments across Southeast Asia use claims of fake news to clampdown on media freedoms and wind back democratic gains.
It seems many of our neighbours have been emboldened by US President Donald Trump’
Bangladesh tends to languish near the bottom of corruption-watchdog Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index. So it is perhaps unsurprising that former Prime Minister Begum Khaleda Zia and her son and heir apparent, Tarique Rahman, are facing legal action over a long-
In February, in his last formal speech as foreign affairs minister of Germany, China’s biggest European trade partner, Sigmar Gabriel repeated an earlier warning. China’s new Silk Road Initiative, he said, is part of its efforts to establish an alternative world system
A rare summit held at the strategic crossroads of Russia and China last month signalled a welcome thaw between two regional rivals in Central Asia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.
Tajik President Emomali Rahmon, who has been in power since 1992, will likely use this reconciliation with his Uzbek
South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un are scheduled to meet for the first time on 27 April at Panmunjom, the “truce” village on the border of the two countries.
The rapidly changing security environment on the Korean Peninsula has reached a critical juncture.
Later this month, South Korean President Moon Jae-in will meet North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. This is the third inter-Korean summit since the days of the Sunshine Policy – an approach of open dialogue with North Korea from 1998 to 2008. That effort earned a Nobel Peace Prize, but previous
“Indonesia’s fishing industry was broken for many years,” says Amhar, who, like many Indonesians, goes by only one name. “Then Susi came along and she fought for us.”
Amhar is a fisherman with a small boat he runs out of Panah Hijau, a fishing community in Medan, North Sumatra
The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and the Chinese state are two distinct although intertwined entities, with different types of power. For example, the Politburo (a high level party organ) may develop broad guidelines for the economy, and the job of the People’s Bank of China (a state organ)
I first heard Leslie Cheung’s voice when I was five years old, sitting in the passenger seat of my parent’s car. A Cantonese song came on the radio: “Let me hide from the bustle of life / What is the mood like in heaven? / What new scenery will I get to enjoy?” I asked my dad who was singing
On 5 March the USS Carl Vinson made a port call to Danang, in central Vietnam. It was the first time since the War (the Vietnam War to Americans, and the American War to Vietnamese) that a US aircraft carrier anchored in Vietnamese waters – by invitation this time – for an official visit.
It says something about the political clout of car dealers that imported used cars appear to be the last bulwark between Australia and the right to claim a free market in the new Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade zone.
The National Interest Analysis (NIA) of the
The young in Indonesia are finding a voice. The Indonesian Solidarity Party (PSI), formed to win over a generation of millennial voters, is a response to what is seen as an oligarchy – political parties led by “old” people, particularly figures related to the New Order regime of
John Carlson says Australia approached maritime boundary negotiations with Indonesia in 1972 by arguing the Timor Trough was the meeting point of two geologically distinct continental shelves at a subduction zone. But the trough does not constitute two separate shelves any more than a rumpled carpet
Historians may come to see North Korea’s nuclear-armed ballistic missiles as the trigger that unravels America’s strategic leadership of Asia.
Originally published in the Australian Financial Review on 29 March 2018
We still don’t know exactly when or where President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un are going to meet, but Kim’s furtive visit to Beijing this week has heightened expectations that the summit will happen sometime in May.
By the time the summit occurs, attention on this historic event
So it’s now confirmed that Kim Jong-un went to China in the past few days to meet Xi Jinping. And apparently Xi will now go to Pyongyang.
Breaking: Photos of secret talks between Kim Jong-un and Xi Jinping emerge in the Chinese media https://t.co/kdnPKQixGq pic.twitter.com/G7tQh0Amd8 — Javier
An armoured train carrying North Korean leader Kim Jong-un pulled into Beijing on Monday, with a summit with China’s Xi Jinping confirmed Wednesday morning by Xinhua. Perhaps Kim came to reassure China that he won’t upend regional geopolitics by making a dramatic deal with
The great biodiversity and precious resources of the Mekong are increasingly endangered by the rush to dam one of the world’s great rivers. A total of 11 mainstream dams and 120 dams on tributaries are planned, which scientists warn will imperil the already fragile river system. Recent studies
After the Bali bombings of 2002, security forces within the Government of Indonesia, like their Western counterparts, worked towards incorporating “ideological” or “soft” approaches into counterterrorism portfolios. This approach later became commonly known as Countering Violent
A new normal is evident in the South China Sea disputes.
Last week, Philippine Secretary of Defense Delfin Lorenzana revealed that China continues to exchange radio challenges and responses with Philippine aircraft patrols and resupply missions in the West Philippine Sea. With Manila keen to
Back in 2005, a crime-comedy movie about two nice thieves titled Banty Aur Babli was made tax-free by the state government of Uttar Pradesh (UP), India.
Although the film ends with the heroes returning everything they’ve stolen, it is still a bad-guys-are-good
After two years in the job, Myanmar’s President U Htin Kyaw resigned last Wednesday. The 71-year-old has been in poor health for some time. A close confidante of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, U Htin Kyaw was a steady and stable hand. His resignation highlights the growing problem of ageing leadership
In his report delivered at the 19th Party Congress, Xi Jinping declared that it was the Chinese Communist Party’s aspiration and mission to seek happiness for the Chinese people. Hu Angang, one of China’s leading economists, predicts that by 2030 China will be one of the happiest countries
Measured in terms of Chinese rhetoric, the temperature of cross-strait relations has risen sharply this week. Addressing China’s National People’s Congress, President Xi Jinping warned Taiwan that it would be “punished by history” if it declares independence. This comes amid an intensifying
In his new book, China’s Great Wall of Debt: Shadow Banks, Ghost Cities, Massive Loans, and the End of the Chinese Miracle, Dinny McMahon, a former Wall Street Journal reporter, takes the reader on a grass-roots tour of the underworld of Chinese finance. Perhaps much more than the
Japan’s whale hunters are expected home any day, carrying up to 300 minke whales killed in the Southern Ocean. A harpoon ship, Yushin Maru No. 2, quietly slipped into Shiogama Port on Saturday, while the giant abattoir ship Nisshin Maru is still at sea (with its marine tracking monitor turned off
Jubaida is one of a million refugees in Cox’s Bazaar, Bangladesh. When she thinks back six months, her memories of playing marbles with friends rest oddly alongside episodes of torture, death, and images of the burning home her family fled.
She is 11. Jubaida, her parents, sister, and three
Clive Hamilton’s new book Silent Invasion: Chinese Influence in Australia is coming in for considerable criticism. Some of it is warranted, including elements of this thoughtful review; some of it is not. I will discuss both kinds when I join Hamilton in conversation in Canberra next month
“Cak!” says the Malaysian meme circulating on Twitter since Monday. The Malay expression is often used with children, and means something like “Surprise!”, or, better, “Peekaboo!” In the background is a press photo from the ASEAN-Australia Special Summit which took place
It may be chaotic and confused, but the Trump administration is not entirely nuts. Expected to slam China with heavy penalties for appropriating the intellectual property of US businesses, the administration instead appears to be stopping short of a fundamental injury to the world’s biggest
Indonesia is set to host talks among Indonesian and Afghan Islamic clerics in Bogor, south of Jakarta, at the end of March. This dialogue, part of Indonesia’s bid to mediate the peace process in the long-standing Afghan conflict, will involve the Indonesian Ulema Council and Afghanistan
Sitting in the largely lifeless media centre of Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s $56-million grand diplomatic gambit, it was hard not to be struck by the irony of Australia’s earnest embrace of the ASEAN way, with its emphasis on consultation and non-intervention.
Last week, the Chinese Government announced its decision to establish China’s international development cooperation agency. As described by Beijing, the main purpose of the new agency is to give full attention to foreign aid, as a key means of major-country diplomacy. The goal is to
The brutalisation of women in India has increased alarmingly in recent times. Rape, molestation, and abuse have spiralled out of control, with the incidents of violence becoming uglier and more frightening.
Violence against women happens everywhere. While its causes vary in different
Ahead of Malcolm Turnbull’s weekend confab for South East Asian leaders, Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo reportedly thought it would be a “good idea” if Australia joined ASEAN.
Lowy’s Aaron Connelly is dubious.
Reality check: Australia has not been invited to join ASEAN, and will not
How does Australia’s economy align with those of our Asian neighbours? What are the development challenges facing nearby South East Asian countries? And just how large is China’s economy? These questions are of particular interest this week as the ASEAN-Australia Special Summit is held in Sydney
Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu visited Myanmar recently in a clear display of Moscow’s pragmatism.
Many Western observers, especially from the US, present Vladimir Putin as either a Machiavellian mixer with almost superhuman abilities – he who put Donald Trump in the White House and
Chinese media has reported that the Chinese Ministry of Culture is set to be merged with the National Tourism Association. So what? Well, as Xinhua points out, this is no mere bureaucratic reshuffle. Rather, this is about trying to further build China’s soft power:
[T]he move is aimed at
At the weekend, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull will meet with President of Indonesia Joko Widodo (Jokowi) on the margins of the Australia-ASEAN Special Summit. Although Turnbull seems to have built the positive personal relationship with Jokowi that eluded Tony Abbott, managing the bilateral
The ripple effects of Hollywood’s #MeToo movement are starting to be felt around the world, including in South Korea where a governor and potential presidential candidate has been forced to step down after being accused of rape. He is only one of many men named since late January, as Korean
Membership or not
Our experience with Vietnam and the Philippines over the past few years only serves to show why the newly revived idea of Australia joining the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) is like stepping through Lewis Carroll’s looking glass.
Only a short time ago, the
M.I.A, the world’s most celebrated Tamil rapper, uses modern Tamil melodies and rhythms in her work, but does not actually rap in Tamil. She is British, but the majority of artists who write and perform hip-hop in this classical language are Malaysian.
Malaysia has a sizeable South-Asian
Sunday 11 March marked the seventh anniversary of the Tohoku triple disaster, when a powerful earthquake off Japan’s Pacific coast and the subsequent tsunami devastated communities and smashed the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. To mark the anniversary, Tokyo’s subway trains,&
The upcoming ASEAN-Australia Special Summit has led to a surge in analysis of the Association of South East Asian Nations and Australia-ASEAN relations in Australia.
In February, ASPI released a special report by Graeme Dobell recommending Australia seek ASEAN membership claiming that ASEAN
A group of ten Muslim students gathered in the shady courtyard of central Jakarta’s Roman Catholic Cathedral are reluctant to pass through its neo-Gothic doorways.
Some argue that entering the cathedral would contravene their devotion to Islam and equate to an abandonment of faith.
If the North Korean cheerleaders at the Olympics hadn’t snared enough global attention already, the prospect of a grip-and-grin meeting between Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un sure has captured headlines.
It seems, to borrow the military phrase, a sudden escalation in peaceful possibilities. Last
The great debate on the meaning of China’s rise is coming to a close. Where academics once argued over whether the Asian power would be a status quo or systemic challenger, there is growing consensus that China intends to reshape the global system in its image.
From its criticism of the US