Although the recent Lowy Institute report by Andrew Rosser, “Beyond Access: Making Indonesia’s Education System Work”, reveals an Indonesian education system buckling under its own deficiencies, it can be read largely optimistically. The weaknesses Rosser outlines are all redeemable
The signing of a treaty between Australia and Timor-Leste marking maritime boundaries in the Timor Sea represents a huge step forward in resolving the two states’ long-standing disputes. The conciliation process that led to the agreement was groundbreaking for being the first time such an approach
China has opened new doors for overseas Chinese through changes to its visa program. Beijing’s latest policy announcement allows foreign citizens with Chinese heritage to apply for a special multiple-entry visa granting a residency period of up to five years. This extends the existing policy
In her article “How Australia crossed a line in the Timor Sea”, Kim McGrath claims that Australia had evidence supporting Indonesia’s claim in maritime boundary negotiations – but buried it.
This serious charge is not substantiated by the 1970 report from then Bureau of
Xi Jinping’s leadership of China has been notable on numerous levels of foreign policy, domestic affairs, and economic management. Since taking over from Hu Jintao in late 2012, Xi has centralised decision-making in his personal office; purged a legion of once-powerful comrades
Now that the PyeongChang Winter Olympics is over, both South and North Korea can be satisfied with what they gained from the sporting event.
South Korea’s Moon Jae-in administration scored a major diplomatic victory with the attendance of Kim Jong-un’s sister, Kim Yo-jong, at the&
It’s no fun being in debt. Creditors want to chase you, the debts increase as you procrastinate about paying them, and you literally feel “indebted” and guilty, especially if those creditors are friends or family.
There are studies about the effects of debt on personal well-being. Micro
February was a big month for building in Bangladesh. The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) announced a US$60 million loan to a power project, only to be quickly gazumped by a US$360 million loan by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) for a railway
Two enduring ideological themes have informed Indonesian education policy almost since the Repulic was founded. The first has been an “education for all” approach, and the second has been to use the education system to promote a sense of an “Indonesian identity”.
Largely absent from
This is meant to be the year that Thailand’s junta finally rolls out elections, but already the government has been backtracking, plagued by one corruption scandal after the next. Among these is the trouble Prawit Wongsuwan, Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister, is in for not
The Wall Street Journal reported earlier this month that the Pentagon is “considering plans to send heavily armed, versatile Marine Corps Expeditionary Units to East Asia … as it repositions forces in response to growing Chinese influence”. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
Under President Joko (Jokowi) Widodo, Indonesia has been accused of lacking a coherent foreign policy, particularly when compared to the overtly internationalist outlook of previous president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. Despite bold early claims to set up Indonesia as a “global maritime fulcrum”,
Imagine this. China builds a military base on the Australian continental shelf off, say, Cairns. Then, according to the Australian prime minister, China threatens a military response should Australia attempt to exercise its maritime rights in accordance with a unanimous international
To the dismay of privacy activists everywhere, Apple has announced it will store its Chinese users’ iCloud accounts in a new Chinese data centre at the end of February, in compliance with Chinese cybersecurity laws. This means that Chinese authorities will have easier access to text messages
In September, Indonesia’s Ministry for Research, Technology and Higher Education suspended Jakarta State University (UNJ) rector Professor Djaali after a ministry-sponsored review found evidence of academic misconduct and mismanagement at the university.
UNJ is one of the country’s
Has Xi Jinping just made himself president for life?
The announcement on Sunday that China will amend its state constitution to remove the two-term limit for the presidency has seemingly cleared the way for just that.
Under the old constitutional provisions, Xi would have been required to step
This article is based on Episode 18 of the Little Red Podcast, featuring Walkley Award–winning journalist Jo Chandler and Louisa Lim of Melbourne University.
At the tail end of this month’s episode, Jo Chandler shares a story from her visit to Manus in 2014, when she caught up with Powes
The Doklam border stand-off between India, China, and India’s ally Bhutan managed to break into the news cycle last year. It was a significant dispute, with troops clashing at one point and military forces mobilised, between two of the world’s nuclear powers that have previously fought
A battle is underway between Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and South Korean President Moon Jae-in over their differing approaches to North Korea. They are competing to shape the attitudes of US President Donald Trump, and this contest has been a compelling sideshow at the PyeongChang Winter
During a trip to Australia this month, UK Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson announced that HMS Sutherland, a British frigate currently deployed to Australia and the Western Pacific, would return from its tour via the South China Sea, “making it clear our navy has a right to do that”. Williamson
The International Institute for Strategic Studies has launched the 2018 edition of The Military Balance, which tracks the development of military forces around the world. It contains a striking stat about China’s naval development:
OK, this is an isolated factoid, but it illustrates a
The UN Compulsory Conciliation between Australia and Timor-Leste, which aims to set a boundary in the Timor Sea, appears to be inching towards resolution, with details emerging in the Portuguese media last week of a deal involving a median line boundary and a revenue-sharing arrangement
The Indonesian Government is grappling with a measles outbreak in the Papuan district of Asmat, where at least 65 children have died since the epidemic began in October. Almost 600 people, including adults, have been treated for the disease in the remote highland district, with hundreds hospitalised
Security analysts may well outnumber sun-starved tourists doing Google searches for the Maldives after last week’s leadership showdown, which has raised the prospects of a proxy battle between India and China. The challenge to India’s blue-water
It seems that we are in the middle of a base race across the Indian Ocean. The latest move, reported on Tuesday, involves an agreement to give India access to naval facilities in Oman, close to the Strait of Hormuz. This may be the first step towards a greater Indian naval presence in the
It was a difficult Christmas for the community dedicated to K-pop, the South Korean music genre that in recent years has become an international phenomenon. On 18 December 2017 the lead singer of influential K-pop band SHINee was found unconscious in a hotel, and was later declared dead in
No other great powers will be allowed in Latin America, and liberal democracy is the only political system allowed in the region (or, in practice, no socialist or Marxist rule will be tolerated in the region). These are the two tenets of the Monroe Doctrine established by the US in 1823, a
In media studios, food courts, street stalls, and offices, I watch Malaysian political observers and insiders perform the same routine.
First, they sigh and look bored with the coming general election, due sometime before August. They talk of the lack of debate and point&
It is tempting to view North Korea’s participation in the Winter Olympics as an olive branch, a step back from the edge of nuclear brinkmanship.
That’s certainly how much of the media is choosing to see it. Of course, it helps that the North Korean “unification” team is accompanied by
A recent report from the UN sanctions committee suggests that North Korea has been able to generate an estimated US$200 million from illicit dealings in the past year. Coal is being exported to China, Malaysia, Russia, and Vietnam in violation of current sanctions, and weapons (and materials
More than half of the cobalt that goes into phone batteries and electric vehicles worldwide – 66,000 of 123,000 tons produced in 2016 – is sourced from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Global demand is expanding rapidly. But lawmakers in Kinshasa have decided to cash in, targeting Western
Indonesia is currently gripped by news about plans to revise the country’s criminal code (RKUHP). This could see draconian new laws passed in the country that include making cohabitation between unmarried couples illegal, criminalising homosexual acts, and the introduction of&
John West. Asian Century … on a Knife-edge: A 360 Degree Analysis of Asia’s Recent Development. Palgrave Macmillan. 2018. 335 pages.
Kishore Mahbubani, the Singaporean diplomat and academic, is perhaps the most outspoken proponent of the notion that this is Asia’s century. In 2015
The Hong Kong Government has long “sold” the city’s common law system and rule of law as a way to attract foreign investment and connect mainland China to the rest of the world. These attributes are now seen, at least by some, as a liability.
In January, retired policeman Frankly Chu
The ongoing debate about whether ASEAN (still) matters, and how important it is for Australia, could not be more ASEAN in style.
Euan Graham and John Blaxland represent the two major camps: ASEAN-enthusiasts and ASEAN-sceptics. The truth is that they both are right
The era of easily exploitable internet loopholes in China appears to be ending. Starting on 31 March, Beijing will ban non-licensed Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) via which Chinese residents privately access blocked websites, such as Google, Facebook, and The New York Times. Chief Engineer of
Euan Graham has given a glass half-empty explanation of the significance of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) in an attempt to explain Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s enthusiasm for the forthcoming ASEAN-Australia Special Summit in March. In fact, there is good cause for the
In March, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull will welcome the ten leaders of ASEAN to Sydney for a special summit focusing on business and security ties. This is the first time Australia has hosted ASEAN. By any definition, it is a significant event in Canberra's diplomatic calendar, with the
In January the ugly face of an intolerant India was again on display with protests and violence in several parts of the country against Indian film director Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s extravagant medieval epic Padmaavat. Caste groups, especially the Rajputs, predominantly from the northern
Markedly slower growth and imminent financial crisis have been the common dual predictions for China over the past decade. China’s growth has indeed slowed from its unsustainable breakneck pace in the two decades before the 2007–08 global crisis, but since then has settled down to a steady 6–7
Young people are the hope of a society’s future, but Hong Kong’s ruling class does not seem to agree. They don’t want young people to be smart, ask difficult questions, or challenge the status quo. Rather, they want young people to play by the rules, to do as they are told. In other words
New world order
The Trans-Pacific Partnership has long been a test of America’s self-image, going from the heart of the Asian “pivot” under Barack Obama to the bottom of the national rubbish bin with the arrival of Donald Trump.
But now the TPP has become more interesting – a test case
Cambodia’s Supreme Court has denied bail to Australian film-maker James Ricketson in an espionage case that is fast becoming an embarrassing headache for both countries involved.
In laying espionage charges against Mr Ricketson – a messianic crusader of the poor – Cambodia has inadvertently
A crackdown on hip-hop culture has swept across China. It is an act of censorship for domestic ends, and an effort to define Chinese culture and project a controlled version of soft power on an international stage.
Hip-hop’s explosion into mainstream Chinese culture came in the summer
It is a weird time on the Korean Peninsula. Last year saw an extraordinary ramp-up in tensions. US President Donald Trump used incendiary rhetoric for months. His national security staff stated repeatedly that North Korea’s possession of a nuclear missile was unacceptable, and that the nuclear
According to recent reports, China may be about to construct a naval and air base near Gwadar, in west Pakistan. This would be China’s second base in the Indian Ocean and indicates that it may be moving fast to establish a network of military bases across the region.
In January, Indonesia’s Partai Demokrasi Indonesia Perjuangan (PDIP), or the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle, made an announcement. Djarot Saiful Hidayat, the former governor of Jakarta and one of the most high-profile politicians in Indonesia, would run for governor of North Sumatra in
The US and Indonesia have declared an overarching “strategic partnership” to meet broader challenges, from regional architecture building to global governance. At least, this was the case under the Barack Obama (2008–16) and Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (2004–14) presidencies.