The debate over Australia’s most valuable economic partners hit fever pitch this month with new arguments over old measuring sticks for an increasingly contested aspect of international relations.
There is no absolute way of resolving this debate which involves value judgements
Graham Allison, Director of Harvard's Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs from 1995 until July 2017, is a leading analyst of US national security and defence policy. His latest book, 'Destined for War: Can America and China Escape Thucydides’s Trap?', was published by Houghton
Chinese censorship has come a long way.
During his rule in the 2nd century BC, the First Emperor of a unified China famously quelled the intellectual diversity of his day by 'burning the books and burying the scholars'.
This infamy would be decried throughout Chinese history until, in 1958, Mao
The crisis on the Korean Peninsula has for the first time introduced an element of confusion over the strategic goal pursued by the US and its allies in dealing with North Korea.
The stated US goal over the last three decades has been to prevent the DPRK from achieving any nuclear-weapons
I am reassured to see from Ely Ratner's most recent post in our exchange on US-China relations and the South China Sea how much he and I agree about, because I have such a high regard for his ideas on these important questions, and for his lucid and gracious way of presenting them.
In fact, we
Wolf Warrior II (WWII) has stormed the Chinese box office, becoming the highest-grossing film ever in China. After only 12 days in cinemas the film had taken 3.4 billion RMB, surpassing the previous record of 3.39 billion RMB held by the film The Mermaid.
The film, that
In May, when China organised a major summit in Beijing around its ambitious Belt and Road Initiative (BRI, also known as 'One Belt, One Road', or OBOR), one invited country was completely absent: India. In response to queries, New Delhi issued only a short statement that underscored the benefits of
Competition for the world’s most thankless jobs is hotting up. Donald Trump’s chief of staff, the Premier of China, the official standing next to the UK’s Panglossian Secretary of State for Exiting the EU, David Davies – all these jobs have, as their number one objective, taking endless
In 2016 Indonesia’s Ministry of Public Works dramatically underestimated the funds it needed to acquire land for toll road development. To try to keep development on schedule, the government leaned on toll road developers to lend them the difference at well-below-commercial rates. Over a year
Something significant is happening in the South China Sea. Philippine media has reported that, over the past week, a flotilla of Chinese fishing vessels, accompanied by PLA Navy frigates and Chinese Coast Guard vessels, have maintained a presence very close to Thitu (which Manila calls 'Pagasa'),
Although the Pacific and Indian Oceans have traditionally been viewed as separate bodies of water, India and the US increasingly understand them as part of a single contiguous zone. The US Maritime Strategy (2015), for example, labels the region the 'Indo-Asia-Pacific', while Prime Minister Narendra
Amid the celebrations of ASEAN's 50th birthday last week, the question of whether Timor-Leste will soon be granted full membership lingers.
ASEAN membership is the cornerstone of Timor-Leste's foreign policy. In March 2011, Timor-Leste applied for formal membership to ASEAN while Indonesia was
Tensions have temporarily abated on the Korean Peninsula, following the latest blustery exchanges between Washington and Pyongyang. In typically mercurial fashion, after threatening 'fire and fury', President Donald Trump has now praised Kim Jong-un’s 'decision' not to launch missiles at Guam as '
Saudi Aramco, Riyadh's state-owned oil behemoth, has been investing heavily in Malaysia's economy, injecting $7 billion into the Refinery and Petrochemical Integrated Development project – a contribution that tops ASEAN's merger and acquisition activity for the first half of 2017. Thanks
On 10 August, a US Navy warship challenged China’s implied claim to a territorial sea around Mischief Reef in the South China Sea. By lingering for six hours within 12 nautical miles of the massive island China has constructed on the reef, the USS John McCain affirmed the principle, clearly
In light of recent discussion about Australia's responsibilities under the Korean Armistice Agreement, we are republishing this post that first appeared on 29 November, 2010.
In 1985, I published a paper entitled 'Australia and the Republic of Korea: Still Allies or Just Good Friends'. I had not
Recent reports that Thailand, with Chinese money, is planning to build a new canal between the Pacific and Indian Oceans have set off a new wave of alarm bells over China’s plans to dominate the region. If – and it is a big if – the project goes ahead, it will create some big winners and
The UN Security Council sanctions resolution (UNSCR 2371) on North Korea, passed last week, is the toughest yet. It fully bans the export from North Korea of iron, lead, coal and seafood, expands the number of sanctioned entities and individuals, prevents new joint ventures or additional investment
The prospect of the foreign policy White Paper emerging as a longer term bipartisan framework must be in doubt after the Labor Party demanded this week that its Asian Century document be treated as the key foundation.
This is more than simple political point scoring because the
North Korea's growing nuclear brinkmanship, renewed tensions between India and China along their disputed border and persistent frictions in the South China Sea have all contributed to a renewed focus on inter-state instabilities in Asia. There is, however, another growing source of strategic
Foreign investors and world trade institutions have long wished one thing for Vietnam: reform of its inefficient and corrupt state-owned enterprise sector. Competency, transparency and a measure of real competition would aid the nation’s economy and its business and trade relations tremendously.
As you will no doubt have seen by now, President Trump has issued a threat to North Korea:
North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States. They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen. He has been very threatening beyond a normal state. And as I said, they
Earlier this year, The New York Times reported that Yang Jisheng, a former senior journalist for China’s main state-owned news agency, Xinhua, was forbidden from traveling to Harvard to accept an award for his book on the famine induced by Chairman Mao’s policies in the late 1950s. While China
One of the hallmarks of Shinzo Abe’s longevity in power has been his ability to switch back to bread and butter economic issues when he tests the patience of voters with his more nationalistic inclinations.
But an interesting feature of his latest series of political setbacks has been the way
What rides on a Chinese Communist Party (CCP) slogan? These days, a lot.
It's surprising for those who saw the launch of Jiang Zemin's tepid 'Important Theory of the Three Represents', which provided ideological cover for capitalists to join the Party, and Hu Jintao's even more underwhelming '
Things are gradually improving for Indonesia’s economy. Policymakers have successfully assuaged financial markets of their macroeconomic stability credentials (for now) and economic growth seems to have stabilised at a still robust 5%.
Hopes are high that the bottom of the cycle has been reached
Australia's future, and our future prosperity, are inevitably in Asia.
Julia Gillard pointed to this in 2012 when she launched the ‘Australia in the Asian Century’ White Paper, saying 'whatever else this century brings, it will bring Asia's return to global leadership, Asia’s rise.
Just over a year ago, Manila was celebrating an unprecedented international ruling in its favour against China in the disputed South China Sea. This weekend, the city played host to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Ministerial Meeting, but every trace of enthusiasm for the
I'd like to thank Hugh White for his continued thoughtfulness and collegiality in our ongoing exchange on the South China Sea. I thought it might be interesting to pivot from debating strategic dynamics in the region to a dialogue about what our divergent assessments mean for the making of US policy
Boris Johnson’s ebullient pronouncements last week on a future Royal Navy freedom of navigation 'operation' in the Indo-Pacific region have attracted attention, but also criticism.
At the press conference following the “2+2” meeting of Australian/UK defence and foreign ministers (AUKMIN), on
The fetters on Myanmar's democracy are many. The 2008 constitution gives the military 25% of seats in parliament; it gives the military control over three of the most powerful ministries; it forbids Aung San Suu Kyi from becoming President. The military is prosecuting wars in the north and the
The forced exit of Nawaz Sharif has left Pakistan at a cross roads. The tensions between the military establishment and civil leadership that had become a feature of Sharif's third term as Prime Minister are likely to worsen.
Even before his departure on Friday, the ongoing investigation into the
Recent posts in The Interpreter (by Iain Henry, Euan Graham and James Goldrick) have commented on the presence of a Chinese intelligence-gathering ship off the Queensland Coast during Exercise Talisman Sabre. All these posts are broadly correct – the incident suggested Chinese hypocrisy with its
The second test of a North Korean intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) has elevated concerns over the potential for this nation to launch nuclear strikes on the continental United States. Several major cities are in range. There has been some boffin speculation on the accuracy of North Korea’
More than a year since Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy came to power after a landslide election and six years since the transition began, Myanmar has come a long way on the road to reform.
There are many successes. The health system has significantly improved – basic essential
Toronto’s Citizen Lab tested censorship surrounding Nobel Prize Winner Liu Xiabo’s death earlier this month. Testing WeChat and weibo, the Lab found, not surprisingly, that censorship on the issue was tight across both platforms. The testing also, for the first time, found evidence of image
This month Japan's Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) - which is led by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe - experienced its first major electoral defeat since Abe’s inauguration in December 2012. The Tomin First no Kai (‘Tokyoites First’, known as Tomin), a local political party led by the Governor of
The recent exposure of Chinese influence-peddling inside the Australian political system is just one example of China’s growing influence and willingness to act in Western states. In these days of austerity for many Western nations, money speaks loudly and in recent years Chinese investment into
For a nation that only won its hard-fought battle for independence 15 years ago, Timor Leste has travelled a long way fast.
On 22 July, the Timorese people voted for the fourth time in parliamentary elections to elect the 65 members of the National Parliament. As the first election administered
The 1980s Hope inquiry first put economics on the agenda of Australian intelligence analysis but the latest Intelligence Review has taken this connection much further.
Follow the money and three trends emerge from this Review, important developments that have been lost in all the
Once the domain of only a handful of states, weaponised drones are now part of the military arsenal of no less than a dozen countries. That number is set to expand after China announced it would begin to sell and export its most powerful drone, the CH-5 Rainbow, that's modelled on the US MQ 9 Reaper
It was an Australian Defence Force (ADF) public relation officer’s dream. ABC news footage, delivered directly into the living rooms of Australian families, showed Australian troops and Australian armoured vehicles streaming across the beach and onwards into the hinterland of Queensland.
The recent presence of a PLA-N auxiliary general intelligence vessel off Queensland has generated some interesting discussions. Euan Graham and James Goldrick are right that the incident undercuts Beijing’s own objections about US close-in surveillance of mainland China. There is no small amount
My ANU colleague Nicholas Farrelly's recent Lowy Institute Analysis 'Thailand's Triple Threat' is a sombre look at Thailand's future. He canvasses bleak scenarios, including the long-term entrenching of authoritarianism or, worse, the break-up of the kingdom. Thailand's current juncture is worrisome
It seems to be widely agreed that Washington’s current policy of well-worn talking points and low-key FONOPS in the South China Sea [SCS] isn’t working. Ely Ratner and I have been debating how to do better. Ely has proposed a more robust approach. He suggests that Washington could deter China
As the India-China standoff at the Doklam tri-junction area enters its second month, it is clear this is the most serious crisis between the two countries in 30 years. There are several ways in which it might develop. Unilateral concessions and Chinese escalation are unlikely, with the local