Friday 07 Aug 2020 | 08:47 | SYDNEY
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Asia

Tsai passes first-year test, but challenges loom

One year has elapsed since Tsai Ing-wen was inaugurated on 20 May. This article assesses her administration’s performance in three specific foreign policy areas - cross-Strait relations, relations with the US, and relations with the broader international community - and briefly touches on her

Indonesian democracy: Down, but not out

The imprisonment on blasphemy charges of Jakarta Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, better known as Ahok, has been a blow to hopes that his earlier success in public office represented the emergence of a more pluralist politics in Indonesia. There is little question that the accusation that Ahok had

Countering China’s submarine operations in South Asia

As Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Sri Lanka earlier this month, reports emerged that the Sri Lankan government had turned down China's request for a submarine docking in Colombo harbor. Beijing, apparently, wanted one of its submarines (ostensibly on its way to the Gulf of Aden for '

Europe’s mixed views on China’s Belt and Road

China’s Belt and Road summit is over but the Chinese narrative is only just getting started. In a video released by the state-owned media outlet China Daily, a Western father tells his daughter a BRI bedtime story: 'China’s idea does not only belong to China. It belongs to the world'. Yet the

How China snubbed Singapore at the Belt and Road summit

Among the 29 Heads of State who converged on Beijing for the Belt and Road Summit earlier this week were leaders of seven of the ten ASEAN states. One leader was noticeably missing: Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. Various observers have noted this absence, including Hugh White, who

China's ‘House of Cards’ reveals a few home truths

The Chinese TV series 'In the Name of People', compared by many to the US-produced drama 'House of Cards', has become the most talked-about TV show nationwide after airing last month. With the clear aim of celebrating President Xi Jinping’s campaign to crack down on corrupt tigers and flies

Australia, Vietnam, the diaspora and generational change

Australia's Vietnamese diaspora is a remarkable element in the fast-evolving relationship between the two countries. Hanoi and Canberra are both doing what they can to help Australian Vietnamese to forge and strengthen links that can pay enormous dividends in trade and tourism. This latest chapter

Why India missed China’s Belt and Road summit

China's President Xi Jinping is today hosting what is arguably the biggest celebration of China's rise as a great power since the Beijing Olympics in 2008. The One Belt, One Road or the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) forum in Beijing is being attended by 29 heads of state or government and by

As Trump flip-flops in Asia, things slide China’s way

Somewhat obscured in last week's outpouring of penny dreadful news from Washington (such as Sean Spicer ensconcing himself in the White House shrubbery) was the announcement of a US-China 100-day economic action plan. It is a pedestrian, workmanlike document, committing to a raft of

Refugee detention in Indonesia

It was a morning like any other until Mohammed, the 16-year-old refugee, was arrested by Indonesian immigration officials at a local market. In order to support his family, who had fled Afghanistan to seek asylum in Indonesia, he had taken up work assisting a shopkeeper. Before he had a chance to

In China, changing online attitudes towards Korea

Additional research by Zixin Wang, an intern in the Lowy Institute's East Asia Program. Shen Zhihua, a world-renowned Chinese scholar of the Cold War, recently proposed that 'North Korea is China's latent enemy and South Korea could be China's friend'. His comments, made at Dalian University of

Asian Development Bank: The first 50 years

The ADB has just published a history to celebrate its first 50 years, written by ANU economist Peter McCawley. This detailed narrative of the ADB’s institutional evolution is told against a background of extraordinary change in Asia. In 1966, the colonial period was barely over for some countries

Proof the US is losing hearts and minds in Southeast Asia

Trump sniping has become a sport with no marksmanship. Facile Trump click-bait circulates freely on social media fulfilling a confirmation bias in its audience and perpetuating a parasitic cycle of groupthink that is feeding poor analysis and driving solutions to complex problems deeper underground

Indonesian prosperity needs certainty on resource regulation

Among the many floral tributes to Jakarta Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, who lost his bid for a second term in last month's religiously-charged election, one in particular struck me. 'Mr Ahok,' it read, using the governor's nickname, 'we are waiting for you to become minister of energy and

'A Wary Embrace': Response to Stephen Blank

Stephen Blank's very generous comments on A Wary Embrace arrived too late to cover in my response to the original contributions in The Interpreter debate. But he brings up a number of additional points that deserve a reply. The nature of the China-Russia relationship Blank somewhat

The rise of China’s tech sector: The digital great game

Part two of this two-part series looks at how the outside world shaped China's internet firms, and how they are now shaping the international economy. For part one, click here. The rise of China's internet firms was not a result of autarkic industrial policy from Beijing. It was achieved through

Why now? Trump’s sudden interest in Southeast Asia

More than 100 days into the Trump presidency, the administration’s Asia policy, departmental Asia teams and new ambassadors to the region are still absent and there is no indication of when this will change. For Southeast Asia the first three months of the Trump administration provided very few

Australia needs to show some force

Last week key treaty allies South Korea and Japan joined the US Navy's 7th Fleet for separate joint exercises in the waters west of Japan in a demonstration of force against Pyongyang's latest taunts of nuclear war. However powerful this demonstration may have been, it was still missing one key US

ASEAN Summit: An exercise in omission

Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summits are largely defined by what is left unresolved and unsaid, rather than what is acknowledged in the chair statements. The 30th Summit, hosted by the Philippines over the weekend, was certainly no exception, with migrant worker rights and the

Where India fits in an activist Australian foreign policy

There can be little doubt that Prime Minister Turnbull’s recent visit to New Delhi has started to close the gap between where that country sits in the Australian strategic imagination and the current pace of India’s economic and strategic development. Turnbull’s very enthusiasm throughout the

North Korea: ‘A most enterprising country’

A myth told and re-told in the West is that North Korea, a 'hermit kingdom' and 'pariah state', is cut off from the outside world. North Korean people suffer indescribable isolation, socially, politically and geographically. But as Justin Hastings, Associate Professor in International Relations

Suu Kyi’s Myanmar, one year on

Twelve months ago, Aung San Suu Kyi was appointed State Counsellor of Myanmar, becoming the de facto leader of the National League for Democracy (NLD) Government that swept to power in (relatively) free and fair elections in 2015. Over the past several weeks, both the government and Suu Kyi herself

India remains cautious about the 'quad'

Days after Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull returned from a successful visit to India, speculation emerged that New Delhi might reject Canberra's request for participation in Malabar, a multilateral naval exercise comprising India, the US and Japan. A media report noted that a formal

‘A Wary Embrace’: The author responds

This post is part of a debate on Bobo Lo's Lowy Institute Paper, 'A Wary Embrace'. Other debate posts can be found here. In their excellent responses to my Lowy Institute Paper, A Wary Embrace, Kyle Wilson, Peter Rutland, Alexander Gabuev, and Marcin Kaczmarski raise a number of interesting points

How local politics is shaping The Philippines' foreign ministry

By Michael Coyne, an intern with the Lowy Institute's East Asia Program. It's been a strange few weeks at the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs. First, former Secretary of Foreign Affairs Perfecto Yasay, a longtime friend of President Rodrigo Duterte with no foreign policy experience,

China’s financial concerns

The China bears have been around for years, continuously predicting the end of China's stellar growth story. In 2012 Michael Pettis expected annual growth to average 3% over this decade and in 2015 Tyler Cowen warned of an imminent disastrous financial collapse. So far, so good. China's

Lessons from India on migration’s role in trade policy

Prime Minister Turnbull yesterday carefully signalled a potential India-Australia Free Trade Agreement is not a priority for his government. This comes after the Abbott Government set a very public benchmark for concluding an India-Australia FTA by the end of 2015, an overly optimistic commitment

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