Friday 07 Aug 2020 | 08:46 | SYDNEY
What's happening on

Asia

How China and Russia avoided the Thucydides trap

This post is part of a debate on Bobo Lo's Lowy Institute Paper A Wary Embrace. Other debate posts can be found here. With every energy or arms trade deal and joint veto in the UN Security Council, the question of whether Russia and China have formed an alliance becomes more salient. These two

Turnbull’s India visit an opportunity to revive the Quad

Economics is likely to dominate the agenda during Malcolm Turnbull's visit to India this week, his first trip to New Delhi as prime minister. That makes sense. No longer the ‘sick man of Asia’, India has the world’s third-largest economy by the purchasing power parity standard of measurement,

The Xi-Trump Summit: Rearranging the furniture

In his inimitable way, US President Donald Trump promised major things with the Chinese president’s visit to Trump's residence in Florida, Mar-a-Lago. In the end, this particular informal summit, if it is remembered at all, will be because of the intervention Trump ordered, almost minutes before

China and Russia: Friends with strategic benefits

This post is part of a debate on Bobo Lo's Lowy Institute Paper A Wary Embrace. Other debate posts can be found here. Is the relationship between China and Russia just an axis of convenience – a limited partnership with no real empathy between the two parties, spiced by deep-seated and well-

The Trump-Xi meeting: A view from China

As the White House finalises its preparations for the arrival of Chinese President Xi Jinping, it is to be hoped both sides are as much invested in working towards outcomes of substance as they are in protocol. In terms of substance, there are ample areas for the two presidents to address. These

Update: A significant demonstration of missile know-how

On Wednesday morning, North Korea staged another ballistic missile launch. Intelligence reports from multiple official sources claimed that the missile was a solid-fuelled KN-15 missile, similar to the one that was launched in February this year. Now, official sources (at least, American ones) are

Quick comment: Bobo Lo on China-Russia relations

This week the Lowy Institute launched its latest Penguin Special, A Wary Embrace, on the future of China-Russia relations. The author, Dr Bobo Lo, is in Sydney for the launch, and he sat down with me to talk about why he thinks China-Russia relations will remain largely transactional, and why Russia

Lam’s election a jolt back to reality for Hong Kong

Ever since the popular John Tsang lost the Chief Executive election to the Beijing-anointed Carrie Lam on 26 March, Hongkongers are finding ways to accept a reality they wanted to avoid: a polarised Hong Kong under Beijing's grip for the foreseeable future. Despite being a pro-establishment

South Korea’s dangerous drift

The tragedy of the Park Geun-hye scandal and impeachment in South Korea should not obfuscate the larger forces that are driving Korean politics. The political pendulum had been shifting towards the left prior to the impeachment – the recent troubles only hastened it. Now, with the likely election

The new Chinese diaspora

Recently in Berlin, I was discussing the local tech sector with a young woman who was born in Shanghai, went to university in the UK and now works at an internet services firm with offices in Berlin, Beijing and San Francisco, between which she regularly commutes. She typifies a new and globally

A neo-nationalist crack in Abe’s grand strategy

As we approach the third month of the Trump Administration, experienced observers of world politics continue to be intrigued, curious and at times perhaps perplexed. Indeed, those who like their international politics with a little chaos theory are probably in their element. Prime Minister Shinzo

Don’t waste time trying to get Trump to Manila

Over the last two months, Australian and Southeast Asian officials have been urging their US counterparts to ensure President Donald Trump shows up at two major summits in Southeast Asia in November. They argue that Trump's presence at the APEC Forum in Danang and the East Asian Summit in Manila

Infrastructure: How Indonesia could shift up a gear

Next year Indonesia will host the annual meetings of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank in Nusa Dua, Bali. This is a big deal: these meetings leave Washington only once every third year and involve thousands of high-level participants. In announcing that Indonesia would host the 2018

How China’s media saw Li Keqiang’s Australian visit

On Sunday Chinese Premier Li Keqiang concluded his five-day visit to Australia having signed a slew of bilateral agreements. Li Keqiang last visited Australia in 2009, a year described by former ambassador to China Geoff Raby as ‘our collective annus horribilis’. Eight years ago, few could

Getting the juice to flow in Afghanistan's private sector

It is widely acknowledged that private sector growth is essential to increasing the amount and variety of economic opportunities in any given society. In fragile economies such as Afghanistan, private sector development plays an essential role in recovery and progress, providing livelihoods and

Li’s Australia visit: ‘Nothing to be afraid of’

Chinese President Xi Jinping's speech at Davos in January presented China as the natural protector of the global order after the abdication of the US from the position. Premier Li Keqiang's four-day visit to Australia (which starts today) will demonstrate that China is still keen on presenting

What to expect from Li Keqiang’s Australia trip

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang's week-long visit to Australia (and New Zealand) comes amid a flurry of diplomatic activity spurred by US President Donald Trump's disruption of the international relations equilibrium. Li's main objective is promoting trade and investment, particularly through President

Dear foreign policy elite: You’re obsolete

Rex Tillerson recently completed his first trip to Beijing as Secretary of State. Since then, a slew of critics have panned Tillerson for supposedly handing China a ‘diplomatic victory’ because a joint media conference includes phrases like ‘win-win’ and ‘mutual respect’ - notions these

Defending the liberal order takes more than rhetoric

Julie Bishop’s recent speech in Singapore was out of date and stale. Her remarks exhibited two major and ongoing flaws in the government’s foreign policy thinking. The first is the persistent lack of substance in the Turnbull government’s response to both China’s challenge to the status quo

Modi strengthens his hand in India and abroad

On 11 March, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) won an overwhelming victory in state elections in Uttar Pradesh. In India, there are few more significant political prizes. Uttar Pradesh is the most populous state, home to over 200 million people, and the original

The Rohingya tragedy: Time to talk to the Tatmadaw

Rakhine State is the home of Myanmar's Rohingya Muslims, a group often described as one of the most persecuted minorities in the world. Traveling through this region is an exercise in restriction, but also revelation. It's clear the current policy settings of international governments have 

China's defence spending: What's behind the slowdown?

China’s 2017 defence budget, announced earlier this week at the National People's Congress in Beijing, has the lowest rate of increase in years. At 7%, it is lower than the 7.6% for 2016, and represents the second year in a row that growth in defence spending has been kept below 10%, which has

North Korea goes its own way on missile tests

For any nation, testing space rockets or ballistic missiles is a long and tortuous process. It’s usually littered with a string of failures. The challenge for any program is deciding when a system has been tested enough to be declared operational. Boffins who watch North Korea’s broad stable

South Korea lost without its mojo

Last week I visited the Republic of Korea (ROK), where I had the opportunity to meet with officials, think tankers and journalists. My impression is that South Koreans feel set upon. And why wouldn’t they? A year ago, the country seemed to be ticking along quite nicely, with a stable political

Pages