Sunday 05 Jul 2020 | 15:18 | SYDNEY
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Asia

China drives Australia and Indonesia into a closer embrace

Australia holds so-called 2+2 meetings of foreign and defence ministers with a steadily expanding number of nations, Germany having joined the A-list last September. Getting senior defence and foreign affairs officials in the same room at the same time makes perfect sense: many foreign relations

Law of the sea: Activist judges open a pandora's box

The recent judgement by the Arbitral Tribunal constituted under Annex VII of the 1982 Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) on the nature of the features in the South China Sea caused some stir in both foreign ministries and among international lawyers, and not just because it favoured the

Why Indonesian extremists are gaining ground

If anyone wonders why Indonesia has been ineffective in curbing extremism, the anti-Ahok campaign provides an object lesson. In the name of demanding that the Jakarta governor be prosecuted for blasphemy, it brings together violent extremists, moralist thugs and powerful political interests. And

What's next for Xi Jinping?

There has been considerable speculation about whether Chinese President (and newly annointed 'core' leader) Xi Jinping might be secretly planning to extend his time in power past the standard two five-year terms. In 2017 the Chinese Communist Party will hold its 19th Congress, where it

Barnaby Joyce's mixed messaging on property rights

There’s been a good deal of mixed messaging coming from Australia's Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce recently. This week he made headlines by declaring to an audience (which included the Chinese ambassador) that Labor's policies for insisting on rules concerning vegetation

South China Sea: What Labor should (not) do

Fissures have erupted within the Australian Labor Party over whether Australia should join the US in conducting freedom of navigation operations (FONOPs) in the South China Sea. Former opposition defence spokesman, Stephen Conroy, announced a hawkish Labor position following the Permanent Court of

The Philippine senator taking on President Duterte

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte marked his first one hundred days at the helm earlier this month with sky-high approval ratings, the likes of which are unprecedented in Philippine history. Since his election, Duterte has become one of the world’s most talked about leaders, thanks to

Australia's FONOP debate: A necessary storm in a teacup

This is a disconcerting period for all those hoping to see more pushback against China's bid for supremacy in the South China Sea, and its pressure tactics towards that end. The US is in the throes of an epochal political convulsion masquerading as a presidential election campaign. Its ability to

Movie trailer: Apprentice

It was announced earlier this month that Apprentice (note: no definite article, so no Trump) will be Singapore's entry to next year's Academy Awards: In my occasional visits to Singapore over the last decade, my observation is that while the country remains politically closed, it has liberalised

Mapping Pacific aid: Facebook, India and money laundering

Mapping China’s opaque aid program in the Pacific Islands was more complicated and time-consuming than I had anticipated. I made peace with this fact when I found myself building a makeshift 270-degree visual cocoon out of every electronic device in my apartment so that I could cross-check the

Russia over a South China Sea barrel

Russia and China have just kicked off a joint naval exercise in the South China Sea, Joint Sea 2016. It is scheduled to last until 19 September, including a visit by the Russian surface contingent to China’s South Sea fleet headquarters at Zhanjiang. This is the latest in a series of Russo-Chinese

ASEAN Summit: South China Sea dispute the uncredited star

Despite boasting some of the world's biggest names on its guest list, the star at this year's ASEAN Summit was not a world leader but the Philippines' victory at the Hague in its dispute with Beijing regarding the South China Sea. Leaders from all ten members, China's Premier Li Keqiang and US

On Australian public opinion, Xi gets it wrong

With the G20 leaders' summit in full swing earlier this week, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has been meeting with leaders from the UK, India, France and China. Turnbull had much to discuss with Xi Jinping in particular, as The Australian's David Crowe reported: An

Australia cannot afford to spurn its Chinese diaspora

The Australian Financial Review is running an ‘agents of influence’ series, in line with the media’s shift from a focus on Chinese investment to a broader discussion of China’s influence in Australia. One article has cast a shadow over the million-plus ethnic Chinese in

Witnessing an opaque Pacific power shift

Today the Lowy Institute’s Melanesia program launches a major update to the Institute’s flagship research mapping project on Chinese Aid in the Pacific.*  The map now contains a decade of Chinese government aid activities in the Pacific Islands region, making it a valuable resource for

North Korea: A realistic path to regime change

One of the great career mistakes a North Korea analyst can make is to predict Pyongyang's downfall, or (even worse) try to attach an actual date to that event. The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) manages to survive no matter how much the world throws at it, no matter how many times we

Security shouldn't trump economics on the Ausgrid sale

Security trumps economics, or so the Ausgrid saga seems to have taught us. But maybe this framing is all wrong. Security and economics might be better thought of as being directly connected. If this is so, Australia is in real danger of building a poorer, less secure future through a flawed premise

Why Australia is the canary in the regional coal mine

It has been an interesting few months in Australia-China relations. Following the Ausgrid decision, accusations of drug cheating at the Rio Olympics and the response to the arbitral tribunal decision, Australia has been on receiving end of considerable Chinese chagrin. Whether in the formal

Call for Australia-China treaty to guide foreign investment

Just when Treasurer Scott Morrison will have been hoping to put last week’s surprisingly tough move against two Chinese power industry investors behind him, a major new report has reopened the entire Chinese foreign investment debate. The biggest ever independent study of the future of the

India and China: Playing 'Go' in the Indian Ocean

China and India are fast emerging as major maritime powers in the Indo-Pacific as part of long-term shifts in the regional balance of power. As their wealth, interests, and power expand, the two countries are also increasingly coming into contact with each other in the maritime domain. How India and

The Global Times and Beijing: A nuanced relationship

How seriously should we take China's Global Times? This always interesting question is particularly pertinent after the nationalist tabloid took aim at Australia on Saturday, referring to Australia as a 'paper cat', and promising revenge for Australia's position on the South China Sea dispute. 

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