Saturday 26 Sep 2020 | 13:40 | SYDNEY
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Asia

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

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

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