Saturday 11 Jul 2020 | 21:27 | SYDNEY
What's happening on

Asia

New policy clues in Jokowi's Kompas article

It's been two months since Joko 'Jokowi' Widodo officially announced he was entering Indonesia's presidential race, and here on The Interpreter, Peter McCawley immediately responded with 'yes, but what does he stand for?' Until now, the man presumed to take the presidency has remained relatively

Indonesia bans Vimeo

Video-sharing website Vimeo became the latest casualty of Indonesia's Anti-Pornography Law this week, joining Reddit and Imgur on the country's list of blocked sites. Information and Communications Minister Tifatul Sembiring announced the ban on Monday, saying that 'negative or pornographic

The demise of the Australia Network

May should have been a milestone month for Australian international broadcasting, and arguably the most celebratory in the 13-year history of the Australia Network. ABC executives were due to sign a prized deal with the Shanghai Media Group, giving the ABC the most extensive access to Chinese

Golkar to back Jokowi for president

On Tuesday evening, billionaire businessman Aburizal Bakrie visited Pasar Gembrong, a cramped traditional market in Central Jakarta. He was there to show his support for Jakarta Governor Joko Widodo to become the next president of Indonesia. The governor, better known as Jokowi, had arrived earlier

Budget 2014: The end of an aid era?

By Jenny Hayward-Jones, Director of the Lowy Institute's Melanesia Program, and Philippa Brant, a Lowy Institute research associate. The Abbott Government last night brought down the first annual aid budget since the integration of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and AusAID

South China Sea: ASEAN Summit falls short again

History neither repeated nor reversed itself at the ASEAN Summit last weekend when it came to the South China Sea disputes. Three preliminary judgments can be made with an eye for ASEAN's future centrality in relation to this issue. 1. ASEAN and its host state clearly learned from its historic 2012

Why is Hong Kong unhappy?

Here in Hong Kong these days, you can't pick up a newspaper (metaphorically speaking) without seeing headlines on two topics: the people-to-people relationship between Hong Kong and mainland China, and Hong Kong's political decision-making process. The two issues appear to run at very different

From the comments section: Chinese actions in the South China Sea

Featuring the best comments by Interpreter readers, as selected by the editors. A couple of excellent reader responses to Sam Roggeveen's post on Chinese actions in the South China Sea. First, Mishmael disagrees with Sam's proposal that China could pursue a less risky (and cheaper) 'rise' by

South China Sea: ASEAN Summit showdown looms

There is a good chance that history will repeat itself at this weekend's ASEAN Summit in Naypyidaw, Myanmar. This could be bad for ASEAN claims of unity and centrality, and for the fraying credibility of the ASEAN-brokered 2002 Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea as an

The China-Vietnam standoff: Three key factors

So, another maritime incident between China and one of its neighbours. There are reports from officials in Hanoi that Chinese and Vietnamese vessels collided on at least two separate occasions in the South China Sea on Sunday, in waters 120nm off the Vietnamese coast. The dispute began last

Interview: Malcolm Fraser on 'Dangerous Allies'

Yesterday I had a long and fascinating talk with former Australian prime minister Malcolm Fraser, who has just released Dangerous Allies, his new book calling for a substantially more independent Australian strategic posture. You can listen to the whole conversation below, but I have also

Why Bob Carr's book matters

It was all a trick. A simple scam played on a clueless tabloid media to sell more books. And didn't they oblige! As soon as Bob Carr's Diary of a Foreign Minister hit the shelves, they searched the book for scandal, and found a man apparently addicted to perks and privilege. The Daily Telegraph

Singapore: Asian bellwether or outlier?

Six years after leaving a diplomatic posting in Singapore for Australia and two years after returning from the Asia Pacific to Europe for good, a trip through Malaysia with an extended stay in Singapore confirms old answers but also raises new ones, in line with democratic, economic and social

Australia all in with the Joint Strike Fighter

'Together with the Super Hornet and Growler electronic warfare aircraft, the F-35 aircraft will ensure Australia maintains a regional air combat edge', Prime Minister Abbott said today when he announced Australia would spend A$12 billion on 58 additional F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (14 are already on

Inequality in Hong Kong: The divorce factor

Hong Kong is famously unequal. The measured Gini coefficient is among the world's highest. It is praised for 'economic freedom' yet also criticised for 'crony capitalism.'  It's well known in political science that, worldwide, folks care less about wealth inequality per se than lack of opportunity

Mearsheimer's big question: Can China rise peacefully?

The University of Chicago's famed international relations theorist John Mearsheimer has generously updated, and posted free of charge, the epilogue to his legendary realist book The Tragedy of Great Power Politics. The original book, published in 2001, is frankly hard reading for any young IR or

US pivot is faltering, which might be a good thing

By Geoff Miller, former Australian Ambassador to Japan (1986-89) and former Director-General of the Office of National Assessments (1989-95). In their Interpreter article of 27 March, Bates Gill and Tom Switzer respond to questioning of the durability of the US 'pivot' (or 're-balance') towards the

India links: Election special

Voting for India's Lok Sabha (lower house) elections kicked off on Monday. In place of my regular India Links, here is the best election-related reading of the week: The Economist published a strongly worded editorial last week, which stated that 'this newspaper cannot bring itself to back Mr Modi

Peaceful election day in Jakarta

In Indonesia, about 180 million eligible voters were welcomed to the polls today to elect representatives in the district, provincial and national legislatures. Polling booths were housed in schools, community centres and on residential streets. In South Jakarta, police and military personnel were

Abbott goes to Asia: The security dimension

Prime Minister Abbott poses with the leaders of the Chinese, Japanese and South Korean military efforts searching for MH370 at RAAF Base Pearce. Tony Abbott is about to depart on the most important international visit of his prime ministership thus far. Over the next week he will visit Japan,

Three reasons why North Korea continues to provoke

Yesterday North Korea conducted artillery exercises in the Yellow Sea (West Sea). Approximately one hundred rounds feel across the border, prompting the South to counter-fire and scramble F-15s to the area (here is a useful write-up of the incident). South Korean residents of local islands were

Abbott sees a more liberal China ahead

Well, all glory is indeed fleeting. Having just given The Interpreter a pat on the back for our Asia coverage, I'm embarrassed to admit that we are late to Prime Minister Abbott's Asia Society speech, delivered on Tuesday to set the scene for his early-April Asia trip. The speech is trade

Anti-piracy effort marks China's rise as global power

Here's a major piece of research from the US Naval War College about China's participation in Gulf of Aden anti-piracy operations over the last four-plus years. It's from November last year but very much still worth flagging. It's incredibly thorough, covering everything from operational lessons to

Xi Jinping consolidates his control of PLA

Chinese President Xi Jinping's consolidation of power in military affairs has picked up over the past week. On Saturday state media reported that Xi is to lead a group in charge of deepening military reform. Xi already heads up similar bodies on economic reform and runs the newly established

Is India 'losing' the Bay of Bengal?

Is the Bay of Bengal the next strategic locus for Sino-Indian strategic competition? Prominent strategic commentator Raja Mohan recently lamented that India was on the point of 'losing' the Bay of Bengal to China. The occasion of his complaint was the attendance by Indian Prime Minister Manmohan

It's not size or ambition holding Australia back

Stephen Grenville has provided an instant answer to Michael Fullilove's recent quest for a larger Australia: the addition of close neighbour New Zealand. This is annexation season further afield, but I am confident the Crimea option is not what Grenville has in mind. Instead, his argument

Pages