Friday 23 Oct 2020 | 21:27 | SYDNEY
What's happening on

Asia

US foreign policy: Atlas seeks normalcy

President Obama's surprise weekend visit to Afghanistan was the curtain raiser to a two to four-week foreign policy sales pitch that will culminate in the release of the 2014 National Security Strategy. The President made his fourth visit to Afghanistan after an absence of two years, arriving

Inequality and security: Some strategic implications

Thomas Piketty speaking in Cambridge, Massachusetts in April 2014 (Wikimedia Commons)  Thomas Piketty's widely discussed (and contested) treatise has put the spotlight on the social consequences of resurgent inequality across the developed world. Yet the scope of his work hints at even wider

China to America: Not in our backyard

Last week was a heckuva week for China's rising power: tussling with Vietnam in the South China Sea (all about America, supposedly), signing a US$400 billion gas deal with Russia (all about America, too), and sparring with the US over cyber-espionage. But less noticed was the curious forum 

How competitive is China's civil aviation industry?

Reports have surfaced that the Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC) C919 airliner program is struggling, with first deliveries pushed back to 2018, two years later than scheduled. Local newspapers have run positive stories about progress, but the tone is defensive. Aviation Week has

Mending the Australia-Indonesia relationship

Prime Minister Tony Abbott threw away his 'get out of jail free' card when he decided not to accept an invitation earlier this month to meet Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (SBY) in Bali. This was a lost opportunity for the Australian PM. The Indonesian president was seeking a face-

Indonesian election: The race is on

After weeks of private meetings and public handshakes, Indonesia's major political parties have finally picked sides for the presidential election scheduled for 9 July. The election is set to be a face-off between Prabowo Subianto (pictured), a former special forces commander and once son-in-law

Asia Pacific security: Is the F-35B relevant?

With Prime Minister Tony Abbott implying recently that Australia could buy the F-35B 'jump jet' version of the Joint Strike Fighter (a suggestion reinforced this week by Defence Minister David Johnston), this is a good time to ask: what relevance could the F-35B have for the Asia Pacific? Designed

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

Pages