Saturday 06 Jun 2020 | 19:01 | SYDNEY
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The Syria (no big) peace deal

Ronald Reagan famously said of a nuclear agreement with the then Soviet Union that it was based on an attitude of 'trust, but verify'. Perhaps slightly contradictory but very realpolitik nonetheless. Thirty years later, Secretary of State John Kerry's admission that the latest Syrian cessation of

Postscript: Dealing with the North Korea nuclear threat

In May I wrote that a North Korean nuclear test was clearly imminent. Last week's test came as no surprise. The test, and North Korea’s recent missile tests, show that sanctions are not working. If nothing changes, North Korea is moving inexorably towards an operational nuclear arsenal that

G20: Time to end the circus

The dust has settled on another G20 summit, the latest held in Hangzhou, China. The small group of think tanks who follow the G20 are disappointed with the outcomes. What’s new? The G20 has been a disappointment for a number of years. Perhaps it’s time to reflect on what works and what

Taking stock of Asia’s summit season

Summit season in Asia came early in 2016. Normally, the concentration of ASEAN ministerial, the East Asia Summit (EAS) and the APEC leaders’ meeting occurs in November. As the EAS is tacked on to the ASEAN summit, APEC being hosted by Peru, and with the G20 meeting in Hangzhou in September the

Donald Trump and Northeast Asian nuclearisation

One of the great misfortunes of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign is that some of the policies he has suggested do actually deserve discussion, but are now tainted by the Orange One’s lunatic style, shallowness, and lack of focus. For example, Trump has raised long-overdue issues about

Where quantum satellites fit in PLA strategy

Last month China launched the world’s first quantum communications experiment satellite 'Micius' into orbit from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre in the Gobi Desert. The small satellite, named after an ancient Chinese philosopher, is tasked to establish a hack-proof communication line; a

Rodrigo Duterte's mayoral mentality

Before his first overseas trip as president of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte answered a media question about his first planned meeting with President Obama, leader of the Philippines’ most important economic and security partner. It did not go well.  His (un)presidential comments

Australia stars in first edition of new ISIS magazine

The latest online magazine from Islamic State features an Australian flavour, among some other interesting aspects. First is the name change; no longer is 'Dabiq' the title (unless this masthead continues to put out editions separately); 'Rumiya' (formal Arabic for Rome) has replaced 'Dabiq'. As

Xi drives a grand bargain in China's summit season

For a country whose leaders are often loud in declaring their dislike of others meddling in their affairs, China seems very keen lately to host major international meetings that bring precisely the intense attention it usually feels uncomfortable with. There was the Asia Pacific Economic Meeting (

Laos: The US push to clean up the bombs it left behind

In news that may help Laos successfully compete for the world's attention in a week cram full of colourful leaders' meetings, the US has announced it will spend another $90 million to help clean up unexploded ordnance (UXO), a legacy of the two million tonnes of bombs the US dropped between 1964 and

Curing Mao fever

For China, 2016 is a year of anniversaries. It’s been 95 years since the founding of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), 50 years since the beginning of the Cultural Revolution, and 40 years since the death of Mao Zedong, Communist China’s founding father. More than ever, the CCP is

Overlapping claims in the Timor Sea

Senator Wong urges the Australian government to commit to an international process of dispute resolution to settle the maritime border between Australia and Timor Leste. The conciliation process currently underway in The Hague goes quite some distance in this direction, providing each side with the

Why India distrusts China's One Belt One Road initiative

One of China's most ambitious economic and foreign policy projects is the so-called One Belt One Road initiative. It aims to connect the disparate regions in China's near and distant neighbourhood through a massive program of infrastructure building. It's President Xi Jinping's personal project, and

Obama at Midway: Picking and choosing the law of the sea

Earlier today US President Barack Obama traveled to Midway Atoll, located off the coast of Hawaii, to celebrate the expansion of the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument, a marine protected area (MPA). The monument's expansion will permanently protect pristine coral reefs, deep sea marine

Hangzhou summit: China grapples with the G20

By Tristram Sainsbury, Research Fellow and Project Director, G20 Studies Centre, and Hannah Wurf, Research Associate, G20 Studies Centre. Hosting G20 leaders in Hangzhou on 4-5 September will be an important test for China. The summit will take place towards the end of an eventful 2016, and at a

Did ET really call? Probably not

This week news media picked up a story that has been slowly percolating through the scientific community. A Russian radio telescope apparently picked up a strange signal that could possibly be artificial, and originate from an extraterrestrial civilization. The signal came from the direction of a

World Bank, IMF and ADB leadership: The long wait for change

Despite pressure for change from emerging economies, the major international economic institutions remain disproportionately controlled by representatives from advanced economies. The World Bank has always been led by an American, the IMF by a European, and the Asian Development Bank by a Japanese

Instability just a stroke away in Central Asia

Over the weekend, Islam Karimov, the president of Uzbekistan, was rushed to hospital after reportedly suffering a severe stroke. Immediately, questions about the power vacuum that could open upon his passing have been asked, and rightfully so. The consequences of his death could be grave, not only

Philippines peace process: Duterte playing for high stakes

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte has put his weight unequivocally behind efforts to bring a negotiated end to more than four decades of conflict in the south of the country, but uncertainty is bleeding momentum from the process and the clock is ticking. The Duterte administration inherited a

Australia’s future submarines: Why security matters

Revelations in The Australian over the past week concerning the capabilities of submarines being acquired by India from France have stirred interest in how Australia’s future submarines might similarly be compromised. The Indian navy will search high and low to find how damaging the leaked

China’s quantum satellite: Nothing is totally secure

Information warfare (or cyberwarfare) is the fifth domain of combat, after land, sea, air and space. That’s been clear for decades. Barely a month goes by without a major news story involving a major hack.  The need for secure communications has been with us for much longer, with codes and

Where Stiglitz errs

Contrary to what American Nobel Prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz claims, the Euro was, and is, no mistake but rather an indispensable part of one of the world's biggest economic powers, the European Union.  Let’s recall why the single currency was introduced in the first place.

Afghans are running out of places to hide

It’s been another grim week in Afghanistan, one in which the continued descent into chaos is likely to prompt more Afghans to flee their country even though they know competition for a satisfactory end to a refugee journey is tough and getting tougher. An attack by gunmen on the elite

China and Myanmar closer to resolving dam dilemma

Earlier this month Aung San Suu Kyi, Myanmar's foreign minister and de facto leader, wound up her first state visit to China. During the five-day trip, Suu Kyi met with President Xi Jinping and other senior government officials, and discussed an agenda crowded with a range of pressing issues

The global trade slowdown: What can be done?

By David Gruen, Deputy Secretary, Economic and Australia’s G20 Sherpa, and Sam Bide, Economic and G20 Policy Adviser at the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet When the Prime Minister goes to the G20 Leaders’ Summit in Hangzhou late next week, it will be against the backdrop of

President Tsai's apology: Signalling the modern Taiwan

On 1 August, the new president of Taiwan, Dr Tsai Ing-wen, offered an apology to Taiwan’s indigenous peoples. In the presidential building, the apology began with a rite of offering of millet and spirits. Bunun community elder Hu Jin-niang blessed the ceremony, and Taiwanese religious leaders

Economists challenge Australia’s trade policy

By Bill Carmichael, former chairman of the Industries Assistance Commission, with the assistance of  economists named in the text below. A debate has raged for a decade about what we have gained from Free Trade Agreements (FTAs). We are now able to assess their contribution to future

What the G20 can do to advance cyber norms

The internet is now so central to the world economy (McKinsey estimates it contributed US$2.8 trillion to world GDP in 2014) we forget how weak the norms are governing behaviour online. In several areas these behaviours threaten to degrade and limit the internet’s future contribution to global