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Weekend catch-up: International Women’s Day, tariffs, Timor-Leste, and more

The week that was on The Interpreter.

International Women's Day in Krakow. (Photo: Omar Marques/Getty)
International Women's Day in Krakow. (Photo: Omar Marques/Getty)
Published 10 Mar 2018 

The week that was on The Interpreter.

We don’t usually post articles on Sundays, but look out for our exclusive from “BBC Dad” Robert Kelly tomorrow about how his life has changed since he and his family went viral one year ago.

Thursday was International Women’s Day. Foreign Minister Julie Bishop on gender equality in the Foreign Policy White Paper:

Our ambition for Australian women and girls is our ambition for all women and girls – that they live their lives in health and safety, in full enjoyment of their human rights and supported to reach their full potential. Our commitment to gender equality is unwavering.

Shadow Foreign Minister Penny Wong on the role of gender in Labor’s development agenda:

Empowering women demands more than simply supporting individuals. It requires confronting and reforming the economic, social, and cultural barriers to equality. It demands a focus on generating more opportunities for women.

The United Nations faces complex challenges in advancing women to senior positions. Laura Shepherd:

It is important to remember that effecting cultural and political change within an organisation is not only a matter of adding women and stirring.

Susan Harris Rimmer on lessons to learn from the Women’s Peace Army:

These women must have been equally as brave as they were organised. Forget Twitter trolls, the Women’s Peace Army pledged to face down threats, rotten eggs, physical violence, and being silenced. As the world was falling apart, they held fast to their principles.

Australia and Timor-Leste signed a treaty to establish new boundaries for the joint petroleum development area, but the saga isn’t over. Clive Schofield and Bec Strating:

The issue of the boundaries as a matter of sovereignty, while symbolically important, is a distraction from the core consideration. What really matters for Timor-Leste’s sovereignty and its economic viability is a quick resolution on the pipeline, leading to a swift development of the Greater Sunrise oilfields.

The highlands region of Papua New Guinea is suffering the effects of an earthquake measuring 7.5 on the Richter scale and significant aftershocks. Watna Mori:

In 2012, PNG released its ‘Disaster Risk Management Plan’ in line with its Vision 2050 plan, which offers an appropriate framework within which to address natural disasters in PNG. Yet the government continues to respond to disasters in an ad hoc manner. 

US President Donald Trump announced heavy tariffs on steel and aluminium this week. Stephen Grenville:

How should countries respond to President Donald Trump’s tariffs on steel and aluminium? One response would be to retaliate. Another would be to emphasise the damage done to the global multilateral trade framework. Yet another would be to negotiate a side deal to avoid, and perhaps even benefit from, the distortion.

Trump’s tariff announcements made the possibility of the US renegotiating and rejoining the TPP even more remote. Mike Callahan:

It is very unlikely that Trump has any idea of what a significantly better TPP outcome for the US would look like. As we have seen on numerous occasions, Trump’s musings on policy issues are not the outcome of well-considered deliberations.

David Brewster on growing geo-economic competition in the Indo-Pacific:

The recently revived Quadrilateral – a loose coalition between Australia, the US, Japan, and India – is evolving towards a more comprehensive partnership less explicitly focused on defence issues. The latest idea, the Free and Open Indo-Pacific, involves providing the region with alternatives to China’s Belt and Road Initiative.

Beijing recently introduced a new visa policy for foreign citizens with Chinese heritage. Jieh-Yung Lo:

China intends to roll out the welcome mat for overseas Chinese to ‘return home’. Why? Because the CCP desires the skills, connections, and knowledge of the outside world.

Russian President Vladimir Putin announced new details on six major new weapons systems. Victor Ambramowicz:

Despite some alarmist concerns about the impact of Russia’s new weapons, not much will change. The logic of mutually assured destruction endures because both sides can destroy the other comfortably. And Washington won’t give up its BMD system, especially as North Korea’s arsenal grows. Instead, the main outcome will be to disadvantage Russia by eating a larger share of an already halved economic pie desperately needed for other purposes.

The Chinese press dutifully defended Chinese President Xi Jinping’s decision to remove the two-term limit for the presidency. Richard McGregor:

While term limits for other positions remain, such as those that apply to ministers, for Xi they have been lifted. For the People’s Daily, the move is all about ‘stability’.

John Hemmings on the debate about China’s rise:

Where academics once argued over whether the Asian power would be a status quo or systemic challenger, there is growing consensus that China intends to reshape the global system in its image.

And finally, after five months of negotiations between Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Conservative Union and the Social Democratic Party, Germany has a new government. Marcus Colla:

The next four years may prove to be the most transformative period in German politics for some time. At least four questions will predominate: will the SPD survive as a major party? If not, who (if anyone) will assume its place? Will the upstart Alternative for Germany party collapse or become a permanent feature of the German political landscape? And, finally, how will the Conservative Union prepare for the Merkel succession?


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