Category Archives: Asia

Rodrigo Duterte’s war on many fronts (East Asia Forum 9 August, 2020)

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte delivered his penultimate State of the Nation Address as the onslaught of COVID-19 pandemic continues. Instead of providing a concrete plan to address the rise and spread of the virus, he used the opportunity to attack … Continue reading

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Why America shouldn’t have nuked Japan (Asia Times 6 August, 2020)

US belief that atomic bombings were necessary to obviate even deadlier invasion of Japan is as false 75 years later as it was at the time….The idea of a Soviet occupation of Japan was their worst nightmare.

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Is Indonesia’s ‘dreamy idealist’ losing the plot?

Akhirnya! At last! Just in time for the 75th anniversary of the declaration of Indonesia’s independence next week (17 August) we’re starting to examine our big neighbour with some honesty.

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Killing slowly to show love

WARNING: This article contains observations which some may find disturbing.

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After AUSMIN: How to Ensure Strong Ties to the US and Asia

Following the Australia-United States Ministerial Consultations (AUSMIN) on 28 July, former ambassador to Washington, John McCarthy, argues our strengthening alliance with the US does not preclude building closer relations with Asia, including a potential modus vivendi with China.

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Malaysia: What’s Next with conviction of Najib Razak

After years of investigative exposés and legal wrangling, former Prime Minister Najib Razak was found guilty last Tuesday 28 July of serious crimes related to the 1MDB financial scandal.

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US, China, Australia: what are we getting into?

Next week our Foreign and Defence Ministers will visit the US to meet their US counterparts, at the latters’ invitation. Is the aim to recruit us to the United States’ anti-China campaign?

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Asia is more than the US and China but we don’t understand Asia.

Our Asia expertise is not strengthening but in decline.  A decrease in research funding for Asia-related topics, a fall in Asian language learning by English-speaking students, a growing neglect of Asian histories and cultures and a serious threat to our … Continue reading

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Range of options for Kim Jong-un in the lead up to US elections

As the weeks tick over towards the US elections in November and doubts grow about President Trump’s prospects, the main stakeholders in the North Korean denuclearisation problem are having to reassess their options. All of which is making for a … Continue reading

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Double standards are a feature of Australian foreign policy.  We condemn China for doing what we and other countries do.

Australia should not assume that democracy is the one true political faith that everyone in the world wants. We have the right to uphold our beliefs but others have the same right.

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Let the flag follow the trade

It’s a curious cluster – Jamaica, Luxemburg, Costa Rica and Jordan. Squashed in the middle at 73 is Indonesia. It’s a lousy rank on the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Register because it shouts at potential investors: Beware! Yet … Continue reading

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‘Haunted’ Morrison adds more fuel to the Asia-Pacific fire

We now know a little more about the prime minister’s fleeting, but significant references to the 1930s in his speech launching the defence update last week.

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A smart Indian response to China (East Asia Forum 5.7.20)

The Indian government is under massive pressure to retaliate for the deaths of Indian soldiers in a border clash with China. While some bilateral measures may be unavoidable, India’s broader interest is not to reduce its engagement with China.

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Defence Strategic Outlook lacks a civilian perspective.

The Defence Department’s Strategic Update is somewhat servant to the past rather than the future. It’s just one way to see the world and should be subordinated to a civilian perspective in less adversarial terms. The government’s endorsement of the … Continue reading

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Scared of the same bogeyman? Let’s cooperate.

Was Indonesia alerted ahead of the PM’s 2020 Defence Strategic Update and Force Structure Plan announcement? The presumption is that key people were tipped off, largely because there’s been no blow-back.

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Indonesia’s President Widodo finally takes a firm stand, but will it matter?

Indonesia’s founding president Soekarno was a dazzling demagogue, feared and loathed by the West and admired by the East. Apart from Abdurrahman Wahid (Gus Dur), his successors’ performances at the podium have been pedestrian, but suddenly Joko Widodo, the epitome … Continue reading

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The mainstream media fails on Australia’s foreign policy

Our media avoids any discussion or analysis of the literally hundreds of United States military bases that are situated in proximity to China, and similarly the hundreds of military bases aimed at “containing” Russia.

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ABC sending a strange message to the region.

The slashing and burning of ABC workers, their goodies and services seems to have missed the overseas TV service ABC Australia. That’s no reason to whoop. Further cuts will kill.

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Australian Soaps to the Pacific – Good Diplomacy?

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade launched an initiative to send commercial (soaps) Australian television programs to stations in the South Pacific. This will do little to enhance vigorous and discerning projection of Australian news and values in the … Continue reading

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In the Australia-China relationship, name calling won’t help.

It is easy for governments to disguise their inability to manage the complex Australia-China relationship by resorting to finger-pointing and name-calling. Continue reading

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The inevitability of fundamental change in the world and what China wants

“The coronavirus pandemic will change the world order forever. When the Covid-19 pandemic is over, institutions in many countries will look as if they have failed. It is not a question of whether this judgment is correct from an objective … Continue reading

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Coronavirus, racism and Asian-Australian representation. Part 2 of a series on racism.

The emergence of the coronavirus in Wuhan China has led to a rise and return of racist and xenophobic attitudes in Australia towards Chinese-Australians and those of seemingly “Chinese” appearance. The fear, anxiety and uncertainty of the pandemic have fuelled … Continue reading

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The US and China: can “peer competitors” cooperate?

Extensive talks in Hawaii on 18 June between US Secretary of State Pompeo and Chinese Politburo member responsible for international affairs, Yang Jiechi, could have been a significant step in the two powers’ difficult relationship, but security has been tight … Continue reading

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Vietnam’s remarkable rise deserves more attention from Canberra

Vietnam’s response to COVID-19 has highlighted its competence as a country. It has unequivocally won the peace. It manages its relations with China with firmness and diplomacy.

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Our strategic partnerships with China, India, Japan and the US

The signature of a strategic agreement between Australia and India is being hailed as a success. Certainly our construction of positive relations with India has lagged, although efforts to do better began in the 1980s. But what’s it all about? … Continue reading

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China Matters: Letter to the editor of Daily Telegraph and Herald Sun.

The article by Ms Ellen Whinnett in the 14 June 2020 edition of both The Daily Telegraph and Herald Sun contained demonstrable falsehoods and defamatory insinuations about the work of China Matters, and the supporter circle of the organisation.

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What Does China Want domestically under the Leadership of President Xi? Part 2 of 2

What President Xi wants domestically is to uphold the leadership of the CCP, upgrade China’s manufacturing capacities to middle and upper end of the production chain so as to make China strong and the people wealthy.

Posted in Asia | 3 Comments

The many meanings of the word corruption

It is widely expected by foreigners undertaking commercial activities in the Asian region that “facilitation payments” or corruption by another name will be required for most services provided to them.

Posted in Asia, Politics | 1 Comment

Chinese ties put Indonesia in a bind.

Beijing has warned citizens against travel to Australia claiming ‘a significant increase’ in racial discrimination and violence against Chinese and Asians blamed for the Covid-19 pandemic.

Posted in Asia | 4 Comments

We may be stuck in our bigotry. Urgent change on many fronts needed

So much of our political mainstream has been based on bigotry and racist perspectives. We have always had the comfort of the US and UK accepting our attitudes on race. That no longer will be the case.

Posted in Asia, Human Rights | 13 Comments