Category Archives: Asia

GEOFF MILLER. Singapore, Australia, “the Quad” and ASEAN—same same but different!

Singapore and Australia are having to deal with the same set of problems and relationships as the strategic situation in the Asia-Pacific changes.  Singapore isn’t a contender for an expanded “Quad” but, as next year’s Chairman of ASEAN, it will … Continue reading

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DUNCAN GRAHAM. Visit Down Under and pay up.

Indonesians will not be getting cheap and easy-to-obtain Australian visas available to Malaysians and Singaporeans. Australian campaigners seeking better access for Indonesian tourists have been officially told there will be no changes. This is despite the Republic giving Australians free … Continue reading

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MICHAEL SAINSBURY AND THOMAS ORA. Timor-Leste’s young government teeters on collapse

Asia’s most Catholic country faces the prospect of a second election inside nine months after government fractures

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JOHN LEE. The rise of China’s tech sector: the making of an internet empire.

Part one of this two-part series looks at the rise of China’s digital economy, the champion firms that dominate it, and their relationship with the Chinese state.  The Chinese government’s online censorship and alleged cyber espionage activities have long been a … Continue reading

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UCANews. Democracy showdown looms in Malaysia

Approaching elections should act as a safety valve in the multi-ethnic nation.

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RICHARD WOOLCOTT. The Australia – Indonesia Agreement on maintaining security in 1995

  The Cabinet papers for 1994/95, released on 1 January this year, made it clear that Paul Keating had sought to develop a security agreement between Australia and Indonesia in 1994. The Agreement was completed in 1995.  

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MACK WILLIAMS. Breaking the ice at Pyeongchang?

The decision by the DPRK to reopen high level talks with the ROK next week in preparation for the Winter Olympics is monumental for the ROK. Followed by the US:ROK decision to defer major military exercises at the time of … Continue reading

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ANDREW FARRAN. India riding roughshod in commodities trade.

India’s decision on 21 December to slap overnight a 30% tariff increase on Australian imports of lentils and chick peas is just not what a stable, orderly trade system needs. But even so, do we need another discriminatory bilateral so-called … Continue reading

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ALISON BROINOWSKI. War on the cheap.

It’s unlikely that the Army will commission a further report following Albert Palazzo’s account of the ADF’s operations in Iraq. We have years to wait for Professor Craig Stocking’s official history. What Australia urgently needs is a full independent inquiry … Continue reading

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RICHARD BROINOWSKI. Korean Hot Line

Kim Jong-un’s offer to re-open the hotline with South Korea cannot be seen as merely a ploy to wedge ROK and the United States, as so readily claimed last Tuesday by Nikki Haley, United States Ambassador to the United Nations.  

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GEORGE WRIGHT. A year of dashed hopes and tyranny in Cambodia

To many, dissolution of the main opposition party caps a year in which the country became a full dictatorship.

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Worries about Malaysia’s ‘Arabisation’ grow as Saudi ties strengthen

Malaysia’s growing ties to Saudi Arabia – and its puritan Salafi-Wahhabi Islamic doctrines – are coming under new scrutiny as concerns grow over an erosion of traditional religious practices and culture in the multi-ethnic nation.  A string of recent events has … Continue reading

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HAMISH MCDONALD. Australia still on smoko over Asia.

When Malcolm Turnbull hosts the ten leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations for an unusual summit in Sydney in March, the Australian public will know virtually nothing about most of them or the current state of affairs in … Continue reading

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CLIVE KESSLER. Old enemies reconcile as Malaysian elections near.

Malaysia’s fourteenth general elections are looming. This time, almost unprecedentedly, they will see the two great Malay political parties — the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) and the Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS) — working implicitly as allies, not rivals. 

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CAVAN HOGUE. More blessed to give than to receive?

Provoking China to score cheap political points domestically does not advance Australian interests. While most Australians would prefer the US domestic political model to the Chinese, we are not going to change the Chinese system and so must learn to … Continue reading

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RAMESH THAKUR. Australia charts a flawed foreign policy course

Australia’s 2017 Foreign Policy White Paper sketches the global geopolitical transition with remarkable precision and elegance and the document is exceptionally strong on principles, rules and norms as the foundation of world order. The word “rules” is used 70 times, … Continue reading

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SANITSUDA EKACHAI. Why Buddhists fail simple test of compassion

When Pope Francis avoided addressing the Rohingya genocide directly during his recent Myanmar visit, questioning his silence is missing the crux of the problem.

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ANDREW FARRAN. An alternative perspective for a realistic defence policy for Australia

In defence terms how do we operate in a region where China will by 2030 have a GDP 25 times greater than ours and whose current military expenditure is already 25 times greater, when the US will be concentrating increasingly … Continue reading

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ALLAN PATIENCE. Confecting a new China hysteria.

Australia’s diplomacy with its Asian neighbours and contenders has always been awkward. In a similar manner to Britain’s awkward partnering with Europe, so Australia is Asia’s awkward partner. In the past we could calm our fears by relying on great … Continue reading

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MARGARET BEAVIS. Will the Nobel Peace Prize change Australia’s double speak?

On December 10th the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to ICAN – the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear weapons –  which was founded here in Melbourne in 2006. The Nobel Committee made the award “for its work to draw attention … Continue reading

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BRIAN TOOHEY. The US doesn’t need Asia

The US doesn’t need to be the dominant power in Asia to maintain its own national security. No amount of wishful thinking can negate this key insight from Hugh White, a leading professor of strategic studies, about the government’s latest … Continue reading

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LARRY JAGAN. Suu Kyi should heed Pope’s suggestion on UN role

Pope Francis’ visit to Myanmar last week was an overwhelming success and may provide the much needed spark to ignite the government’s peace process and its efforts to bring reconciliation to the country’s violence-torn western region of Rakhine. The Pope’s … Continue reading

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ALISON BROINOWSKI. Truth is not an excuse.

If ASIO bugged Mr Huang’s phone, and sat on what it knew, the political timing of the latest leak against Dastyari could not have been more deliberate.

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JAMES O’NEILL. The North Korean situation requires a different policy

It is said that one definition of insanity is to repeat the same process over and over again and expect a different result. That axiom was never truer than when it is applied to United States and Australian policy towards … Continue reading

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RICHARD BUTLER. North Korea joins the club

North Korea (DPRK) has made clear that it expects recognition as a nuclear weapon state (NWS). It has now implied, like most existing NWS, that it would follow a policy of “no first use”. US policy continues to be that … Continue reading

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FRAN MARTIN. Overstating Chinese influence in Australian universities

Both Australia’s national government and its security agency ASIO have expressed concerns over the influence that the Chinese government exerts on Chinese student groups studying at Australian universities. They have also accused Beijing of using those groups to spy on … Continue reading

Posted in Asia, Education, International Affairs | 3 Comments

MARK BEESON: When worlds collide: The unlikely relationship between Australia and China

The debate about Australia’s relationship with China is characterized by a degree of mutual incomprehension born of difference. Both sides share some of the blame for the current bilateral tensions.

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BRUCE DUNCAN. Did Pope Francis succeed in Myanmar?

Myanmar’s neighbours were watching closely the Pope’s visit, worried that the shocking treatment of the Rohingya Muslims could inflame inter-religious conflicts throughout the region. Francis has intervened personally to promote deeper mutual understanding among the major religions, urging them to … Continue reading

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HUGH WHITE. The White Paper’s grand strategic fix: Can Australia achieve an Indo-Pacific pivot?

By far the most important and sobering part of the 2017 Foreign Policy White Paper is Figure 2.4. It offers the Treasury’s estimates of the sizes of the region’s key economies in 2030. They are calculated in purchasing power parity … Continue reading

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CAVAN HOGUE. The White Paper – a curate’s egg?

There is much to be commended in the Government’s White Paper but there are some assumptions which need to be questioned. The focus on Asia is welcome and most of the analysis of our changing world is good, in particular … Continue reading

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