Category Archives: Asia

GEOFF RABY.  Xi Jinping: much more than just one man (The Interpreter, Lowy Institute, 16 July 2019)

Book Review: Xi Jinping: The Backlash by Richard McGregor (Penguin, Lowy Institute, 2019) Richard McGregor has written a dazzling account of the first six years of the Xi Jinping era and what he sees as the “backlash” to Xi’s increasing … Continue reading

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GEOFF RABY.  The Problem with China’s Soft Power: It doesn’t have any( AFR 17 July 2017)

Last week the US Pace Gallery announced it was closing its flagship contemporary art gallery in the famous 798 art space and expanding at home.  Also last week, police squads and bulldozers moved in to demolish several more of Beijing’s … Continue reading

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RAMESH THAKUR. Trump’s strategic incoherence on India policy Part 2

In an editorial to mark Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s recent visit, The Times of India alluded to US policy incoherence in urging Washington to make up its mind between dealing with India as an ally or a frenemy. Earlier, in February … Continue reading

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HUGH WHITE. Australia needs to give up its South Pacific dream (AFR 13-14.7.2019)

What can Australia do to restore and preserve our sphere of influence in the South Pacific, and deny it to China?  

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HUGH WHITE. Why Pacific nations would host a Chinese military base (AFR 13-14.7.2019)

Our neighbours’ commitment to values and interests shared with Australia might prove feeble in the face of Chinese persuasion.  

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CAVAN HOGUE.  Canada, Australia and the USA

Canada tries to differentiate itself from the USA but because of its proximity and similarities this is not easy. Australia has the opposite problem: we try to find similarities. Canada’s geography makes it easier for it to defy requests to … Continue reading

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KERRY BROWN. Whither ‘one country, two systems’? (East Asia Forum)

If reportedly a quarter of the population of the country or city where you live go out on the streets to demonstrate, there is a serious problem. We can quibble about whether it was indeed two million that demonstrated in … Continue reading

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LEONID PETROV.  “Love the North Korean Style: Alek Sigley’s Misfortune is a Coded Message”

Alek Sigley was expelled from North Korea for using the Internet Last weekend the world was baffled by the statement of the (North) Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) which explained why Alek Sigley, the Australian student who had studied at the Kim Il-sung University in Pyongyang, was detained, investigated and expelled. Nobody, including seasoned North Korea watchers, could make … Continue reading

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CAI FANG. A trade war will only hasten China’s structural reforms (East Asia Forum)

On 22 March 2018, the United States, invoking Section 301 of the Trade Act, increased tariffs on imported goods from China. Since then, the trade war has severely harmed both the Chinese and US economies. Yet despite 11 rounds of … Continue reading

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GEETA PANDEY. Indian MP Mahua Moitra’s ‘rising fascism’ speech wins plaudits (BBC News)

A spirited turn at the mic by a first-time female MP in India’s parliament, in which she listed the “signs of early fascism”, has been hailed as the “speech of the year” on social media.

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ALLAN PATIENCE and GARRY WOODARD. Morrison as a middle power statesman?

  In attempting to predict how Scott Morrison will develop as a foreign policy Prime Minister, the obstacles in his way should first be noted. While his potential authority within the party room is considerable, he lacks the foreign policy … Continue reading

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China is not an enemy (Washington Post letter, 3 July 2019)

Dear President Trump and members of Congress: We are members of the scholarly, foreign policy, military and business communities, overwhelmingly from the United States, including many who have focused on Asia throughout our professional careers. We are deeply concerned about … Continue reading

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TREVOR WATSON. Crossing a line in the Korean sand; Trump goes where others have been before

Donald Trump’s crossing of the 38th Parallel into North Korea was a ten out of ten for symbolism. It was wonderful television and an outstanding PR move by the US President and the North Korean Leader, Kim Jun Un. The … Continue reading

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GEOFF MILLER:  Trump in North Asia; policy changes?

A lot of the reactions to President Trump’s visits to the G20 in Osaka and to Korea have been scathing, but there are some positive signs in regard to both US-China trade issues and negotiations with North Korea.  But having … Continue reading

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NARGES BAJOGHLI. Trump’s Iran strategy will fail (New York Times, 2 July 2019).

As tensions with Tehran escalate, Washington has been struggling to understand the internal thinking of the Iranian government, and especially that of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps. The organization, which functions as an elite military branch and a bulwark of … Continue reading

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PAUL BARRATT. What are we to make of Iran’s nuclear program?

Iran’s nuclear program, never out of the news for long, is on the front pages of the world with President Trump’s insistence that his belligerence towards Iran is driven by a desire to ensure that Iran does not acquire nuclear … Continue reading

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GARETH EVANS. Breaking through the bamboo ceiling: Asian-Australians in the Asian Century.

Asian-Australians are an underappreciated and underutilized national resource as we face  the challenges and opportunities of the Asian century.  The 2012 White Paper, and everyone else, agrees that we dramatically need to lift our ‘Asian capability’ – defined by the … Continue reading

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GEOFF RABY. Hong Kong’s relationship with Beijing has been changed for ever

Hong Kong’s relationship with Beijing has been changed for ever Whatever the precise figure, the demonstrations in Hong Kong were the biggest ever in the city and possibly the biggest in Chinese history against a government.  Confident in the power … Continue reading

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HUGH WHITE. We must not join Trump’s cold war (AFR 25.6.2019)

Scott Morrison should spell out Australia’s opposition to Washington’s futile attempts to contain China.  

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MICHAEL PASCOE. War with Iran could break the American alliance and force Australia to become independent (The New Daily, 23 June 2019)

I’m writing this at 10,000 metres, a dangerous place to write. There’s something about thin air on a plane and a couple of glasses of wine that moves the bladder closer to the eye.

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RICHARD WOOLCOTT. If the US treats China like an enemy, then it will become one.

 It is time for Australia to accept the reality of the rise of China and a resurgence of Russia.  

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MARK BEESON. The US Lobby and Australian Defence Policy, Vince Scappatura, Monash Publishing (a review)

One of the most enduring features of Australia’s foreign and strategic policies is the close relationship between this country and the United States. A number of other countries such as Britain and Japan also claim to have a ‘special relationship’ … Continue reading

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DENNIS ARGALL. Absenting Ourselves From the World.

This is mainly about China, but more. We have excluded ourselves in many ways from the engines of modernity in Asia and more widely by our recalcitrance on so many issues and our unwillingness to engage with the new. We … Continue reading

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CHAS FREEMAN. The Sino-American Split and its Consequences

To be able to compete effectively with rising powers like China and resurgent nations like Russia; to be able to do so with the confident optimism our country has always embodied, we must fix not only our diplomacy but the … Continue reading

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CONOR FOWLER. Singapore and China Move to Enhance Defence Relations (Future Directions)

On 29 May, Chinese Defence Minister Wei Fenghe met with his Singaporean counterpart, Ng Eng Hen, and announced the revision of the Agreement on Defence Exchanges and Security Co-operation (ADESC), which was first signed in 2008. The revision is designed … Continue reading

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TONY WALKER. Australia has a China problem and we can’t leave it to faceless spooks (Sydney Morning Herald, 16 June 2019)

Australia has a China problem. It’s not in Beijing. It’s not on the streets of Hong Kong. It’s in Canberra. China policy is in flux, under stress and confused. Australia’s meek response to the pro-democracy mass demonstrations in Hong Kong contrasts … Continue reading

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TREVOR WATSON. Hong Kong and Beijing – two cities, one fearful regime.

Millions of students, blue collar workers and professionals poured into the streets of Hong Kong in protest over proposed legislation that would allow people to be extradited for trial in China.

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MACK WILLIAMS . North Korea : The tangled web becomes more so !

That the past few months have seen no real progress towards the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula is not all that surprising given the swirling global environment demanding priority attention for President Trump and other key stakeholders. Post mortems of … Continue reading

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KISHORE MAHBUBANI. A ‘yellow peril’ revival fuelling Western fears of China’s rise (East Asia Forum)

Do we arrive at geopolitical judgements from only cool, hard-headed, rational analysis? If emotions influence our judgements, are these conscious emotions or do they operate at the level of our subterranean subconscious? Any honest answer to these questions would admit … Continue reading

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GEOFF RABY. What a Morrison Government could do on China.

The Accidental Morrison Government needs now to face up to Australia’s most important foreign policy challenge: how to restore relations with China.  Under Turnbull/Bishop’s mismanagement, the relationship plumbed its lowest depth since diplomatic relations were established 47 years ago.  Doing … Continue reading

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