Category Archives: Asia

RICHARD BUTLER. What is History?

President Macron’s warning against growing nationalism and the need to ensure the preservation of values, as against unalloyed selfishness in international relations, was an important way to mark the Centenary of the end of the First World War. Trump was … Continue reading

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RICHARD BROINOWSKI. Will Japan’s Love Affair with Nuclear Power be Resurrected?

On Friday 11 March 2011, a tsunami knocked out emergency generators at Fukushima Dai-Ichi, resulting in melt-downs in three of six reactors, covering the countryside in eastern Honshu with radiation. Some isotopes were short-lived, others will be around much longer. … Continue reading

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DUNCAN GRAHAM.Jerusalem and a Free Trade Agreement with Indonesia

  Now here’s the weirdest thing about the way we handle policy with the neighbours:   Canberra politicians are proven fumblers and bumblers when dealing with big Muslim-majority Indonesia. Yet at the Australian National University just a ten-minute bike ride … Continue reading

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RICHARD McGREGOR AND JONATHAN PRYKE. Australia must tread carefully in its Pacific contest with China. (SMH 9.11.2018)

If you want a glimpse into the future of Australia’s relationship with China, with all the elements of competition and co-operation, and tensions and bridge-building, then this week is a good place to start.  

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ROHAN FOX, MATTHEW DORNAN. China in the Pacific: Is China engaged in “debt-trap diplomacy”?

Recent media coverage has touted the rise of Chinese aid and lending as a threat to Pacific nations’ sovereignty and to the West’s influence in the Pacific. China, so the narrative goes, is aggressively lending to smaller nations who do not have … Continue reading

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TONG ZHAO. Why China Is Worried About the End of the INF Treaty.

The U.S. withdrawal from the INF Treaty reflects Washington’s long-standing concern that the treaty constrained its ability to counter China’s fast-growing missile forces in the Asia Pacific. This article was published by Carnegie Tsinghua Centre for Global Policy on the … Continue reading

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ANDREW FARRAN. What is it to be with China – cooperation or conflict? A response to Peter Jennings of ASPI.

In a prominent article in The Weekend Australian’s ‘Inquirer’ section on 3/4 November, headed “Canberra alone must control our China ties”, the director of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, Peter Jennings, castigates the Victorian government, a large delegation of leading … Continue reading

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MICHAEL SAINSBURY. Beijing’s spin on Xinjiang camps is not fooling anyone.

Communist regime has offered a string of justifications for its inhumane treatment of the Uyghur people.  This article was published by UCA News on the 6th of November. 

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DAVID HUTT. Timor-Leste developing closer ties with China.

Southeast Asia’s newest and poorest nation needs funds that Beijing is poised to provide to fuel what some see as Dili’s misguided oil and gas ambitions.  This article was published by Asia Times on the 2nd of November 2018. 

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DUNCAN GRAHAM. Troubled by truth telling in Indonesia

Does the present government really understand Indonesia? Or want to? Ministers get detailed briefings from diplomats in Jakarta squirreling away in our biggest embassy, plus wisdoms from academics close to home.

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MACK WILLIAMS. New Cold War: Just how independent can Australia be ?

As renewed discussion grows pace in Australia about being less dependent on the United States in any Cold War against China how realistic is that option? For one thing we would need to loosen some of the linkages which have … Continue reading

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MICHAEL SAINSBURY. Rohingya refugee crisis hits Myanmar’s economy (UCANews, 30.10.18))

While the Rohingya crisis and the escalating problems in Kachin and northern Shan State are grabbing headlines, Myanmar’s sagging economy and the withdrawal of investment by Western nations threaten to hit the largely impoverished nation the hardest.

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RAMESH THAKUR. Preventing Mass Atrocities.

Tyranny is not restricted to any particular religion, culture, civilisation or gender. Political rule based in terror rather than citizen’s welfare, safety and security is a universal moral failing. The Westphalian system of sovereign states spread from Europe to cover … Continue reading

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JAMES O’NEILL. Australia and its Israel Embassy: What are they thinking?

 According to recent media reports, the Liberal candidate in the Wentworth (Sydney) by-election, former diplomat David Sharma said he “was open” to the idea that Australia’s embassy in Israel could be shifted from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. In a separate … Continue reading

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MOHAMAD BAZZI. How Saudi Arabia wins friends (New York Times, 29.10.18)

After the Khashoggi murder, the kingdom has fallen back on the tactic of wielding its oil wealth to buy loyalty.

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VICTOR MERRICK. Anwar Ibrahim — is he for real?

Malaysia’s prime minister-in-waiting shows signs of irritability as reformist mask starts to slip.  This article was published by UCA News on the 23rd of October 2018. 

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GEOFF RABY. Time to ground Australia’s China fear in facts (AFR 29.10.18)

As December draws near, thoughts turn to annual anniversaries and remembrances. This December marks the 51st anniversary of one of the more bizarre events in Australia’s political history. On December 17, 1967, then prime minister Harold Holt disappeared while swimming … Continue reading

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DUNCAN GRAHAM. Putting the zing into statecraft

Foreign affairs (the political version, not dalliances abroad) is seldom a synonym for fun.  The standard photo has a line of suits trying – and failing – to look human.Their media statements, labelled ‘communique’ to maintain the mystique, are triumphs … Continue reading

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RENA PEDERSON. Target the Generals, Not “The Lady” (American Interest 11.10.18)

Despite the outcry, Aung San Suu Kyi does not deserve most of the blame for the tragedy unfolding in Myanmar. The Nobel Foundation got it right.

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RAMESH THAKUR. Farewell to Nuclear Arms Control? (Asia Global Online, 25 October 2018)

The United States has affirmed strategic competition with both Russia and China as the central organizing principle of its national security policy. The announcement on October 20 by President Donald Trump that the U.S. would withdraw from the 30-year-old Intermediate-Range … Continue reading

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BOB CARR. Chinese Australians are the silent minority on foreign policy (Australian Financial Review, 25.10.18)

Imagine the crucial byelection had not been in Wentworth but in another Sydney electorate, Barton. Instead of a 12 per cent Jewish population, it is one with a 34 per cent Chinese population. And imagine that, in the context of … Continue reading

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REG LITTLE. Australian universities and China.

Comment on Australian universities and China needs to correct the universal Western oversight of the reality that China’s past, present and future can only be understood in the context of its unique classics and millennia of recorded history. 

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Shinzo Abe’s China visit will push infrastructure and sea ties to counter US tensions (South China Morning Post, 20.10.18)

First visit to Beijing by a Japanese prime minister since 2011 expected to bring economic cooperation that prepares the way for warmer political relations.

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BEN HILLMAN. Xinjiang and the “Chinese Dream”.

Since ethnic riots broke out in Urumqi in 2009, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has steadily turned Xinjiang into a provincial police state. Uyghurs, Kazakhs and other Muslim minorities are being closely surveilled and detained by security forces.

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TONY KEVIN. What Aust Govt should do about the Khashoggi murder and other great Saudi crimes of state.

I believe Khashoggi was coldly and brutally murdered in a symbolic and deliberate medieval deterrent state punishment in a Saudi consulate on foreign soil. Australia should declare the Saudi Arabian Ambassador here persona non grata, and should withdraw our Ambassador … Continue reading

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GARY SANDS. Vatican–China relations are warming up, but at what cost?

The Vatican is drawing closer to China. With the signing in September 2018 of a provisional agreement on the long-contested appointment of bishops in China, many are questioning what this development means for Catholicism in China and for the Vatican’s … Continue reading

Posted in Asia, International Affairs, Religion and Faith | 1 Comment

BOB CARR. Australians have no interest in joining U.S. cold war against China

Alexander Downer chewed ruminatively on his steak: “If you want a cold war with China, you will get a cold war with China.”

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MACK WILLIAMS. Korea: Still many challenges ahead

Despite President Trump’s exchange of “love letters” with the North Korean leader, from the public record it seems that Secretary of State Pompeo’s last discussions with Kim Jong-un in Pyongyang failed to achieve any significant breakthrough on denuclearisation. But there … Continue reading

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ALI KAZAK. Mr Morrison in Jerusalem: serving war or peace?

In his recent press conference Prime Minister Scott Morrison said: he is open to the suggestion of recognition of Israel’s capital in West Jerusalem, “the opportunity” for “a capital for a Palestinian Authority” in East Jerusalem and the Government’s commitment … Continue reading

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PETER VARGHESE. Australian Universities and China. Part 2 of 2

 My remarks today are very much a personal perspective, drawing on my past engagement with China as a foreign policy practitioner and informed by my current role, but it is not an official University of Queensland position. Today I wish … Continue reading

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