Wednesday 01 Apr 2020 | 12:24 | SYDNEY

Asia and Pacific

Asian Century media coverage

The contrast between how broadsheet and tabloid newspapers covered the launch of the Asian Century White Paper on Sunday is telling. The Australian gave it saturation coverage and rolled out its big columnists to provide analysis. The Sydney Morning Herald also provided front-page coverage and

Rebuilding Australia diplomatic network...when circumstances allow

Two significant reports have been released in the past two days which, if their recommendations are followed, should have a considerable impact on the health of Australia's diplomatic network: Sunday's White Paper on Australia in the Asian Century and the report released yesterday by the Joint

Asia White Paper: Process and politics

Taste the Asian Century White Paper from the perspectives of process and politics. The machinery stuff (the process) is always interesting in Canberra, and usually revealing. If this had been the Henry Review instead of a White Paper it would have been bigger, bolder, broader, and almost

Reader riposte: Science in the Asian century

Tony Healy writes: While I commend the PM for the ambition in her speech, I think she misses the point. The core cultural expertise we need over the next 50 years if we are to maintain the respect of Asian nations and prosper will be in using science. Our English heritage has given us a slight

Asian Century: Life in the slipstream

What is there not to like about the White Paper on the Asian Century? It is above all a feel-good document: historically we have done well in our relationships with Asia; we have the advantage of proximity; a large component of our population is of Asian descent; we are well equipped with relevant

What the Asian Century White Paper means for our ties with Indonesia

The relationship with Indonesia is one of six the Government determines as crucial to Australia's future in the new Australia in the Asian Century White Paper. The priority placed on Indonesia mirrors regular Government statements about the importance of bilateral ties and the need to further

Ad campaign for the 'real Singapore'

A footnote to my musings of yesterday about favourite Southeast Asian cities. I gave Singapore high marks on my Order/Chaos index, and this is consistent with the conventional wisdom about the place: clean, pleasant, modern, highly urbanised but also authoritarian and occasionally brutal ('

Ai Weiwei covers Gangnam Style

Just when you thought Gangnam Style might have peaked, it gets a boost from Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei, who has released his own version of the hit South Korean pop song on YouTube, with a decidedly political edge. The NY Times explains: The artist, who mimics the mock horse-riding

PNG New Voices: Right place, right time

By Annmaree O'Keeffe, Danielle Cave and Jenny Hayward-Jones, from the Lowy Institute's Melanesia program.    The idea to hold the New Voices conference in Port Moresby began as a crazy thought by the Lowy Institute's Melanesia Program team and turned out to be a winner. We hope it will

Myanmar reforms: The record so far

Trevor Wilson is a Visiting Fellow with the Department of Political and Social Change at ANU. Eighteen months have passed since Myanmar's political transition began and its new president, Thein Sein, set about a process of far-reaching reform. Most observers, including the people of Myanmar,

Your favourite Southeast Asian city?

Just found this nice little time-lapse video of Kuala Lumpur by day and night, which gives me the opportunity to present my personal theory of how to rank Southeast Asia's capitals. If I rank the four Southeast Asian capitals I have visited on an order/chaos index, Singapore obviously ranks

New developments in Indonesia death penalty debate

Two encouraging developments regarding the death penalty have come to light in Indonesia in the past week. First, it has emerged that President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono granted clemency to four people on death row for narcotics crimes and reduced their sentences to life imprisonment. These

Can people power save Indonesian democracy?

Greta Nabbs-Keller is writing a PhD at Griffith Asia Institute on the impact of democratisation on Indonesia's foreign policy. The current political climate in Jakarta, marked by a president eager to avoid upsetting powerful constituencies ahead of the 2014 elections and a notoriously corrupt

The remarkable odyssey of Norodom Sihanouk, the great survivor

The death of Norodom Sihanouk, the 'King Father' of Cambodia, in Beijing at the age of almost 90, brings to an end one of the most remarkable lives among the Asian leaders who emerged after the Second World War. Placed on the throne by the French in 1941 at the age of 19, Sihanouk initially served

Death of a survivor: Norodom Sihanouk

The news of the death of Cambodia's Norodom Sihanouk, the country's 'King Father', brings to an end one of the most remarkable lives among the Asian political leaders who emerged into prominence following the Second World War. Born in 1922, he would have turned 90 at the end of this month.

Believe in miracles: why the 2013 Malaysian elections may surprise

While I was travelling in the US recently, I was fortunate enough to speak with Sidney Jones, the International Crisis Group's senior adviser on Asia. Sidney is at the University of California in Berkeley researching, amongst other things, land disputes in Asia. Sidney has a new paper on the

The Bali Bombings, 10 years on

Today marks 10 years since the 2002 Bali bombings, Indonesia's worst terror attack, in which 202 people were killed. At memorial services, commemorations, or in private, many people will pause today to remember and reflect. In today's Australian Financial Review, I look at Indonesia's response to

Policing Indonesia police

Indonesia's fight against corruption has revealed some of the best and worst of the nation over the past week. The Indonesian police have been the 'worst', through their brazen defiance, yet again, of efforts to combat high-level corruption within their ranks. When the nation's former top

Road map to a Bangsamoro in the Philippines

Steven Rood is The Asia Foundation's country representative in the Philippines and represents the Foundation as part of the International Contact Group for the GPH-MILF negotiations.  On Sunday, 7 October, Philippine President Benigno Simeon 'Noynoy' Aquino III, in a speech telecast

Fiji is not China political football

Philippa Brant is a researcher working on China's foreign aid. Concern has arisen again over China’s relationship with Fiji after a senior government delegation visit last week. Wu Bangguo, China's second-ranked Communist Party leader, caused a stir in the Australian and New Zealand media last

The dangers of the Chinese media

Yesterday I saw myself misquoted by Xinhua, China's official news agency:  On the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue, China, as the host of the Six-Party Talks, has functioned as more than just a coordinator. Linda Jacobson, East Asia program director at the Lowy Institute for International Policy

Japan Inc talks security

One of the less commented upon elements of the present flare-up between Japan and China over the Senkaku Islands is the public criticism of Prime Minister Noda's stance on the dispute by the head of Keidanren, Japan's most influential corporate association. Hiromasa Yonekura made his critical

What if China slows?

There is a vigorous debate on the prospects for China's growth. But there is little disagreement that the 'new normal' for China is significantly slower than the 10%- growth of the past decade and that there needs to be a rebalancing over time, reducing the role of investment in driving growth. How

US rebalance losing its champions

I'm visiting the US this week as a guest of the State Department, exploring the US rebalance to Asia. Confidence that the pivot will endure abounds amongst those US experts engaged in thinking about Asia. But so it should. Consensus thus far has been that, regardless of who wins the election (

China BFFs: A string of shiny pearls

Can you name China's best regional friends in the Middle East, South Asia, Southeast Asia and the South Pacific? Here's a list that has just been expressed by Beijing: Iran, Sri Lanka, Burma and Fiji. The list is drawn from the hosts for the just-completed international lap-of-honour tour by

China carrier: Symbol of prestige

Back in November 2011 some observers argued that the deal Australia struck with Washington to allow US Marines to rotate through Darwin was not strategically significant in itself. But the way the decision was framed, in the context of Obama's visit to Australia and the announcement of the Asia

Mekong pirates brought to trial

The complex story of murder and mayhem on the Mekong River in October last year was outlined in my 9 November 2011 post. In a brutal attack on two Chinese commercial vessels close to the tri-border region of Burma, Laos and Thailand, thirteen Chinese nationals were killed. Although suspicion

Another dam on the Mekong in China

While there are continuing uncertainties as to whether a dam is going to be built on the mainstream of the Mekong at Xayaburi in Laos, Chinese authorities have just announced that the major dam at Nuozhadu on the upper reaches of the Mekong in Yunnan province has started generating electricity

McKinsey on Indonesia

The Chinese economy attracts all the attention in the Asian Century, but Indonesia is right next to us, providing opportunities that are often more accessible and less crowded out by other foreigners. Thus a new McKinsey Report on Indonesia's economy provides a counterweight to the China obsession

Don't mention ANZUS: NZ Panetta test

Robert Ayson is Director of the Centre for Strategic Studies at Victoria University, Wellington. US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta's arrival in New Zealand this morning is the surest sign of how far things have come, and how far they might go, in the strategic relationship between the two

Unleashing Indonesia potential

Arief Budiman is a principal at McKinsey & Company and Raoul Oberman is a Director. Modern Indonesia is potentially a highly attractive business proposition — and not for the reasons most people assume. The conventional wisdom is that Indonesia is the 16th largest economy in the world because

3 questions about China growth (1)

Q1. What\'s the story with Chinese growth? A. Something interesting does seem to be happening. Back in March, Wen Jiabao said China\'s growth target for 2012 was just 7.5%. That implied a sizeable change for an economy that had averaged roughly 10% growth for the past three decades and 11

Xi Jinping: A debacle, not a crisis

The Chinese Government continues to keep its citizens and the rest of the world in the dark about the health and whereabouts of China\'s leader-in-waiting, Xi Jinping, who has not been seen in public since 1 September. Yet, wild rumours about Xi\'s possible fate seem to be overblown. If Xi

Reader ripostes: The G20 and the Papuan flag

Below, Edwin Crump on Papua\'s Morning Star flag. But first, Michael Gaskin writes: Stephen Grenville has raised a really interesting point. Certainly one of the problems facing the G20 since its establishment in 1999 has been the loss of intimacy that characterises the former iterations of

US v China: Trade recipes for Asia

Asia\'s free trade future has become a contest between Chinese noodles and a US steak dinner. The chief chefs are facing off, but some of the other cooks appear in both kitchens. In the last few days, it has become possible to point to an explicit competition between US and Chinese recipes

Papua incendiary influence

Recent events have again underlined the incendiary influence of the Papua conflict in Australia-Indonesia relations. A report on the ABC\'s 7:30 program last week focused on claims that Indonesia\'s anti-terror squad, Detachment 88, was involved in the killing of Papuan independence leader

Pacific islands: It about the women

The statistics reflecting the depth of gender inequality across the Pacific are tragic, deplorable and breathtaking. Amnesty International has described the level and frequency of violence against women in the Pacific as one of the gravest human rights violations in the region. According to UN

China hype is giving way to realism

Michael Pettis is finance professor at Peking University and a senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment. Stephen Grenville calls me the leading pessimist among China watchers but I would much rather be described as a sceptic. For many years, China bulls have made a series of excited

Australia Pacific strategy (part 2)

Earlier this week I used the opportunity of the 2012 Pacific Islands Forum, now taking place in the Cook Islands, to start a blog series on Australia\'s Pacific Islands strategy. I outlined two elements that characterise Australia\'s Pacific policy. First is Australia\'s tendency to project our

China growth is still sustainable

With the  European economy deeply mired and America facing both the \'fiscal cliff\' and the need to correct its budget deficit, the world has come to depend on China continuing to grow at a reasonable pace. China\'s own forecasts are for 7.5% growth, and the IMF agrees. Overshadowing these

Is the Hong Kong tail wagging the China dog?

Edward Kus is a Research Associate in the East Asia Program at the Lowy Institute for International Policy. Beijing\'s political influence over Hong Kong is growing, but the cultural and ideological flow between Hong Kong and the mainland is not one-sided. Hong Kong ideals are slowly drifting into

America engaging China? Not always

US Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Kurt Campbell is quoted as saying that... ...\'no country has taken more trouble to engage with China\' than the US. If anything, the US had been giving China more responsibility in global affairs than it was comfortable with

Movie trailer: Return to Base

Call Kenny Loggins, because South Korea just entered the Danger Zone. This ever-so-slightly-familiar synopsis for R2B: Return to Base is courtesy of IMDB: After he performs a dangerous dare-devil stunt at an air show, South Korean Air Force pilot Tae-hun is kicked out of the elite Black Eagles

PIF week: Australia Pacific strategy (I)

Government officials, diplomats, aid officials, multilateral bankers and a handful of private sector representatives will come together with a host of non-member country representatives (including from China, Indonesia, Japan and the US) who have been hopping on and off connecting flights to

North Korea in slow-motion

The Guardian produced this video of what are, for foreign policy wonks, familiar scenes of a North Korean military parade. But the slow-mo treatment, combined with some unusual angles and audio, combine to make this a new glimpse into the Hermit kingdom, one in which a small trace of humanity

Kurt Campbell on Oz China debate

America\'s senior Asia diplomat, Kurt Campbell, made an intervention yesterday in the debate generated by Hugh White\'s The China Choice and the speech former Prime Minister Paul Keating made at the book launch. Campbell deployed a familiar straw man, saying that he wanted to \'

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