Sunday 14 Aug 2022 | 15:46 | SYDNEY

Asia and Pacific

Maritime linkage

Justin Jones is Navy Fellow at the Lowy Institute and is the maritime adviser to the MacArthur Foundation Lowy Institute Asia Security Project. A third round of naval exercises involving the US and South Korean navies will take place west of the Korean peninsula. The location is sure

NZ White Paper echoes Australian anxieties

Dr Andrew Butcher is Director of Policy and Research at the Asia New Zealand Foundation. As Justin Jones has noted, the long-awaited (over a decade since the last) and somewhat delayed New Zealand Defence White Paper 2010 was released this morning. Apparently we will not have to wait as

Kiwi Defence White Paper launched

Justin Jones is Navy Fellow at the Lowy Institute and is the maritime adviser to the MacArthur Foundation Lowy Institute Asia Security Project. New Zealand's first Defence White Paper in 13 years was launched this morning by Prime Minister John Key and Minister for Defence Wayne

That Chinese professor ad, recut

Last week I posted an American political advertisement by the lobby group 'Citizens Against Government Waste', made for the US midterm elections and indulging in some rather paranoid anti-China sentiment (read here if you're interested in how the Chinese view the US midterms

Hun Sen says enough is enough

Repeating his earlier opposition to expanding the list of defendants to be brought before the Khmer Rouge Tribunal, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen has now told the visiting UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, that he will not allow the projected additional indictments of alleged senior

Notes on the Silk Road: Kashgar

Raffaello Pantucci is a Visiting Scholar at the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences. Photos by Sue Anne Tay, a freelance photographer in Shanghai; see more of her work at Shanghai Street Stories. In contrast to Urumqi, Kashgar is a distinctly non-Han Chinese city. While Chinese

Indonesia: The fruits of democracy

It was mildly startling this morning to hear the Indonesian Foreign Minister talk in these terms about Burma: MARTY NATALEGAWA: We are to have the election soon in Myanmar. There is a perception of credibility deficit there. But it's not too late we think to ensure that the election does

Notes on the Silk Road: Urumqi

Raffaello Pantucci is a Visiting Scholar at the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences. Photos by Sue Anne Tay, a freelance photographer in Shanghai; see more of her work at Shanghai Street Stories. Made infamous by riots in July 2009, when Han Chinese and Uighur mobs started

What music from Asia\ concert?

The convening of the East Asia Summit (EAS) in Hanoi next Saturday ranks as a substantial ASEAN achievement. With the US and Russia as new members, the EAS gives Asia the venue and the membership for its concert of powers. That concert has been assembled not by the big players but by a bunch of

China: High-speed train to the future

Yesterday a colleague passed me this factoid, but without a source: If things go as planned, by 2013, China will have more kilometres of track in operation for high speed rail than the rest of the world combined. I was sceptical at first, because high speed rail (HSR) coverage is quite

Can China still plead poverty?

Gideon Rachman has an interesting piece in the FT arguing that now China is sitting on more than US$2.5 trillion of foreign exchange reserves (actually US$2.65 trillion as of end-September) and has become the world's largest exporter and second largest economy, it's time for Beijing to

Crunch time on the Mekong

A thorough environmental assessment has called into question plans for the construction of dams on the Mekong River, plans which are backed by the Lao and Cambodian governments. On 15 October the Mekong River Commission (MRC) released the Final Report on the Strategic

China-DPRK: As close as ever

If, as expected, Xi Jinping (pictured) replaces Hu Jintao as China's leader in 2012, let's hope this partisan story out of South Korea is wrong. The Lee Myung-bak Government certainly seems to think it is incorrect. The story claims that Xi sees Japan and South Korea as the 'disrupters of

China\ whopping clean energy plans

Some jaw-dropping figures in this FT story about China's clean energy plans. The highlights:  '...officials have aired a goal of a 40-45 per cent cut in carbon intensity by 2020, and the new five-year plan will reinforce that with an interim target.' 'The new energy investment plan

What the UK defence cuts mean for us

Prime Minister David Cameron has announced some pretty savage cuts to the UK defence budget overnight. The Guardian has collected the documentation here, and here's the BBC's summary of the major points. Some implications for Australia and the Asia Pacific region come to mind:  

US realists lose their way in SE Asia

Greta Nabbs-Keller is writing a PhD at Griffith Asia Institute on the impact of democratisation on Indonesia's foreign policy. Judging by the recent work of some US realists, you would think Southeast Asia has no previous experience in dealing with a powerful China, and that China's Southeast

Nobel Prize shames China, but will that matter?

Danielle Celermajer is Director of the Masters of Human Rights program at Sydney University. It would be easy to join the throng of commentators slamming China for the human rights violations against which Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo has been protesting, for the human rights violation of

Taiwan-PRC relations: Familiarity, meet contempt

Peter Martin lives and studies in Taipei and blogs at As I said in my previous post, the sense of social distance between Taiwanese and mainland Chinese people seems to actually be growing as cross-Strait integration continues. This owes a great deal to the very process

Taiwan-PRC relations: Closer, in theory

Peter Martin lives and studies in Taipei and blogs at One of the tenets of liberal international relations theory is that contact between societies brings them closer together and thus reduces the chances of conflict. Certainly, the Chinese Communist Party believes this to

France and the undersea continental shelf

Nic Maclellan works as a journalist and researcher in the Pacific islands. In Law of the sea: can readers help', Julian asked whether China was 'merely following the bad example of other powers' by seeking to claim rights over blue water beyond the normal 200nm Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).

Asian sweatshops on The Simpsons

According to TDW, the episode featuring this title sequence was screened in the US just last night. Notice the sting in the tail — the sweatshop is actually in the bowels of the company that produces The Simpsons, Twentieth Century Fox.  Making fun of Fox is actually a

Anarchy at sea

Regarding the recent discussion on the law of the sea, here are a few comments which cover some specific questions from Julian's email, which started the thread. (By the way, the title of this post is taken from an interesting essay by William Langewiesche). There are a

Reader ripostes: Law of the Sea

Two responses here to the questions about the law of the sea and China's claims on the South China Sea, posed yesterday by reader Julian. First, a brief note from Sam Bateman, who has written extensively on defence and maritime issues: There is much misunderstanding on this,

Law of the sea 101

Caitlyn Antrim is Executive Director of the Rule of Law Committee for the Oceans. This post is a response to Julian's query about China, the South China Sea and the Law of the Sea. I'll try to respond to several items in your reader's question. I apologise for the length

China: Is party giving way to government?

Geoff Miller is a former Director-General of the Office of National Assessments. The SMH reports striking remarks by Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao in an interview with CNN's Fareed Zakaria on 3 October (video above). He is reported as saying: I believe I and all the Chinese

China\ navy: Slow and steady

Rowan Callick, Asia-Pacific Editor for The Australian, says 'China has made its move'. Callick's summary of recent Chinese economic and diplomatic gambits is well worth your time. In fact, if you've missed The Interpreter's debate about Hugh White's Quarterly Essay and feel you'

To find a Beijing Bismarck

Oh, for that long gone unipolar moment when all we had to worry about was that the US might be just too powerful for its own good. Just before the US rolled into Iraq, I recall hearing one of Canberra's defence gurus opine that he wanted the US to win, but not too easily. About the same time,

The RMB appreciation mystery

Further to my earlier post, one aspect of the RMB debate which has always puzzled me is the argument by some supporters of Beijing's stance that moving on the currency would make no real difference to China. If that's right, then Beijing's often repeated determination not to allow exchange

Currency wars

So, according to Brazil's Finance Minister, we are in the midst of an international currency war. Some observers worry that trade wars will now follow. Well, I did say that exchange rate policy was going to be a major theme this year. As well as the ongoing crisis 

Naval exercises sooth tensions

After a rocky patch, defence relations between China and Australia are back on track in a tangible way, with parallel bilateral naval exercises off the Chinese and Australian coasts. One of these even included some gunnery — a far cry from the minimalist search-and-rescue training

Understanding China\ secret world

I'm reading Richard McGregor's The Party: The Secret World of China's Communist Rulers, and based on the first half of the book, I couldn't recommend it more highly. One feature I really like is McGregor's regular use of parallels to make the unfamiliar seem familiar. This sort of thing might

China-Japan fishing boat incident drags on

Andy Forrest is a Lowy Institute intern. He recently completed his PhD thesis on Chinese perceptions of Japan's security strategy. It is only natural to worry when there is a coincident increase in nationalistic sentiments in China and Japan. This is precisely what has occurred in recent

Public diplomacy: Means and ends

I read Annmaree O'Keeffe and Alex Oliver's report (which Richard Grant has recently blogged on) with great interest. My own career has been shaped greatly by public diplomacy (I received a full scholarship to study in Japan) and I had the pleasure of watching my first ever Wallabies game in

Beijing\ unwanted spat with Tokyo

Yan Xu is a graduate student from the Department of International Relations, Tsinghua University in Beijing. He is an intern at the Lowy Institute. For some China watchers, the recent spat between China and Japan over a boat collision near the Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands serves as a fresh

Does Aceh want Shariah?

Aaron Connelly is a Fulbright scholar and visiting fellow at CSIS, Jakarta. He visited Banda Aceh for The Interpreter; earlier posts here, here, here, here and here. Last September the Aceh Provincial Legislature, sitting in a lame duck session, shocked the world, its compatriots and its own

Maintaining our nuclear edge

Richard Broinowski is right when he argues that a debate on Australia's energy future should examine the hazards as well as the advantages of nuclear technology and the comparative costs of nuclear versus other low-emission technologies. None of the informed commentary on this matter suggests

China trawling for trouble

Andy Forrest is a Lowy Institute intern. He recently completed his PhD thesis on Chinese perceptions of Japan's security strategy. Last week's collision between a Chinese fishing trawler and a Japanese patrol boat has triggered a new round of diplomatic jousting between China and Japan.&

Inchon: An anniversary and a signal

With all the maritime tensions in North Asia lately, it would have been good if more of the Australian media had picked up on an important move in Canberra's defence diplomacy in that region — although at least this ABC television report was nicely done. Yesterday, the

Timor\ land law: The \'monster\' in the room?

Cillian Nolan is the International Crisis Group's Dili-based analyst. Eight years after independence, there is still no way to legally buy, sell, or prove undisputed ownership of land in Timor-Leste. When Timor-Leste's Vice Prime Minister Mario Carrascalão quit last week, his

On yer bike: The new China cycle

Back in February, I had a post that tried to think about what a world economy with a greater role for China might look like. This piece by Geoff Dyer in the FT does something similar, using the deepening economic relationship between China and Brazil to illustrate his point. 

China: Kiss or kick

Australia's choices about China will obviously be shaped by the ratio of kiss-to-kick that emanates from Beijing. Canberra has had its share of bruises recently, but also plenty of bouquets. China would love to be able to treat Australia as a special or model relationship, with Beijing setting both

No need for Pacific panic

As the Gillard Government is sworn in today in Canberra, there will be no Parliamentary Secretary for International Development Assistance or Parliamentary Secretary for Pacific Island Affairs, two positions ably filled in the last government by Bob McMullan and Duncan Kerr. While this might

Real deal: China\ anti-piracy patrols

Justin Jones is Navy Fellow at the Lowy Institute and is the maritime adviser to the MacArthur Foundation Lowy Institute Asia Security Project. The recent flurry of commentary regarding China's rise and shifting power relativities in the Asia Pacific, led by the Lowy Institute's Power and

Indonesia: Size vs capability

Michael Wesley's recent posts regarding the future of Australia's security and defence policy in the face of an economically and militarily developed Indonesia deserve greater attention, and he is spot-on in looking at the second order effects of a more assertive China. I would,

Top Gunners: Navy firepower and China

Previous posts in this series were on Canberra measuring China's rise, China lessons from the Rudd era and a review of Hugh White’s Quarterly Essay.  Television seeks high drama and vivid pictures, not to explain high strategy. So it was that Channel 9's 60 Minutes presented

China\ domestic terrorism problem

Raffaello Pantucci is a Visiting Scholar at the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, where he is working on an EU-funded project on EU-China relations. Recently there was a bombing in Aksu, a predominantly Uighur city in China's Xinjiang province. The world's media leapt on the story, eager

India on front foot in East Asia

Does art imitate life or does life imitate journalism' Two weeks ago, The Economist trumpeted a looming China-India rivalry as its cover story. One week ago, a series of fresh tensions arose in the China-India relationship. Today I have tried to make sense of some of this in an opinion piece 

China: Lessons from the Rudd era

For Australia, China has shifted from key bilateral relationship to the regional paramount power, and shapes as a system-level game changer. Kevin Rudd's term offered some markers for the movement in Canberra's China perspective. The Rudd experience of China was notable because his predecessor,

Australia, Sweden of the Pacific

Michael Wesley's two most recent posts have rearranged my mental furniture a little. It simply had never occurred to me that the US and Australia could wind up competing for influence in Indonesia, and that Australia might be on the losing side of such a competition. I agree with Malcolm

Chinese navy in Vanuatu

There was a bit of interest recently when the foundation stone was laid on the Chinese funded military HQ in East Timor.  Reader Rod has sent in some photos of another example of Chinese military diplomacy — this time, a port visit to Vanuatu last weekend.