Wednesday 13 Oct 2021 | 20:10 | SYDNEY

Asia and Pacific

Exports and China: Feeding the dragon

In my previous post I noted that, although Chinese demand can't fully substitute for weaker developed country demand, China will continue to grow in importance as an export market for the rest of emerging East Asia.  This will happen anyway as a natural result of China’s growing economic weight

China: Whip or whispers

For the Rudd Government, the implications of the confrontation with China range from the domestic danger of the David Hicks effect to the strategic prospect of White Paper retribution.  Australia obviously would like a speedy and quiet resolution that would see its arrested citizen put on a plane

Can China save Asia export model?

One hope in the rest of emerging East Asia is that the Chinese economy – now forecast to grow at more than 7% this year – might be able to substitute for lacklustre rich world demand in the next few years. Proponents of this view note that, in recent years, the change in the value of Chinese

Reader riposte: Canberra tribes

The issue of insiders, outsiders and foreigners reaches far beyond Canberra. My musings on what really moves the capital brought this response from across the Tasman from Paul Cotton: Stuart Harris was of course practically an outsider, having only limited pre-connections with DFAT. But how do

Has Fiji found its sugar daddy?

Former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Sinawatra is reportedly in Vanuatu today, seeking to meet leaders of the Melanesian Spearhead Group (Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and Fiji). In the last week, he has also been to Tonga and Fiji, where he is reported to have met with Fiji’s interim

Swine flu: Beijing freaks out

From a friend in Beijing: Having just re-entered the country I was submitted to the 'temperature gun' to the head whilst on the runway. And, the next day, a lady in a white coat and facemask turned up at my front door, gave me a thermometer and facemasks (to be worn every time I left the house

China Xinjiang problem (part 1)

Michael Clarke is a Research Fellow at the Griffith Asia Institute. He is a widely published author on Xinjiang and China’s relations with Central Asia. Xinjiang is arguably more important to China than Tibet. Xinjiang is China’s largest province, endowed with significant oil and gas

Taro Aso suit: Danke Schoen

I know Aso's government is in trouble, but isn't it a little early to start auditioning for an alternative career as a Vegas lounge act?  Photo courtesy of G8website/Ansa

A victory for Australia

Peter McCawley's post on the Indonesian presidential election outcome is titled 'A victory for Indonesia', though in his conclusion he makes a good case that it's a big win for Australia too. Of course, it's good for Australia that the politically moderate and more economically liberal candidate

A victory for Indonesia

Peter McCawley is a Visiting Fellow at the Indonesia Project, ANU, and former Dean of the ADB Institute, Tokyo. An astonishing thing has just happened in Indonesia. Early informal results point to a sweeping victory for the incumbent president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (SBY) in yesterday's

Indonesia: Populism fails...for now

Edward Aspinall is a Senior Fellow in the Department of Political and Social Change at the Australian National University and coordinating editor of Inside Indonesia magazine. The first round of Indonesia’s presidential elections will be held tomorrow. The ultimate outcome appears in little

The grand-daddy of track-two dialogues

Dr Andrew Butcher is Director of Policy and Research at the Asia New Zealand Foundation. The ASEAN-ISIS Asia Pacific Roundtable (APR) is 23 years old, and sometimes it shows. The roundtable inevitably suffers in comparison to the younger Shangri La Dialogue. It doesn’t attract the same level

After SBY

On Wednesday, Indonesians go to the polls in the first round of presidential elections. The big (maybe only) question is whether serving President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyno (SBY) will win an outright majority of the votes or whether a second round will be needed. At the moment, it looks like only one

A president for Indonesia

Peter McCawley is a Visiting Fellow at the Indonesia Project, ANU, and former Dean of the ADB Institute, Tokyo. You would hardly know it from the Australian media, but 2009 is the 'year of politics' in Indonesia. Hotly contested elections were held in April for the national and for dozens of

The US on track to the TAC

Within weeks, the US will reveal how close it is to signing ASEAN’s Treaty of Amity and Cooperation (TAC). The Secretary of State is due to head to Southeast Asia in three weeks for the annual Asia Pacific foreign ministers’ meeting hosted by ASEAN. The hints are that Clinton will either sign

Singapore dual economy

Last week I visited Singapore and was quite surprised by what I found. With Singapore in the grips of its worst ever economic downturn, I expected to see and feel a downbeat country with empty hotels and shopping promenades, property markets in free-fall and stirrings of popular disenchantment with

Obama Asia policy: In safe hands

Following Hillary Clinton’s successful first international foray – which she wisely chose to make to Asia – Kurt Campbell’s confirmation by the US Senate on 25 June as Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs in the Obama Administration is more good news for Australia

The Malcolm Fraser view

There are rich pickings in this op-ed from former Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser. Although Fraser is sometimes mocked for having become a rather squishy small-l liberal, his foreign poicy realism is apparent from the beginning of the article ('Great powers do not act as a consequence of goodwill

Radicalisation: Look at the network, not the school

Jim Della-Giacoma is the South East Asia Project Director for the International Crisis Group. Some Islamic schools have a magnetic quality for radicals in South East Asia, but this does not mean that all such institutions, teachers, and students are the problem. The relationship between the place

Burma-North Korea: Rumour and reality

Andrew Selth is a Research Fellow at the Griffith Asia Institute and author of Burma’s Armed Forces: Looking Down The Barrel. On security-related issues, Burma and North Korea are well known as information black holes. Also, both are at the centre of emotive and highly politicized debates about

Reader riposte: Europe Asia policy

Stephan Fruehling responds to Graeme Dobell post on the Asia-Europe Meeting: What has been little noticed in Australia so far is that the tone in Europe towards China in particular is changing noticeably in the last year or so. For example, this study was widely discussed in Europe, but not

Australia is Asian at the summit

A diplomatic quest that takes 14 years to reach the summit deserves a salute. So a small round of applause, please, for Australia’s achievement in getting a seat at the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM). Australia will become part of the Asian team at the 8th ASEM summit in Brussels next year. ASEM

5-minute Lowy Lunch: Nuclear Asia

The Lowy Institute's Program Director for International Security, Rory Medcalf, was yesterday's Lowy Lunch speaker, talking about nuclear deterrence and nuclear proliferation in Northeast Asia. Rory came away from a recent visit to the region with a very sobering view of this 'wicked problem'. But

Global recession hits Asia poor

Peter McCawley is a Visiting Fellow at the Indonesia Project, ANU, and former Dean of the ADB Institute, Tokyo. Two major reports on the international economy have been released in the last few days — one from the World Bank, and one by the OECD. Forecasters in these and similar

Burma dictatorship: A photo essay

Nic Dunlop is a Bangkok-based photographer and author. He is completing a photo-led project on Burma's dictatorship. See more of Nic's work here.   Armed Forces Day, March 2007. Beneath giant statues of dead Burmese kings the military parades in the new Burmese capital. 30 year old Cho

Australia-Japan: The upside of down

Last week, Andrew Shearer and I spoke to our recent report on Australia-Japan multilateral cooperation here at the Lowy Institute and at my alma mater, the Australian National University. Yesterday, the Lowy Institute also hosted a seminar on the new wave of Japanese direct investment in

USS McCain: Great White Fleet of one

The US 7th Fleet has 60 to 70 ships operating in East Asia, yet just one of them seems to be making the news of late. The USS John S McCain was involved in a collision with a Chinese submarine in waters off the Philippines earlier this month, the latest in a disturbing series of encounters

5-minute Lowy Lunch: Global Japan

My colleagues Andrew Shearer and Malcolm Cook used yesterday's Wednesday Lowy Lunch to launch their new Lowy Institute Perspective paper, Going Global: A New Australia-Japan Agenda for Multilateral Cooperation. You can listen to their presentation here, and below, I talk with Malcolm about why now

Jakarta U-turn on U-boats?

Here’s a new twist to the tale of naval modernisation in Australia’s region: a news report that South Korea’s Daewoo plans to bid to build two submarines for Indonesia. The last time there were headlines about Indonesia improving its woeful submarine force was in 2007, when the impression 

Reader riposte: China subtleties

Professor Stuart Harris from the Australian National University sees a link between my recent post on Chinese nuclear capabilities and another which questioned Peter Drysdale's proposal for Australia to conduct a China policy review: A useful and interesting post on Chinese missiles, which

Warhol didn't know the half of it

I'm old enough to remember what the world was like before the communications revolution, so I'm still occasionally astonished at what has been achieved. Case in point: about ten minutes ago I recorded a live interview with Al Jazeera English about rumours of another North Korean nuclear test. I

A review of our China policy?

Over at East Asia Forum, Peter Drysdale argues that Australia takes its good standing in China for granted, and that the Rio-Chinalco episode should lead to some deep reflection. Drysdale makes a passionate case for a top-to-bottom policy review of Australia's relationship with China: But much

Reader riposte: ASEAN sets the agenda

Kevin Rudd has found out that you might not be able to do much with ASEAN, but you can do even less without it. ASEAN realities have reshaped the Rudd bid for a broader and strong Asia Pacific organisation. That was the pivot for my column written immediately after Rudd’s Shangri La speech.

Six Parties, two illusions, one broken dream

What a difference a couple of years and a handful of nuclear tests make. Until early 2008, the Six-Party Talks were viewed by many, including our own Prime Minister, as the most promising future model for regional security cooperation. Having cajoled Pyongyang back to the table and extracted from

China-US: The missile defence dance

The release of the US National Air and Space Intelligence Center's (NASIC) annual Ballistic and Cruise Missile Threat guide (noted in today's Linkage) prompts the Federation of American Scientists' Hans Kristensen to make some comparisons between the judgments of various US intelligence agencies

Tiananmen time travel

One regular little mental exercise I engage in is to ask myself how I would explain to someone from another time some of the more surpising political changes the world has seen in recent years. What would Churchill think if you showed him a modern political map of Europe, and what would his reaction

The Asia Security Initiative blog

Today the Lowy Institute launched a major three-year Asian security project, to be funded by the MacArthur Foundation's new Asia Security Initiative (ASI). We're one of several partner institutions in what is an impressively ambitious initiative worth US$68 million. From the perspective of The

Tiananmen and democracy

'On the night of June 3rd, while sitting in my courtyard with my family, I heard intense gunfire. A tragedy to shock the world had not been averted, and was happening after all.' So wrote former Chinese Premier and Communist Party General Secretary Zhao Ziyang. Zhao had tried to prevent the

New stats: Chinese internet habits

Via Shanghaist, this is a fascinating chart about the differences between American and Chinese online activity. My guess is Australia would be close to US practises:  I recall being told in China that the early stages of the information revolution had passed China by. As a late adopter, China

The G-20 and Asia

Two announcements pertaining to the G-20 last week underlined two challenges for thinking about the recent elevation of both the G-20 and Asia: one of over-interpretation and one of definition. 1. Overinterpretation: The announcement of Pittsburgh as the host of the third G-20 leaders’ meeting

North Korea: What Gates said

The Australian's Peter Alford says US Defense Secretary Gates did what he needed to do at the Shangri-La Dialogue by declaring that America would not tolerate a nuclear North Korea. Here's what Gates said: The goal of the United States has not changed: Our goal is complete and verifiable

Final thoughts from Shangri-La

To wrap-up my reporting from the Shangri-La Dialogue, a few highlights of day two. First, a pleasant surprise: Pakistan's Secretary of Defence, Syed Athar Ali, was asked whether there was any chance of Pakistan and India cooperating in Afghanistan given their common interest in its stability. In

Asia Community: Rudd moves on

Singapore: Kevin Rudd has admitted defeat on his Asia Pacific Community and moved on to contemplate the glorious future of the Asia Pacific community. The Shangri-La speech was an excellent example of how a politician cuts his or her losses while moving on proclaiming progress. Throughout the

Shangri-La observations

The Shangri-La Dialogue, held in Singapore by the International Institute for Strategic Studies, has great value as a public forum for key figures in Asian security. Much of what they say is predictable, but question-and-answer sessions create scope for new insights, surprises and of course

Rudd at the Shangri-La Dialogue

Prime Minister Rudd’s speech to the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore last night marks a welcome evolution of his thinking on Asia-Pacific security and regional diplomatic arrangements. It was a clever speech – his best-crafted statement on foreign and security policy so far – which managed

France all but ignored in Defence White Paper

Having scrutinized France’s 2008 Defence White Paper and noted the curious paucity of mentions of the South Pacific by this sovereign power resident in that region, it was interesting to look at our own Defence White Paper for its references to France in the South Pacific. Given that

Our North Korea policy isn't working

Last year, The Interpreter hosted a debate about the future of the Six-Party Talks and how to deal with a nuclear North Korea. At the end of that debate, I expressed the worry that the future of Northeast Asia would be one with an unbowed nuclear North Korea, a failed Six-Party Talks, Japan and

North Korea: Bad news from Beijing

North Korean security scholars were invited to join a meeting of experts in Beijing a few days ago to help an international commission understand North Asian thinking on nuclear arms control. Now perhaps we know why they didn’t show up. How to solve a problem like North Korea was one of the

Conspiracies and cock-ups in Burma

Andrew Selth is a Research Fellow at the Griffith Asia Institute and author of Burma and the Threat of Invasion: Regime Fantasy or Strategic Reality? Major political developments in Burma have always encouraged conspiracy theories, and the bizarre case of an American tourist’s unauthorised

Initial take on the NORK test

I tend to resist exclusively political readings of events like this, which is to say that I assume there was some scientific or military justification for the test as well as a diplomatic one. My assumption, therefore, is that North Korea felt the technology had to be further proven after what