Thursday 17 Sep 2020 | 08:09 | SYDNEY

Asia and Pacific

If Nicholas Burns is right...

...then hold on for a bumpy ride, Australia. The US Studies Centre at the University of Sydney has now made available audio and video of its recent 9/11 Summit, which took place a couple of weeks ago. In the context of our ongoing discussion about Australia\'s approach to China, it\'s worth

Asia is free-riding on Washington

Outgoing US Defense Secretary Bob Gates is a man with nothing to lose. In Brussels last week, he used one of the final acts of his farewell tour to publicly lash Washington\'s European allies for refusing to accept a greater share of the burden on behalf of the trans-Atlantic alliance. While

5-minute Lowy lunch: Dupont on China

Yesterday, Lowy Institute Senior Fellow Alan Dupont launched his Policy Brief, Living With the Dragon: Why Australia needs a China Strategy, with an address to Wednesday Lunch club members. You can listen to Alan\'s speech and the Q&A here, and below, a short interview covering

The debate over China strategy

The battle for Australia\'s future China policy has been rejoined today, with Lowy Institute Senior Fellow Alan Dupont launching his Policy Brief, Living With the Dragon: Why Australia needs a China Strategy. The Interpreter has debated this issue exhaustively over the last 12

My Fiji paper: A response to critics

My Policy Brief on Australian policy towards Fiji has inspired a maelstrom of misinformation. This may have come about in part because some individuals chose not to read the paper, but heard that I was critical of Australian policy for having failed to influence a return to democracy in Fiji and

Khmer Rouge tribunal problems, again

Only dedicated followers of events associated with the Khmer Rouge Tribunal (officially the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, ECCC) will have kept track of the maneuverings of the past six months in relation to the possibility of bringing additional defendants before the

Reader riposte: Burma and Libya

Neil from Burma Perspective responds to Andrew Selth\'s latest: Like many Burma activists, I am often mystified by the US treatment of Burma as compared to other countries. I also agree that the Daw Aung San Suu Kyi has played a significant role in the way Burma is both perceived and treated by

From the opposition benches

In the last term, the Coalition opposition largely ignored foreign policy, indeed Tony Abbott even argued it \'was so lame\' to get other countries involved in problems like people smuggling. This term however, they\'ve done something very unusual — conduct foreign policy from the

Asia puts chair in upright position

The world economic centre of gravity is moving from the Atlantic to the Pacific, it is said. Boeing agrees: Boeing has increased its 20-year demand projection for commercial aircraft, identifying a $4 trillion market requiring 33,500 new aircraft deliveries between 2011 and 2030... ...Of

Burma and Libya: The politics of inconsistency

Andrew Selth is a Research Fellow at the Griffith Asia Institute and author of Burma and Nuclear Proliferation: Policies and Perceptions. Lord Palmerston said nearly 200 years ago that countries have no eternal allies or perpetual enemies, only eternal and perpetual interests. Whether or not this

Interpreting the Thailand elections

Thailand\'s election is due on the 3 July. Some suggested reading: Both the Bangkok Post and the Nation offer very good coverage. In relation to the latter, articles by Kavi Chongkittavorn are always worth reading. Kavi is one of the Nation\'s senior editors and columnists and not afraid to

The Fiji dilemma (part 4)

Here are the previous columns in this Fiji series. The bluster coming from the Bainimarama regime is the sign of a deeply-worried and fraying New Order — Jenny Hayward-Jones can take comfort and kudos that she is hitting the mark when Fiji both condemns and cites her. The

Fiddling the figures: China corporate culture

Catherine Chan is an environmental lawyer and journalist in Beijing. Despite the litany of Ponzi schemes and scandals involving America\'s big banks, China still can still teach the global superpower a thing or two about how to pull a scam. Chinese companies listed on the

ASEAN: Triumph and challenge

2010 was a very good year for the concept of ASEAN centrality, and 2011 promises to be so as well. The ADMM-8 (ASEAN Defence Ministers plus those of the US, PRC, ROK, Japan, Russia, India, Australia and New Zealand) met for the first time under ASEAN auspices last year, and the US and Russia

Fiji and the art of misinformation

The Fiji Government issued a statement last week which implied that my criticism of Australian policy on Fiji was a vindication of the Fiji Government's status.  It would be generous to say that perhaps the Fiji Government had not read my Policy Brief (Policy overboard: Australia's

The Fiji dilemma (part 3)

Australia\'s tough-love approach to Fiji\'s military regime may not have achieved much. But that is no excuse for adopting a free-love policy. Whatever Australia does to engage Fiji\'s military Supremo must be guided by the reality of the regime that Frank Bainimarama is running. The true

Pacific island nations making new friends

Nic Maclellan works as a journalist and researcher in the Pacific islands. In \'Vanuatu\'s strange bedfellow\', Rodger Shanahan raises concern about possible moves by Vanuatu to recognise as states two breakaway regions of Georgia, a step already taken by Nauru in 2009. These diplomatic

The Fiji dilemma (part 2)

As it was for Suharto in Indonesia, the business and patronage dimension is vital for the longevity of Bainimarama\'s New Order. The military officers who are the foundation of the Order must be rewarded, just as those officers who resist must be squashed.  On the reward side, the

High-speed rail: China white elephant?

James Fallows sums up the hysteria about China\'s rise in this mock quote: \"I just rode the bullet train to Tianjin, and holy shit, we\'re doomed!\" China\'s high-speed rail network symbolises some of what is changing in China: it is world-class technology being rolled out at break-neck speed

Through Chinese eyes: Gui Yongtao (part 2)

An interview with Gui Yongtao, Associate Professor at Peking University\'s School of International Studies, by Peter Martin and David Cohen. Peter and David are conducting a series of interviews with Chinese thinkers, using questions submitted by Interpreter readers. Part 1 is here. Amy King at

Animal trade: Australia should muck in

Sam\'s post on animal exports yesterday echoed the sentiments of many Australians by arguing \'Surely something needs to be done in light of this new information\'. It does, but how we do it is important. The \'pure\' option is to ban the live animal trade. Unfortunately, 

Timor-Leste declares open season on the UN

Dr Gordon Peake worked on police reform in Timor-Leste from 2008 to 2011. He is now at the State, Society and Governance in Melanesia Program, ANU. These are his private views. It is open season on the United Nations Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT). In the last few weeks, the Prime

The Fiji dilemma (part 1)

Fiji\'s Supremo has to worry about his health and the continuing support of the military he commands. Not much else threatens Frank Bainimarama\'s hold on power. Bainimarama\'s one clear achievement over the last decade has been to place the military at the centre of Fiji\'s society, administration

Australia, Indonesia and the cows

Peter McCawley is a Visiting Fellow at the Indonesia Project, ANU, and former Dean of the Asia Development Bank Institute, Tokyo. He is doing consulting work in Indonesia. Seen from Jakarta, the row in Australia over meat exports to Indonesia is yet another reminder of just how

Through Chinese Eyes: Gui Yongtao Part 1

Interview with Gui Yongtao, Associate Professor at Peking University\'s School of International Studies on China-Japan relations by Peter Martin and David Cohen. They are conducting a series of interviews with reader submitted questions on behalf of The Interpreter with Chinese academics

South Korea misjudges its northern neighbour

Matt Cottee is a PhD student at King\'s College London and Visiting Fellow at the Norwegian Institute for Defence Studies. In 2009, President Obama suggested that the greatest threat to humanity was the risk of nuclear terrorism. In a post-9/11 landscape, suggestions of terrorists

Reader riposte: China aircraft carrier mystery

Charles writes: In reply to Raoul Heinrichs\' three-part piece (1,2,3) on China\'s aircraft carrier, the assertion that China\'s acquiring of an aircraft carrier is for status, or navy nationalism, doesn\'t sit right with me. By all projections, China is going to be massive by 2050:

US and Indonesia: A growing military bond

Esther Sainsbury is the Lowy Institute\'s Thawley Scholar for 2011. All views are her own, and do not reflect the opinion of the Department of Defence or the Australian Government. An Indonesian corruption watchdog has revealed more than MP travel junkets whilst examining the extensive

China speaks to Oz – about everything

The official Chinese conversation with Australia can now easily range over the problems of university administration or middle class obesity to security in Asia and the remaking of multilateral institutions. All those topics got a run on Friday when China\'s Ambassador to Australia, Chen Yuming,

The Kurils: Japan needs to move on

Dr Alexey Muraviev is Director of the Strategic Flashlight forum on National Security and Strategy at Curtin University of Technology, Perth. The 37th G-8 Summit in Deauville, France, gave Russia an opportunity to strengthen its foothold in the Pacific, and not just through a final go-ahead of

Hints of China changing values

Catherine Chan is an environmental lawyer and journalist in Beijing. China\'s property developers are admired stalwarts of one of the nation\'s biggest money-making industries, but they are also known for their lavish lifestyles and outré fashions, and are envied and criticised as some of

How to break up the IMF old boys club

Don\'t get me wrong: I\'m not arguing that a European should be the next head of the IMF. Just that realpolitik makes that outcome inevitable. Regardless of fairness, logic, the re-balanced world economy, natural justice, the moral case, past promises, or the competence of the candidates, the

China aircraft carrier mystery (part 3)

China has spent much of the past two decades trying to exploit the limitations of aircraft carriers, yet now has its own carrier program. Beijing probably doesn\'t want to challenge US sea control directly, so why is it pursuing this course? A more plausible rationale for China\'s carrier

China aircraft carrier mystery (part 2)

Having spent much of the past two decades seeking to exploit the limitations of aircraft carriers, why has China embarked on its own carrier program? The first and arguably least likely reason is that it represents the first step in an effort to challenge the US for sea control on the open ocean.

Speaking of China

Grappling with the huge questions posed by China is producing a plethora of responses from the Australian polity.  Prime Minister Gillard goes to Beijing seeking \'mutual respect\' and claiming Australia\'s right to be \'clear and robust\'. The Treasurer talks up the Asia Century being

China aircraft carrier mystery (part 1)

In the mid-1990s, China, protesting against what it perceived as a relaxation of constraints on Taiwanese independence, staged a series of military exercises in the Taiwan Strait. The US response was direct and coercive: with its credibility at stake, Washington dispatched two aircraft-carrier

Indonesian democracy in reverse

Greta Nabbs-Keller is writing a PhD at Griffith Asia Institute on the impact of democratisation on Indonesia’s foreign policy. Readers of last Friday\'s edition of The Australian may have been struck by the juxtaposition between an opinion piece by Foreign Minister, Kevin Rudd, in which he

Through Chinese eyes: Interview series

Peter Martin is a political consultant based in Beijing. Along with David Cohen, he is conducting a series of interviews on behalf of The Interpreter with Chinese academics and journalists. Next week, David Cohen and I will conduct an interview for The

Burma and WMD: Lost in translation

Andrew Selth is a Research Fellow at the Griffith Asia Institute and author of Burma and North Korea: Conventional Allies or Nuclear Partners? Over the past ten years, the public debate about Burma\'s nuclear ambitions and possible missile purchases has generated more heat than light. This is

China, we reject your rejection

Mary Fifita is the Board Research Officer at SBS and co-author of China in the Pacific: The New Banker in Town. China has reacted badly to analysis of its aid program in a Lowy Institute policy brief Fergus Hanson and I published last month.  It was however, a softer touch than the press

The East Asia Summit: From Wen to Hu

This year, Indonesia will host (probably in Bali) the first meeting of the newly expanded East Asia Summit, soon after the US, maybe for the last time, hosts APEC in Honolulu. One of the big questions is: how will the inclusion of the US and Russia in the East Asia Summit affect this

KL hearts KSA

If there is one way to endear oneself to the Saudis, it is to display Sunni Islamic solidarity in the face of external opposition. This must be the reason for Malaysia making the public offer to contribute peacekeeping troops to Bahrain in order to \'de-escalate tensions\'.  There is

Hot potatoes for Pacific trade policy

Nic Maclellan works as a journalist and researcher in the Pacific islands. For more than two decades, Australia has been promoting trade liberalisation and structural adjustment in the Pacific islands, including — in late 2009 — negotiations for the PACER-Plus trade

Stepping into the Asian Century

In the 1990s, Australia\'s leaders assured the nation it would not have to alter its society or institutions to engage with Asia. Adjust the diplomatic settings, of course, and learn the languages and ways of the region, but Australia could attend the Asian party dressed as it was. Ownership

How do we feel about Indonesia?

One line from John Quiggin\'s latest piece about Michael Wesley\'s new book jumped out at me: Australians are gradually adjusting to the idea of Indonesia as a friendly neighbor rather than a foreign threat. I would love this to be true, but the Lowy Institute\'s polling data doesn

Laos Mekong dam on hold, for now

At a Mekong River Commission (MRC) meeting on 19 April in Phnom Penh, Cambodian and Vietnamese officials recorded their Governments\' firm opposition the Xayaburi dam the Lao Government has proposed building on the Mekong\'s mainstream between Luang Prabang and Vientiane. This was followed by

Singapore elections: No going back

Michael Barr is a Senior Lecturer in International Relations at Flinders University. Singapore went to the polls on 7 May 2011 and delivered the ruling People\'s Action Party (PAP) Government its worst result since 1963, both in terms of the proportion of votes and the number of

Solving the asylum seeker problem

On Saturday came news of an agreement between Australia and Malaysia for processing asylum seekers: Malaysia has agreed to take up to 800 asylum seekers and their claims will be processed in Malaysia by the United Nations. In return Australia has agreed to take 4,000 genuine refugees who have

Five reasons Australia should wake up

My thanks to John Quiggin for plugging my new book on his blog, and apologies for taking so long to reply. John admits he hasn\'t read the book, and then takes issue with a claim on the jacket that \'the benign and comfortable world that has allowed Australia to be safe and prosperous is

Australia Indonesia policy: Lessons from China

Greta Nabbs-Keller is writing a PhD at Griffith Asia Institute on the impact of democratisation on Indonesia\'s foreign policy. For Australian policy-makers interested in ways to deepen and enhance our relationship with Indonesia, the answer is simple: emulate China! In fact, one should start

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