Category Archives: Asia

LINDSAY MURDOCH. Former Islamic cleric could be Malaysia’s kingmaker.

Unlikely election alliance between PAS and UMNO could result in the country taking a stronger Islamic direction.

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MICHAEL PASCOE. The reality of our ‘scary’ China confrontation.

Fresh on the heels of the Chinese invasion of Vanuatu that wasn’t, febrile minds have been seized by the headline-grabbing story of a Chinese navy “confrontation” with the Royal Australian Navy. The Prime Minister was quickly ready in London to assert Australia’s right … Continue reading

Posted in Asia, Defence/Security | 2 Comments

DAN MCGARRY. Want to lead in the Pacific? Try listening first

The average Australian’s conception of Pacific island nations is so limited it makes some of us wonder if they even want to understand. Our voices—and our reality—have been pointedly and repeatedly ignored in the media, and in the corridors of … Continue reading

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JOCELYN CHEY. China Watchers Are Not China Stooges.

Australia needs informed and balanced study and reporting on China more than ever before. Informed opinion depends on the ability to see both sides of the picture and to avoid over-simplification. 

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MICHAEL O’KEEFE. Response to rumours of a Chinese military base in Vanuatu speak volumes about Australian foreign policy

Rumour has it that Vanuatu has agreed to a Chinese request to establish a military base. The substance of this rumour is highly speculative at the least and disingenuous at most. Regardless of the truth, the fact that it raises … Continue reading

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RAMESH THAKUR. Substituting question marks for exclamation marks

‘Fake news’ seems unavoidably associated with Donald Trump. He insists on casting himself as the victim of fake news even as any resemblance between his compulsive tweeting and facts seems largely coincidental. Still, it seems a pity that the rumours … Continue reading

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CAVAN HOGUE. Morals, slogans and PR hype

Australian politicians and media have been beating their hairy chests accusing and warning China and Russia over their failings. One is reminded of the famous  thundering headline in The Launceston Examiner ‘We warn the Tzar of Russia’ . The question … Continue reading

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RAMESH THAKUR. All bets off on the Korea summit outcome.

CANBERRA – The pieces of the jigsaw are falling into place on the Korean Peninsula. But the overall picture — a denuclearized North Korea, a nuclear-weapon-free zone for all of Northeast Asia and/or a U.S. withdrawal from East Asia — remains … Continue reading

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JOHN TULLOH: Be careful what you say about Malaysia.

Perhaps it is time for DFAT to issue a travel advisory about Malaysia, namely be very careful what you say about the country. Uttering anything amounting to ‘fake news’ is now a criminal offence. Offenders can be fined up to … Continue reading

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FRANK JOTZO. China’s emissions trading takes steps towards big ambitions.

China’s new emissions trading scheme will start small, but comes with big potential, Frank Jotzo writes. China recently announced that it will begin to introduce a national emissions trading scheme for carbon dioxide this year. The promise for more market-oriented … Continue reading

Posted in Asia, Environment and climate, International Affairs | 1 Comment

JERRY ROBERTS. The Dalai Lama, Falun Gong and Australian Democracy.

In his 2010 book, “The Party,” Richard McGregor described the iron grip exercised by the Chinese Communist Party on its homeland. Now Clive Hamilton in “Silent Invasion” traces the tentacles of the Chinese Communist Party as it squeezes Australia’s political, … Continue reading

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PURNENDRA JAIN AND TAKESHI KOBAYASHI, LDP MEMBER. Political dynasties dominate Japan’s democracy

Hereditary political succession is not limited to monarchical and autocratic systems of government. Politicians from families that have previously occupied high office take top positions in many democratic countries. In Japan, hereditary politics show little sign of abating.

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Mapping the division of Malaysia.

Nation’s parliament set to ratify new boundaries to boost the government’s electoral prospects. 

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EAST ASIA FORUM. Moritomo scandal miseries

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has led a rollercoaster, but often charmed, political life. After being forced to resign prematurely during his first stint as prime minister in September 2007 due to a stinging July 2007 upper house election defeat … Continue reading

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ANDREW FARRAN. The ASEAN Summit – lots of hyperbole and some successes

While the ASEAN summit was a public relations success it demonstrated to all that the only common factor in the group is that they belong to the one region. If tensions with China were to increase it might not last … Continue reading

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CAVAN HOGUE. Reflections on the ASEAN-Australian Summit.

The ASEAN-Australian summit provided an opportunity for Australia to get close to countries and leaders important to us and to make a public statement to that effect. The media coverage in Australia tended to focus on human rights in Cambodia … Continue reading

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JOHN MENADUE. The ASEAN Summit in Sydney this weekend.

The meeting this weekend will highlight for Australia the importance of our relations with regional countries.  It will also highlight the importance of our relationship with the US and China, and how that rivalry can best be managed in association … Continue reading

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TIM LINDSEY and DAVE MCCRAE. Australian-Indonesia: strangers next door

At the weekend, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull will meet with President of Indonesia Joko Widodo (Jokowi) on the margins of the Australia-ASEAN Special Summit. Although Turnbull seems to have built the positive personal relationship with Jokowi that eluded Tony Abbott, managing … Continue reading

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TOYO KEIZAI. The Peace Train Leaves The Station.

Tokyo — In a flurry of developments that left experts stunned, the long-stalled Korean peace train has suddenly left the station. Sitting in the locomotive is the engineer of these events, North Korea’s young leader, Kim Jong Un. The conductor … Continue reading

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MOTOKO RICH. Japan Fears Being Left Behind by Trump’s Talks With Kim Jong-un

As recently as last fall, it was Seoul that appeared sidelined by Washington in its approach to North Korea, as President Trump made fiery threats and accused South Korea of “appeasement” for advocating dialogue. Shinzo Abe, Japan’s prime minister, was … Continue reading

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SAM BATEMAN. No need to rock the boat in the South China Sea.

In the wake of Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s visit to Washington, there has been renewed pressure for Australia to undertake assertive freedom of navigation operations (FONOPs) in the South China Sea. It has also been suggested that France and … Continue reading

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MACK WILLIAMS. North Korea: What now?”

President Trump’s positive response to Kim Jong-un’s invitation to direct talks naturally has created a swirl of media commentary and speculation.  It has served Trump’s interest to promote a sense of surprise though it probably also reflects a considerable amount … Continue reading

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Trump Is Smart to Talk to Kim Jong Un

The problem is, the United States is nowhere near ready for this kind of high-stakes diplomacy.   SUZANNE DIMAGGIO and JOEL WIT point out the risks

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DUNCAN GRAHAM Welcome Down Under, Mr President Widodo : An open letter

Later this week Indonesian leader Joko ‘Jokowi’ Widodo is expected in Sydney with other heads of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations for a ‘special summit’. The President recently told his ambassadors that while working overseas they should lift their … Continue reading

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GEOFF MILLER. The ASEAN meeting in Sydney and the Quad – same same but different.

Singapore and Australia are having to deal with the same set of problems and relationships as the strategic situation in the Asia-Pacific changes.  Singapore isn’t a contender for an expanded “Quad” but, as next year’s Chairman of ASEAN, it will … Continue reading

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ALLAN PATIENCE. Time to inject some realism into the China debate.

A rising chorus can be heard in Australia voicing fears about China’s alleged intrusions into our domestic affairs. There are disturbing echoes in all this of a narrative about a dangerous China lurking in the interstices of Australia’s society and … Continue reading

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FRANK BRENNAN. Edging closer to a just regime in the Timor Sea.

On Tuesday the governments of Timor Leste and Australia will sign a maritime boundary treaty in New York in the presence of Antonio Guterres, the Secretary General of the United Nations. This day has been a long time coming. 

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JEFFREY A. BADER. Seven things you need to know about lifting term limits for Xi Jinping

At its annual meeting beginning on March 5, the Chinese National People’s Congress appears poised to adopt a “recommendation” by the Communist Party that the two-term limit for president and vice president be eliminated. The change is of course not … Continue reading

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STEPHEN FITZGERALD AND LINDA JAKOBSON. Engaging with China does not mean being an agent of China

[A letter published in the Sydney Morning Herald on 27 February 2018] Clive Hamilton conveys a message which must be challenged, namely the insinuation that any person who engages with the Communist Party of China (CPC) should be viewed with … Continue reading

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GORDON DE BROUWER. Achieving balance in Australia’s strategic thinking

A lot has been said about the challenge that Australia and other countries in Asia and the Pacific face in balancing their security interests with the United States and economic interests with China. The need to deal systematically with this … Continue reading

Posted in Asia, International Affairs, Uncategorized | 2 Comments