Saturday 20 Apr 2019 | 16:20 | SYDNEY
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Asia

Abbott sees a more liberal China ahead

Well, all glory is indeed fleeting. Having just given The Interpreter a pat on the back for our Asia coverage, I'm embarrassed to admit that we are late to Prime Minister Abbott's Asia Society speech, delivered on Tuesday to set the scene for his early-April Asia trip. The speech is trade

Anti-piracy effort marks China's rise as global power

Here's a major piece of research from the US Naval War College about China's participation in Gulf of Aden anti-piracy operations over the last four-plus years. It's from November last year but very much still worth flagging. It's incredibly thorough, covering everything from operational lessons to

Xi Jinping consolidates his control of PLA

Chinese President Xi Jinping's consolidation of power in military affairs has picked up over the past week. On Saturday state media reported that Xi is to lead a group in charge of deepening military reform. Xi already heads up similar bodies on economic reform and runs the newly established

Is India 'losing' the Bay of Bengal?

Is the Bay of Bengal the next strategic locus for Sino-Indian strategic competition? Prominent strategic commentator Raja Mohan recently lamented that India was on the point of 'losing' the Bay of Bengal to China. The occasion of his complaint was the attendance by Indian Prime Minister Manmohan

It's not size or ambition holding Australia back

Stephen Grenville has provided an instant answer to Michael Fullilove's recent quest for a larger Australia: the addition of close neighbour New Zealand. This is annexation season further afield, but I am confident the Crimea option is not what Grenville has in mind. Instead, his argument

General Hurley previews the Defence White Paper

Twenty months ago the Chief of the Defence Force delivered a speech at the Lowy Institute outlining how he thought the 2013 White Paper would be developed. Today at the University of Canberra's National Security Institute, the CDF again gave a speech foregrounding a Defence White Paper. But this

Australia-Indonesia relations: It's always personal

The men and women who operate the levers of power in Indonesia know us far better than we know them.  President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's Cabinet contains several members with tertiary degrees earned by living and studying in Australia. Among the President's trusted advisers are men who studied

Incompetence: Australia's incursions into Indonesian waters

The Joint Review of the incursions by Australian vessels into Indonesian waters conducted by the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service (ACBPS) and the Australian Defence Force (ADF) released last week reveals that the incursions were a consequence of a failure to appreciate the extent

US position hardens on China's nine-dashed line

In January 2013, senior US Navy intelligence officer Captain James Fanell described China's maritime strategy and ambitions as 'hegemonic' and aggressive, and said China 'bullies adversaries'. This unusually blunt assessment made news around the world. Sam Roggeveen, who broke the story for The

US defence budget: Hagel cuts won't be the last

Those of you who read Mike Green's post this morning and who have followed the coverage of US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel's budget bid will understand that this is not the last word on the US defence budget. Congress will try to fight some of the cuts, the sequester may impose further cuts, and as

Burma: A critical look at those chemical weapons claims

Since the 1988 pro-democracy uprising, strategic analysts monitoring developments in Burma (Myanmar) have been on quite a roller-coaster ride, particularly with regard to weapons of mass destruction (WMD). Over the past 25 years, both the former military regime and President Thein Sein's reformist

Interview: Danny Russel on the status of the US rebalance

Daniel (Danny) Russel is US Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, which means he is the State Department's senior Asia diplomat (he succeeded Kurt Campbell in the role). Russel traveled with his boss John Kerry to Jakarta early this week and then made a quick visit to

Meet Indonesia's middle class (part 3): Votes and voices

This is the third in a four-part series on Indonesia's growing middle class. Part 1 is here and Part 2 is here. In Indonesia, the word for 'vote' is the same as the word for 'voice'. The urban middle class is vocal on Twitter but said to be apathetic at the ballot box, until the right candidate

China's navy showing its inexperience on the open oceans

The US Navy has formed the view that the November 2013 incident between the American cruiser Cowpens and the Chinese carrier group arose directly from the PLA Navy's lack of experience with oceanic operations and the formal and informal rules which govern interactions between foreign navies. That's

Meet Indonesia's middle class

This is the first post in a four-part series on Indonesia's growing middle class. It's 6:15am on a Sunday morning, and waves of people are breaking over the Sudirman traffic artery in central Jakarta. Hundreds of thousands of cars traverse Sudirman through the week, slowing almost to standstill

Three notes on the State of the Union

1. The importance of Asia to America Robert Kelly's outstanding contribution on the absence of Asia from Obama's State of the Union speech deserves a brief addendum. Here's a key excerpt from Bob's post: ...in both security and economic affairs, the relationship is highly asymmetric, and those

What Peter Cosgrove thinks about Indonesia

Australia's incoming Governor-General has put many of his thoughts to paper in various publications and talks in recent years. No doubt they will be subject to close examination by commentators before he is sworn in in March.  Cosgrove has had a lot to do and say about Indonesia during the past

Is Burma really buying submarines?

For the past six months, there have been intermittent reports in the news media and on specialist websites stating that Burma (Myanmar) is developing a submarine capability. If this is true, it has important implications not only for Burma and the region, but also for the wider international

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