Tuesday 20 Aug 2019 | 12:51 | SYDNEY
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Asia

Fiji: An election in 2014 and Bainimarama will stand

In what may be the clearest sign yet that Fiji Prime Minister Commodore Frank Bainimarama (pictured) intends to make good on his promise to hold elections in 2014, he has announced that he will resign as head of the military on 28 February and stand for election. Bainimarama has promised that his

New year, old quarrels in China-Japan relations

Sino-Japanese relations got off to a rocky start in January.  Chinese Ambassador to the UK Liu Xiaoming kicked off a tit for tat diplomatic spat on the first day of the year. In the first paragraph of an op-ed published in The Telegraph, Liu likened Japanese militarism to Lord Voldemort, of

A bloody weekend in Bangkok

The week-long 'Shutdown Bangkok' campaign turned violent over the weekend, with two attacks marring otherwise peaceful protests. A grenade attack on protesters near the historic Victory Monument on Sunday wounded 28 people. While on Friday, at Banthat Thong Road, another grenade attack wounded 35

Syria: Is Assad the solution?

As Syria stumbles into its third year of conflict, President Assad continues to bank on his belief that the longer he remains in power, the more likely that the opposition will be seen as a combination of Islamists, carpetbaggers, proxies and miscreants, and that the West will somehow reluctantly

A regional uranium enrichment centre in Australia?

It may seem anomalous that Australia, with a third of the world's uranium reserves, does not have a uranium enrichment industry to value-add on uranium exports.  This was seriously considered in the 1970s, when a consortium of four major Australian resource companies conducted an enrichment

What the Khobragade row means for US-India relations

It's been 17 years since the US and India last engaged in tit-for-tat diplomatic expulsions. That was in 1997,  when Delhi kicked out two US intelligence officials (one, reportedly, the CIA’s Deputy Head of Station) and the US responded in kind. One has to go back much further, to 1981, for the

Reader riposte: More on the limits of Chinese naval power

Alexander Luck writes: Richard Broinowski may want to check a few of his facts. The J-15 inflight refueling system is meant to provide more fuel to other aircraft, not to the plane carrying it, unlike an ordinary drop-tank. It will therefore enable these aircraft to take off with heavier

No circuit breaker in sight in East China Sea

In my concluding thoughts on a report compiling four workshop papers about tensions in the East China Sea, published by the Lowy Institute on 7 January, I note that it is impossible to predict the consequences of the vicious tit-for-tat cycle which Beijing and Tokyo have fallen into over the past 16

Phnom Penh violence: A turning point for Cambodia?

It's too early to say whether the violence resulting in at least four deaths that occurred in Phnom Penh on 3 January, as police and military dispersed protesters in the city's 'Freedom Park', represents a turning point in the long stand-off that has followed last July's disputed national elections

Spying on Kristiani Herawati: A loss of judgement

The Weekend Australian carried a ‘well-sourced’ article defending our listening in on Kristiani Herawati, Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's wife. Quoting the usual ‘well-connected insider who asked not to be named’, it argues that she was a legitimate target because she was

The purge: What happened in North Korea?

This isn't the first time I've highlighted the views of North Korea analyst BR Myers. I haven't read his book, The Cleanest Race: How North Koreans See Themselves and Why It Matters, but the many interviews with and articles about Myers' work have brought home to me how inadequate the conventional

Australia-Indonesia relations: How bad is it?

At the beginning of last week it appeared that the row with Indonesia over intelligence issues had quietened down. Prime Minister Abbott had sent what was doubtless a carefully drafted letter to President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. The welcome indications, after a day or so, were that SBY felt the

Reading Abe's national security strategy

On 17 December the Japanese government issued three national security documents: the first-ever National Security Strategy (which explains overall foreign policy strategy), the National Defense Program Outline, and the Mid-term Defense Plan (which together describe military strategy and force

Jokowi marches on in Indonesia's polls

Two recent reputable public opinion polls in Indonesia provide further confirmation of the rise of Joko Widodo (known as Jokowi) as the clear front runner for next year's presidential elections. From his original position as mayor of Solo — a city of around 550,000 people — Jokowi has captured

Can China win by opting out?

[youtube:VQDtWzqQSks#t=28] There's so much discussion out there about China's rise, its territorial quarrels with neighbours and the risk (some would say inevitability) of eventual conflict between the great powers that we rarely step back to think outside the terms of this power struggle. What if

Australia-PNG: A partnership of equals

Australia and Papua New Guinea enjoy a special relationship – one of mutual affection, shared history and shared geography. Today, as they have for more than two decades, ministers will meet at the Australia-PNG Ministerial Forum to build even closer ties for the years ahead. The Australia-

India: Domestic influences handicap foreign policy

As in nearly any democratic country, India’s domestic politics has long been understood to play an important role in influencing foreign policy. This has been an especially pronounced dynamic in recent years. In 2008, the Singh Government was shaken by a close no-confidence vote over the US-

India's civil-military dysfunction

Various Indian newspapers have reported that Indian Defence Miniser AK Anthony has written to all the country's political parties requesting their opinions on the creation of a long-mooted Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) post for the armed forces.  This might appear to be an arcane point of

An uneasy and uncertain calm in Bangkok

An uncertain calm has descended on Bangkok. This follows more than a week of increasingly violent protests in what has marked another chapter in the long-running saga of the Shinawatra family's rule. The calm began when embattled Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra instructed the security services

New Caledonia wrestles with its future

In October, the New Caledonian Committee of Signatories to the Noumea Accord quietly released a document which will have important consequences for Australia and the South Pacific region. At first glimpse, the discussion paper, Reflexions sur l'avenir institutional, would be easy for those

US should resist China's ADIZ, but...

Commenting on Paul Keating’s speech about China’s strategic responsibilities in Asia, Michael Green asks how, under my model of an Asian concert of powers, America should respond to China’s Air Defence Identification Zone (ADIZ). It is a good question. China’s move is a clear attempt use

Indian media's cautious optimism on General Sharif

The last time Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif successfully appointed a new chief of army, that chief — General Pervez Musharraf — started the Kargil war against India less than six months later. That's why Delhi was watching with interest as Pakistani General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani handed

Reader riposte: China is not seeking to dominate

Kien Choong writes: I wonder if Crispin Rovere speaks authoritatively as an expert in Chinese history or is simply pontificating. My modest understanding of Chinese history is that China has rarely been militarily dominant outside its borders, with much of its history trying to keep the '

When Aung San Suu Kyi comes to call

At one level, Aung San Suu Kyi’s visit to Australia last week was all high praise, inspiring speeches and standing ovations. At another level, it was hard-headed politics, diplomatic signals and muted criticisms. At times, history was simplified or re-written to suit the occasion. In other words,

Australia-Japan: Abbott uses the 'A' word

I am happy to fess up for making quite a lot of noise about Tony Abbott's depiction of Japan as Australia's 'best friend' in Asia. And I have to admit that there are comments from leading figures in previous governments which are not a million miles far from that lofty mark. For example, during

Keating prescriptions not part of Beijing's script

In his speech to the 21st Century Council in Beijing, former prime minister Paul Keating has once again demonstrated his adroit perception for the nature of these times and the direction of our century. If Keating’s prescriptions are adopted by China, we may all look forward to a more peaceful

Bangkok protest latest instalment in long-running crisis

The current street demonstrations in Bangkok are best understood as a continuation of a political upheaval dating back to 2006 and the ousting of the elected caretaker government of Thaksin Shinawatra by an army coup. Subsequent events, most notably the Yellow Shirt occupation of Bangkok's airports

Chinese footprints on the Moon

China has launched its first spacecraft bound for the surface of the Moon. The Chang'e-3 mission will deploy a rover and conduct astronomical observations.This will be the first spacecraft from any nation to land on the Moon since 1976, breaking a long drought of touchdowns. The mission is also

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