Friday 20 Sep 2019 | 18:24 | SYDNEY
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Asia

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

Hope for expanded Australia-PNG links

While the Australia-Papua New Guinea relationship is currently strong, we need only look at the Indonesia spy scandal to understand how vulnerable Australia’s official relationships in the neighbourhood are to shocks. The Australia-PNG relationship went through its own difficulties during the era

Vietnam's foreign policy: Fewer enemies, more friends

Amid Vietnam's domestic volatility, there has been much foreign policy manoeuvring. In October, an agreement was reached with China to establish a working group on maritime disputes, and earlier this month, Vietnam signed 17 separate agreements on military and economic ties with Russia while

Keating speech exposes 'China Choice' flaws

I have been trying to understand how it is that Australia is the only US ally in Asia where former heads of state embrace the thesis that the US must gracefully surrender primacy in the Asia Pacific and seek accommodation with Beijing. No former prime minister of Japan (not even the loopy Yukio

ADIZ: Australia right to speak plainly

Julie Bishop’s deliberate move to make plain Australia’s view on China’s Air Defence Identification Zone (ADIZ) in the East China Sea can be interpreted in two ways. Rob Ayson thinks it’s a blunder in which Australia is needlessly provoking China and presenting itself as part of a

India's stake in the Iran nuclear deal

India has been a helpless, hapless bystander to the Iranian nuclear dispute for the past ten years. Unlike, say, Turkey, India has played no part in the various rounds of negotiation with Iran. It has watched as its substantial oil imports from Iran have shrunk under pressure from sanctions, and

China's Peace Ark: For the record

With its sudden announcement of an unorthodox aerial ‘defence identification’ zone, along with its aircraft carrier’s first voyage into the South China Sea, China continues to send troubling signals about its strategic intentions in Asia. From a Chinese national interest point of view, this

Reader riposte: In defence of China's air-defence zone

Michael Li responds to Jerry Nockles' article: The claim that the greatest danger of China's rise is miscalculation is correct, but surely the creation of an air defence identification zone (ADIZ) adds, rather than subtracts, the transparency that is necessary to build up a mutually acceptable

Riyadh's annus horribilis

As 2013 comes to a close, Saudi Arabia should be concerned that it is increasingly being seen as an observer of events that threaten to re-shape the region in ways that will weaken its standing. I am currently in Lebanon and the feeling of disappointment with Saudi Arabian leadership of the Arab

Indonesia's strange, promising 'code of ethics' gambit

Responding to Prime Minister Abbott's letter on the spying controversy on Tuesday, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono floated the idea of a 'code of ethics' to set the bilateral relationship on a new footing. SBY gave very few details of what such a code would contain, though presumably it would

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