Friday 22 Nov 2019 | 09:30 | SYDNEY
What's happening on

Asia

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

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

Pages