Wednesday 24 Jul 2019 | 09:29 | SYDNEY
What's happening on

Asia and Pacific

Decades of impressive economic growth and stability, combined with the emergence of China and India as major powers, have significantly transformed patterns of competition and cooperation within the Asia-Pacific region. The economic and strategic importance of the Asia-Pacific region, especially in this 'Asian Century', is increasing rapidly in the international arena. The Lowy Institute's diverse team of experts charts the political, strategic and economic dynamics defining the region, its importance to Australia, and its place on the global stage.

Why economics doesn't explain China's FTA decision

Malcolm Cook and I have been debating why China has been willing to bless Tony Abbott with an FTA when Mr Abbott has so strongly opposed Beijing's political and strategic interests and aspirations in Asia. Why has President Xi met Mr Abbott's stick with such a juicy carrot, especially when

Fiji grabs the limelight as leaders of China and India visit

Jenny Hayward-Jones is Director of the Lowy Institute's Melanesia Program and Philippa Brant is a Research Associate at the Lowy Institute. Pacific Island leaders have had the rare opportunity to meet the international leader of the moment, Narendra Modi, and the president of the world's

Obama on Asia: Holding the Brisbane line

America's commitment to security, dignity and prosperity in Asia, facing up to global challenges, and some strong words on climate change – President Obama's just-concluded speech in Brisbane was a hybrid package. I imagine other contributors will add context to his applause-evoking remarks on

Russia is back in the Pacific

The Russian Navy is getting closer to Australia than we're used to, and beyond the bluster of 'shirtfronting' we don't seem to have a coherent policy response to a more active Russia in our 'near abroad'. Russian Navy officers and the Slava-class cruiser Varyag. As my colleague James Brown wrote

Myanmar's big week: A backgrounder

With the ninth East Asia Summit and the the 25th ASEAN Summit being held back-to-back in Myanmar's capital, Naypyidaw, this week has been widely seen as a 'coming out' for a country that has been slowly reforming, economically and politically, after years of international isolation that ended in

Defence challenges 2035: Securing Australia's lifelines

By Rory Medcalf, Director of the Lowy Institute's International Security Program and James Brown, Military Fellow Debates on Australia's defence policy have long oscillated between two schools: one focused on the physical defence of Australia's territory and its immediate maritime approaches, the

How the East Asia Summit can achieve its potential

Asia's summit season kicks off this week with the 20th APEC 'economic leaders' meeting in Beijing. The region's political jamborees have become very cluttered of late and leaders from all of Asia's key powers may become a little tired with one another's company. After APEC they will jet to Naypyidaw

Putin flexes muscle ahead of G20

What to do if you are the leader of a former superpower about to travel to a small-ish country whose leader has promised to shirtfront you? The answer seems to be to flex a little muscle. Russian leader Vladimir Putin is in Beijing today for the APEC meeting ahead of this week's G20 Summit in

US and allies outgunned in South China Sea

Three books published this year contemplate Asia's most vexing problem. Taken together, they provide a thorough understanding of the contest in the South China Sea. Still, they leave the reader with one large puzzle. Asia's Cauldron recounts, in Robert Kaplan's readable travelogue style, the

China's overseas basing strategy

'Will China's growing global economic interests lead it to expand its overseas military presence and capabilities?' This is a question that has been asked by policymakers, academics and strategists since China's economic growth became dependent on its ability to access energy through maritime sea

Congress, midterms and the TPP

US mid-terms elections will take place on 4 November, with polls suggesting the Republicans will re-take control of the Senate. President Obama's next steps on the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), which his Administration says is the key economic plank of the rebalance to Asia, will be heavily

Four ways to look at Jokowi's new Cabinet

President Jokowi announced his first Cabinet on Sunday evening on the grounds of the State Palace, six days after his inauguration and four days after he scrubbed carefully orchestrated plans to unveil his selection of ministers at Jakarta's port. The initial announcement was delayed after Jokowi

Jokowi's maritime inaugural address

The inauguration speech of Indonesia's 7th President, Joko 'Jokowi' Widodo, was powerful despite its brevity, or perhaps because of it. It contained a striking blend of personal humility, national pride and an ethos of unremitting work. But as an analyst of Asian geopolitics, I was most struck by

Political stability first, strategic stability second

The central purpose of deploying strategic nuclear weapons on SSBNs, rather than on other less expensive and technologically demanding platforms, is to assure the survival of these weapons in order for them to conduct a second strike. The rationale is that assured retaliation will dissuade a

Modi in the US: A truly strategic partnership?

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's much anticipated and greatly feted visit to Washington has divided opinion. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, New York, 26 September 2014 (Flickr/Narendra Modi) The writer C. Raja Mohan concluded in the Indian Express that Modi and Obama had 'restored

Chinese submarine's Sri Lanka visit prompts rescue questions

Chinese submarine support ship in Colombo Port, Sri Lanka. (PLA photo.) The visit of the Chinese Type 039 'Song' class submarine to Colombo, Sri Lanka, earlier this month passed with little notice, but it's the first time one of the People's Liberation Army-Navy's (PLA-N) diesel-powered submarines

New Caledonia: Australia's benevolent disregard

Imagine that the most senior leader of one of Australia's neighbours resigns suddenly during a visit by a minister. And that this follows an election where the winners cannot agree on allocating a key economic portfolio, a street protest where two policemen are shot and a boozy lunch where a senior

Is China a realist power?

Eurasia's arc of instability is ablaze. Robert Kagan rails against America's impotence. A cartoon depicts Uncle Sam as a hapless fireman, impotent in eastern Europe and the Middle East; others see America itself as the arsonist. Henry Kissinger launches yet another book warning of chaos amid

Xi Jinping in India: Economic focus suits both sides

Prepare yourself for a glut of feeble anthropomorphic metaphors (elephants, pandas, tigers, and dragons are all anticipated) and bloviating communiqués: India-China diplomacy is underway. President Xi Jinping today begins the first Chinese visit to India since the election of Prime Minister

Japan's continuing confidence in the alliance

The views expressed here are the author's own, and do not necessarily represent those of National Institute for Defense Studies or the Japanese Ministry of Defense. I am inspired by the recent debate on The Interpreter about the trajectory of Japan's security strategy. Brad Glosserman's

Is Hillary Clinton really a foreign policy hawk?

We are in strange times indeed when a presumptive US Republican presidential candidate can hope to score political points by accusing his likely Democratic rival of being a war hawk, but this is apparently the world we inhabit in 2014. The accuser in this case was Kentucky Senator and leading

Should the US retrench from South Korea? Part 2: No

A couple of days ago I laid out the arguments for a US withdrawal from South Korea. Today, I lay out the arguments for staying. This topic is rarely discussed. In the US, the foreign policy consensus for hegemony, forged between liberal internationalists on the left and interventionist

China-Japan competition: Hugh White responds

The four excellent responses to my post on China-Japan relations all present important points about Japan's situation and its options in the face of China's growing power. Just to recap, my piece questioned whether Chinese political and military pressure on Japan in the East China Sea is as

Why is violence spiking in China's northwest?

Clive Palmer says the Chinese government shoots its own people. If he's talking about Xinjiang, he's right.  Last month saw the deadliest violence in years in the autonomous region, which has a sizeable Uyghur Muslim population. A knife attack in Yarkand on July 28 saw 100 deaths, including a

Should the US retrench from South Korea? Yes

Over at War on the Rocks, Christopher Lee (a former officer in the US Forces Korea [USFK]) and Tom Nichols (of the US Naval War College) have gotten into a useful debate on whether US forces should remain in Korea. This issue is not widely discussed, which is surprising given the end of the Cold

What sort of power does Japan want to be?

Hugh White graciously flags my assessment of Japan as he tries to make sense of Chinese policy toward Tokyo. He is right: my 'analysis does lend support to the idea that Japan would accept a subordinate status in a Chinese-led Asia.' I wouldn't reach that conclusion, however. Nor for that matter

What Beijing fears most: Intra-Asian balancing

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a rising China, in possession of a modernising military, must be in want of a non-militarised Japan. So is Beijing being foolish by acting assertively in the East China Sea, thereby helping to fuel Japan's evolution into a full-fledged military rival

China's strategy to sow distrust of Japan

Promoting mutual distrust in the Asia Pacific now appears central to Chinese strategy. As Hugh White has argued persuasively, China seeks greater influence in Asia through weakening the faith of America's regional allies and partners in US resolve to remain engaged in the region. This will be

Relax, Korea is not drifting toward China

Perhaps inspired by the centenary of World War I, this year has provoked a lot of clamouring about shifting security in Northeast Asia. The general vibe is that Japan's Article 9 're-interpretation' reflects a looming Sino-Japanese conflict, and that Xi Jinping's trip to South Korea is pulling Seoul

Pages