Wednesday 13 Nov 2019 | 17:45 | 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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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