Wednesday 02 Dec 2020 | 14:35 | SYDNEY
What's happening on
  • 2 Dec 2020 12:00

    India’s farmers take on Modi

    The tactics that have allowed the Modi government to enforce unpopular new laws may not work this time.

  • 2 Dec 2020 10:00

    Al-Qaeda: The core problem

    The killing of senior terrorist Abu Mohammed al-Masri on a Tehran street raises questions about al-Qaeda’s ties to Iran.

  • 2 Dec 2020 06:00

    A false start for PNG-Bougainville consultations

    The post-referendum process stalled after a delegation arrived in Port Moresby, only to have the meeting cancelled.

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.

Cyber espionage: China at the forefront

James Lewis is Director of the Technology and Public Policy Program at CSIS, Washington, DC. This is the fourth of a five-part series on Asia in the age of cyber threats. Part 1; part 2; part 3. China may be the leading practitioner (although by no means the only one) of economic espionage in

Netizens a new force in China politics

James Lewis is Director of the Technology and Public Policy Program at CSIS, Washington, DC. This is the third of a five-part series on Asia in the age of cyber threats. Part 1 here; part 2 here. While we should avoid overstating the internet's effect in places like Egypt or Tunisia, the internet

Indonesia's next president: A form guide

Gary Hogan was the first foreigner to graduate from Indonesia's Institute of National Governance (Lemhannas) and was Australia's Defence Attaché to Indonesia from 2009 to 2012. For over eight years, Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has cut a large and impressive figure on the world

PNG plans military build-up, but why?

Donald Gumbis is a Lecturer in political science at the University of Goroka and an intern at the Lowy Institute. Papua New Guinea's Defence Minister Dr Fabian Pok has announced that PNG plans to build up its military capacity from around 2000 personnel to 10,000. While it is hardly unusual

North Korea's third N test: What does it mean?

John Carlson is a Visiting Fellow at the Lowy Institute and the former Director-General of the Australian Safeguards and Non-proliferation Office. From seismic analysis, it appears North Korea's latest nuclear test had a yield of 6 to 7 kilotons (thousand tons of TNT). This is larger than the

China-DPRK: Different this time?

The regime in Pyongyang has tested a third nuclear device and the depressing diplomatic ritual has begun again. The liturgy is familiar: the threat, the ineffective warnings, the big event, the brief uncertainty about what happened, the regime's confirmatory boast, the international outrage, the

'Mutual denial' may not change very much

Stephan Fruehling is a Senior Lecturer in the Strategic and Defence Studies Program, ANU. Sam Roggeveen's post on whether 'mutual denial' can work raises an important point about the future strategic relationship between the US and its allies, and China. 'Mutual denial' is useful as a slogan to

Barry Wain, 17 July 1944 — 5 February 2013

John Funston is a Visiting Fellow at the College of Asia & the Pacific, ANU. Michael Montesano is a Visiting Research Fellow at the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, Singapore. Barry Wain, as several tributes have noted, was the doyen of Australian journalists in Asia. The Queenslander's

US-China: Can mutual denial work?

Thanks to all the blogs and news sites that picked up on what I described as the 'bracing' commentary by a senior US naval intelligence officer about China's naval capabilities and ambitions. I notice that strategist Thomas Barnett has commented on the video too, though his interest was in

Friday funny: Punxatawny in the Pacific

It's the twentieth anniversary of one of the most beloved and critically acclaimed films of my lifetime, Groundhog Day. And given Malcolm Cook's post today about the sudden cold snap in China-Japan relations, this seems like the right clip. Enjoy your weekend

Japan-China: A winter's tale

During the Koizumi prime ministership, China depicted Japan-China relations as 'politics cold, economy hot', with Japanese FDI inflows into China a key warming agent. Liberal optimists have repeatedly represented this situation as inherently moderating (Sam's brief response to Raoul Heinrichs 

The economics of Japan-China tension

One line of Raoul Heinrichs' analysis of the increasing maritime tension and military competition in Northeast Asia that jumped out at me was his claim about the effects of economic integration (my emphasis): Virulent forms of nationalism are increasingly finding expression in the form of

More on 'Frank Gehry diplomacy'

Alan Davies, who writes Crikey's invaluable The Urbanist blog, has responded to my musings on Hillary Clinton's call for 'a new architecture for the world, more Frank Gehry than formal Greek.' I thought this analogy raised a number of questions about the new diplomatic architecture now operating

China at sea: Wake up, Australia!

For Australia, the principal threat posed by the growth of China's military power is not yet to its direct strategic interests but rather to the US-led order from which much of Australia's security derives. As China's ongoing accumulation of advanced air, maritime and surveillance capabilities

China's navy: Urgent need for new mindset

Rear Admiral (Ret'd) James Goldrick AO CSC is a Visiting Fellow at the Lowy Institute. Despite the harsh language about China's maritime strategy and ambitions identified in Sam's post, the session of the US Naval Institute's recent conference which Sam wrote about identifies a number of key

Blunt words on China from US Navy

  In the context of yesterday's article in The Australian that China was being invited to America's biggest annual Pacific naval exercise, RIMPAC (which wasn't really news), it is useful to be reminded of the climate of wariness and mistrust in which such invitations are extended. 

China's domestic focus creates dangers

In this short video I talk with East Asia Program Director Linda Jakobson about the conclusions of her new Analysis paper, launched today, China's Foreign Policy Dilemma. As part of her research, Linda, who lived in China for twenty years before moving to Sydney to join the Lowy Institute, 

China's foreign policy dilemma

Therefore Chinese foreign policy can be expected to be reactive. This may have serious consequences because of the potentially explosive nature of two of China's most pressing foreign policy challenges: how to decrease tensions with Japan and with Southeast Asian states over diverse territorial

Singapore Government loses control of narrative

Dr Michael Barr is a Senior Lecturer at Flinders University and Editor-in-Chief, Asian Studies Review. Last weekend's by-election in Singapore has inflicted the fourth electoral blow in a row to the ruling People's Action Party. The PAP had already lost six seats to the opposition in the

Reader riposte: China training Cambodian army?

Chris Williams writes: I need to challenge your China linkage reporter for 29 January for drawing the headline directly from the Bangkok Post source article, 'China will train the Cambodian army, a move likely to rattle its ASEAN neighbours'. The headline was intended to cater to an internal

Documentary trailer: The Act of Killing

I'm sorry to spring this disturbing trailer on readers as you wind down for the weekend (a long weekend in Australia), but this film looks too astonishing not to share. Here's part of the synopsis: When Sukarno was overthrown by Suharto following the tragic 30 September Movement in 1965,

Sydney's new airport: A nod to Asia?

One of my favourite online distractions, ArchDaily, yesterday posted a photo spread on Gibraltar's glorious new airport. This got me thinking about the two-decade debate over a second Sydney airport, which everyone except the owners of the existing airport seems to agree is necessary. Problem is,

Xayaburi Dam's domino effect?

There is increasing concern among commentators charting the Mekong's future that the Lao Government's decision to proceed with the construction of a dam on the mainstream of the Mekong at Xayaburi could lead to other dams being constructed on the river. While some of the evidence about plans

China's demographic turning point

Back in mid-2010, I wrote a lengthy post looking at the possible link between labour unrest in China and the so-called 'Lewisian turning point'. Last week, we got another critical data point on China's demographic profile when the country's National Bureau of Statistics announced that China's

Unfriending: Japanese public opinion on China

Matthew Linley is an Assistant Professor at Temple University, Japan. The past few months have seen a number of problems in the Japan-China relationship. Numerous commentators cite the dispute over the Senkaku Islands and the re-election of Shinzo Abe as prime minister as reasons to predict a

Reader riposte: The China narrative

Chris Williams writes on one of the items in yesterday's China Linkage: Dirk van der Kley's China linkage is commendable to provide a clearer perspective to geopolitical changes in North Asia, as they impact on Australia's sphere of influence. I valued Christopher Ford's insight into the

Floods: Jakarta's infrastructure deficit

Last week's floods in Jakarta illustrate that the private sector can provide valuable public goods, available free of charge to just about anyone. If you wanted to see how hard it was to get around the city, a free web link ( gave access to real-time cameras at various strategic

Reader riposte: Rudd's Pax Pacifica

Luke Maynard writes: Hugh White's final blog post of 2012 was characteristic in its effort to sketch the boundaries of Asia's strategic future while remaining firmly rooted in modern realities. In it, White draws parallels between his vision for order in this region with that described by Kevin

Hague: Asian century or global century?

You may have heard by now that UK Foreign Secretary William Hague is cutting short his Australia visit because of the hostage crisis in Algeria (Prime Minister Cameron, too, is changing his plans; the important speech on the eurozone that Mark Thirlwell referred to in his post yesterday has been

China and India in the Fiji equation

Professor Wadan Narsey is an Adjunct Professor at The Cairns Institute. The Fiji regime's clear breach of its own decrees and roadmap to democracy, as described in my previous post, has unsettled traditional donors and must also create serious question marks over the continuing support by China

Indonesia's WTO candidate

Peter McCawley is a Visiting Fellow at the Indonesia Project, ANU, and former Dean of the Asia Development Bank Institute, Tokyo. During the first decade of this century we heard a lot about the economic role of China and India but very little about Indonesia. For close to ten years following

Why the Fiji regime rejected the draft constitution

Professor Wadan Narsey is an Adjunct Professor at The Cairns Institute. As Jenny Hayward-Jones described last Friday, the Fiji regime's promise of a transparent and accountable 'roadmap' to parliamentary elections in 2014, following the writing of a new constitution to be approved by a '

Reader riposte: Burmese and Chinese days

Trish Hamilton writes: Reading Michael Fullilove's post about Burmese Days reminded me of another book which, though it was published in 1971, to my shame, I first read in 2012. I would strongly recommend Barbara W Tuchman's Stillwell and the American Experience in China to anyone interested in

Chuck Hagel and US defence spending

James Brown's post about the nomination of Chuck Hagel as Obama's new Defense Secretary focuses on his views about the Asia 'pivot', but perhaps those views won't matter very much in comparison to the stance Hagel takes on US defence spending overall. President Obama has said that an

Chuck Hagel and the Asia pivot

This morning's announcement of Chuck Hagel as President Obama's nominee for Secretary of Defense elicited predictable outrage over Hagel's judgment on Israel. Congressional majority leader Eric Cantor issued a statement concluding, 'Senator Chuck Hagel is the wrong man for the job at such a

Lowy Institute's books of 2012 part V

Part 1 of this series by Lowy Institute research staff here; part 2 here; part 3 here; part 4 here. Burmese Days by George Orwell. Selected by Michael Fullilove. My book of 2012 was first published in 1934. George Orwell's novel Burmese Days is a grim but vivid account of life in Burma in the