This should be the greatest hour for the World Health Organisation, the UN’s Geneva-based body dedicated to fighting just such a global threat as Covid-19.
Instead, WHO is struggling to defend its own credibility – while the impact of the contortions into which it has forced itself by adhering
For years at the Shangri-La Dialogue, the pre-eminent meeting of defence ministers held in Singapore, successive secretaries of defence from the United States have repeated ad nauseam that Washington is a “resident power” in the region.It is becoming increasingly evident that the Covid-19
The tardy response by the People’s Republic of China’s (PRC) to the Covid-19 outbreak triggered widespread community outrage. But Beijing’s draconian crackdown, paired with intense scrutiny and intrusion into the daily lives of ordinary citizens, has further consolidated power in the hands of
The coronavirus pandemic is a “black swan” moment: a rare and unpredictable event that could have momentous, system-wide, and unforeseen consequences. China deserves credit for having mobilised quickly, efficiently, and effectively after initial missteps to defeat the Covid-19 disease.
In an opinion piece published in the Nikkei Asian Review, Natasha Kassam argues that China has leapt on the opportunity to shape the global narrative about its response to the coronavirus as other countries grapple to manage the crisis
As important as the health risks posed by the coronavirus pandemic and its containment are, leaders also need to start to think about the shape of the post–Covid-19 global economy.
If they don’t, we all face a serious risk of succumbing to the new anti-globalisation protectionism that is on
China’s Belt and Road initiative (BRI) continues to defy simple explanations. Initially used as a means to promote and frame the country’s key foreign policy initiatives, it has now morphed into somewhat of an umbrella term for all sorts of Chinese overseas activities. Is this development
Whatever else the rapidly evolving and increasingly global health crisis may or may not do, it’s shining an unforgiving light on the relative capacities of national health systems. Even more importantly in the longer-term, perhaps, it’s providing a searching examination of political leaders, and
Just over a year ago, I reported on the uncertain future of the Khon Pi rapids, located near the Thai town of Chiang Khong and lying in the riverbed between Thailand and Laos. At issue was the desire of a Chinese company to blast the rapids and thus open the course of the Mekong for commercial
Mike Mazarr and I are debating the way Asia will be “governed” in future. That term needs to be placed in quote marks because international affairs aren’t analogous to domestic politics – there is no supreme sovereign authority with a monopoly on the legitimate use of force, so states
In an opinion piece originally published in the Financial Review, Natasha Kassam argues that China's biggest concern in dealing with the new coronavirus is maintaining stability and keeping its grip on information
From Beijing's perspective, political influence operations are at least as important as military operations, if not more so. Although the People’s Liberation Army’s (PLA) military modernisation programs have been at the centre of attention for decades, China's influence operations have only
The novel coronavirus viral strain COVID-19 has dominated weeks of headlines and led to extraordinary measures in an effort to quell its spread. The decision to quarantine Wuhan – the epicentre of the outbreak – still stands as the most significant emergency action, effectively isolating tens of
I was delighted to read Sam Roggeveen’s thoughtful reply to The Interpreter article by Ali Wyne and myself about the relative qualities of US and Chinese power. Roggeveen makes good points; I agree, for example, that US military power has been critical to the post-war order. But I remain convinced
As the novel coronavirus outbreak crisis is unfolding across China, the Communist party’s efficiency is once again in the spotlight. On the one hand, there’s the capability to mobilise resources from across the state that allows to build new hospitals in a matter of days, a feature of Chinese
In 2017, Chinese President Xi Jinping delivered a speech to the 19th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party stating that China now “stands tall and firm in the East”. He added, China’s example “offers a new option for other countries and nations who want to speed up their
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has announced his first trip to Africa, 15–19 February, with stops in Senegal, Ethiopia, and Angola. The choice of these three countries demonstrates that the US remains focused on security and economic investment issues in Africa, and, in the case of Angola, is
Almost 30,000 cases of coronavirus have been officially confirmed, amid reports of Chinese authorities increasingly cracking down on information at the epicentre of the crisis. With governments around the world imposing travel bans, as well as local Chinese communities being unfairly stigmatised,
In the past decade, Latin America has become one of the venues for the strategic dispute between the United States and China. This is a natural consequence of Beijing’s growing economic and political links with a region that has traditionally been part of Washington’s sphere of influence.
On a sunny Tuesday in the third week of January, a cargo ship named Diyala docked at Gwadar seaport, in south-west Pakistan. The enthusiastic port staff quickly unloaded the cargo. When the unloading was finished, Chinese officials operating the port, along with their Pakistani counterparts, posed
For a second there the global economy was off to a slightly better start for 2020. The US and China finally inked an initial “phase one” trade deal that at least promised to pause hostilities for a while. That provided some much-needed respite for a world economy, which last year reached its
Strategic competition between the United States and China has come to dominate US foreign policy debates. That competition is multifaceted – while rooted principally in a quest for economic pre-eminence and technological mastery, it possesses increasingly important military and ideological
Analysis as to how Hanoi might resolve its South China Sea disputes with other claimants has been overshadowed by a near exclusive depiction of its competition with Beijing. Hanoi’s current maritime disputes with Beijing have presented few opportunities for strategic progress. Comparatively, the
US President Donald Trump was quite right when he declared the 15 January US–China “Stage One” agreement an “unbelievable deal” for the United States. Unbelievable it is, though not in a good way – and especially not for Australia.
The deal requires China to import $200 billion more
It is too early to make a definitive judgement about how Beijing has handled the outbreak of the potentially deadly coronavirus in Wuhan, a city of 11 million in central China.
But it is already clear that any assessment will have to take into account not just the medical side of the virus’s
In September, the Solomon Islands government led by Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare severed its 36-year diplomatic relations with the Republic of China (Taiwan) and switched to the People’s Republic of China (China). In the months since, dissenting voices have kept bubbling up. Most prominently,
“CHINA’S GDP GROWS AT SLOWEST RATE IN 29 YEARS” bellowed the Financial Times headline last week. Never mind that this rate was still three times faster than OECD growth. The past decade has seen a relentlessly alarmist narrative about China’s slowing growth, yet China is still recording over
It was supposed to be a routine technical procedure: upgrading telecommunications networks from the old fourth-generation (4G) standard to the newest fifth-generation (5G) technology. But this process quickly became the subject of heated debate in many Western capitals, essentially around one
China’s contemporary economic renaissance, measured across the past 40 years, is largely an orchestration of the expansion of capitalism, and the repression of communist ideology. The economic divergence brought forth by the Global Financial Crisis, between China and the West gave China the
Change of pace
If Australia’s bushfire crisis has done one thing to inadvertently calm the national zeitgeist during the holiday season, it is in the way climate change has suddenly returned to supplant China as the country’s biggest wicked problem.
But in reality, these two big-C issues
If there were any doubts around China’s thinking about where to direct its money and influence in Southeast Asia, they were dispelled by the recent announcement that Xi Jinping would visit Myanmar on 17 and 18 January, the first state visit by a Chinese leader to its southern neighbour in 19 years
Since the announcement in July last year that the Lao government was notifying the Mekong River Commission (MRC) of its intention to proceed with the construction of a dam due to be completed by 2027, not far from the old royal capital of Luang Prabang, there has been a steady increase in the
Last year, China and Vietnam unveiled plans to refurbish a colonial-era railway between the two countries. It was an attempt to update a historical legacy – and also signified new bilateral dynamics in a consequential and sometimes fraught regional relationship.
Announced on 25 November, the
Messaging, as anyone knows, is a big part of politics. In Zhongnanhai, the Communist Party headquarters in Beijing, messaging is a form of gospel. A strong storyline, no matter how twisted the truth becomes (e.g., Uighurs and “education camps”), is central to much of what goes on there, and
Sadly, for both Australia and Indonesia the New Year has wrought death and destruction with the worst flooding in Jakarta in a decade and an Australian bushfire crisis unprecedented in its scale and intensity. Given such calamities, regional maritime disputes are not at the forefront of most minds
Book review: Leta Hong Fincher, Betraying Big Brother: The Feminist Awakening in China (Verso, 2018)
In China, a country of contradictions, a feminist movement emerged when women connected with each other using technology and social media. Through interviews with young women, and in
The “Australia–China–Papua New Guinea Pilot Cooperation on Malaria Control Project” is one of the most famous aid projects in the Pacific.
It is not a large project. Indeed, at $1.3 million per year it represents only about 0.2% of Australia’s bilateral aid spending in PNG. Its fame
It may go awry between now and the promised finalisation in January, but both the US and China now agree that phase one of the most difficult bilateral economic negotiation in recent decades is over.
Unusually for this negotiation, the two sides also seem to agree on what they have agreed – at
India is planning a more expansive approach to economic engagement with Australia just as Australia gears up to restart formal negotiations on a bilateral trade deal, which may possibly involve a narrower agreement than the previous lapsed talks.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison’
As 2019 winds up, Lowy Institute staff and Interpreter contributors offer their favourite books, articles, films or TV programs this year. Or in this instance...
For me, this year will be remembered as one where the world could no longer ignore the realities of the Chinese party-state. I realised
Who dominates global trade? It is well recognised that China has become the world’s largest trading nation. Less appreciated is the effect this has had in displacing the United States from its traditional dominance as a trading partner for other countries around the world.
We examined this using
China’s economic growth has fallen to its slowest rate since 1990, and this deceleration looks set to continue unless China implements the kinds of deep reforms behind the successful economic transitions of Japan and Korea
Australia and China cooperating in the Pacific Islands? At first glance it seems absurd.
Australia-China relations are hardly warm and glowing right now. Just in the last few weeks, there’s been a focus on alleged espionage courtesy of Wang Liqiang, claims of attempted political
The China “debate” in Australia has entered a new phase. Some are calling, with varying degrees of explicitness, for Australia to adopt a long-term, confrontational posture towards the PRC. This is usually cast as the only morally right response given that the PRC is a repressive and
The recent publication of Peter Hartcher’s Quarterly Essay Red Flag: Waking Up to China’s Challenge coincided with fast-breaking stories about Chinese espionage and influence operations in Australia, the leaking of the Xinjiang Papers from inside China, and the overwhelming victory by Hong Kong
The recent allegations of Chinese espionage and election interference – and the subsequent doubts cast upon them – have reignited the China debate in the Australian public consciousness. The debate has become increasingly polarised, with a shortage of goodwill. Some have had their integrity and
In recent years, the deepening of Australia’s engagement with China (our most important trade partner) has exacerbated concerns over the motivations and consequences of its government’s influence in Australian political and economic life – and understandably so.
Nowhere is the increasing