Tag Archives: China

Sri Lanka’s coup

(First published today in Crikey.com) While the world wasn’t watching, Sri Lanka has had a coup, which may or may not be constitutional. On Friday, the president replaced an elected prime minister with one who had been voted out of office on the back of war crimes allegations, human rights abuses and corruption allegations. Following […]

Rough seas ahead for the Pacific Islands Forum (published in Crikey.com)

The Pacific Ocean may have been named for its peaceful winds, but this year’s 18 nation Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) has been among the most combative in its five-decade history. At issue was a confluence of sharply competing interests, with China’s growing role at the centre of them. China’s delegation stormed out of the meeting […]

PM’s visit just one small part of Australia-Indonesia relations

The visit to Indonesia by the Prime Minister Scott Morrison, within days of taking office, has been widely hailed as a success, with the signing of an effective free trade agreement and a further tilt towards a closer strategic relationship. The five point agreement visit was said to ‘add ballast’ to the bilateral relationship, reprising […]

Dictators still ride to and fro upon tigers …

China’s formalization this week of Xi Jinping as president0 for life marks that country’s turn away from partially accountable leadership to a model that is, in effect, a dictatorship. This runs counter to not only China’s post-Mao Zedong 10 year changes of leadership but also a more general global trend towards democracy. Yet Xi is […]

China, the White Paper and the decline of the US

It is unsurprising that Australia’s 2017 foreign policy white paper says little of direct substance and is cautious about change. The world around us is rapidly changing and increasingly uncertain, and our foreign policy boffins generally don’t like unpredictability. But that’s what they have, and have managed to allude to it without providing a detailed […]

The China-India face-off in Bhutan

In a world that seems to be more rather than less prone to confrontation, China and India are now squaring off against each other on a remote plateau in a corner of the almost as remote country of Bhutan. Bhutan, an ally of India, is wedged between the two Asian powers, with China claiming a […]

Autonomy in Hong Kong may mean less in practice than in theory

Hong Kong’s ‘one country, two systems’ is sometimes referred to as constituting Hong Kong’s autonomy from China. This is, in principle, confirmed under Hong Kong’s 1997 Basic Law. However, autonomy arrangements can reflect less, and rarely more, than their legal framework implies. Issues in determining the functional status of autonomy arrangements include the terms of […]

A way forward with North Korea … if the US wants it

The bellicose rhetoric emanating from North Korea recently would have outsiders believe the world is but a step or two away from a military show-down, including the possibility of nuclear war. The threat from North Korea is a serious one if perhaps, for the moment, overstated. North Korea is long on confrontational commentary but, at […]

The Dalai Lama provokes an assertive China

China’s regional assertiveness has entered a new phase with the Dalai Lama provoking China in its long disputed border region with India. China has warned India ‘not to complicate issues’ by allowing the Dalai Lama to use a visit to a border area to promote Tibetan separatism. Tibet has long been a sensitive issue for […]

The ties that bind are also the ties that blind

The two trips by Prime Minister Tony Abbott to Indonesia have started to give a distinctive shape to a shift in Australian foreign policy. In keeping with Abbott’s assertive political style, Australia is on the diplomatic front foot, promoting his pro-Asia policy agenda. But the forcefulness of the way in which this agenda is being […]