Tag Archives: China

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 […]

Why is China interested in helping war-torn Mali?

In a move that has raised as many questions about its wider intent, China has announced it will send between 500 and 600 troops to Mali under a post-French UN peacekeeping mission. While the move is being welcomed in Mali as an international contribution to helping control Islamist fighters holed up in the exposed mountains […]

Australia's strategic reorientation

Australia enters 2013 reconsidering its place in a strategically shifting world. Issues close to home have stabilised and, increasingly, considerations further from Australia are being written off as a lost cause. Australia’s peace-keeping commitment to East Timor has ended, with that country now charting an independent and, for the medium future at least, stable course. […]