Friday 18 Oct 2019 | 09:52 | SYDNEY
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Asia

Youth vote emerges in Cambodia

Hun Sen's Cambodian People's Party remains firmly in power following Sunday's elections, but with a substantially reduced majority. With an officially announced 68 seats won to the opposition's 55, the Government has a comfortable working majority. Nevertheless, the contrast with the previous

Emerging economies: Why so gloomy?

Ever since the 2008 financial crisis left many advanced economies in disarray, global growth has been sustained only through the continued spectacular performance of the emerging countries, especially China. But a wave of gloom has now spread concerning their prospects and the knock-on

China's worrying blue-water ambitions

[youtube:HUPVW2ep4oc#] Compared with the Rudd Government's 2009 Defence White Paper, which was criticised for what many viewed as its alarmist treatment of China's rise, the most recent White Paper, released in April this year, has become known for its considerably more relaxed take on the issue.

Risk and reward with Burma's security sector

Andrew Selth is a Research Fellow at the Griffith Asia Institute. Part 1 of this post here. The initiatives for closer ties between the West and Burma's police and armed forces summarised in the previous post have aroused the ire of the activist community, which has been quick to remind everyone

Indonesia's development formula II

Part 1 of this post here. The debate Joe Studwell has advanced in How Asia Works (see Sam Roggeveen's three-part interview here) is, in fact, not that novel. Studwell is not alone in advocating industrial policy: Justin Lin, former World Bank chief economist, makes the same argument in his

West reaches out to Burma's security sector

Andrew Selth is a Research Fellow at the Griffith Asia Institute. One of the most striking aspects of Burma's re-emergence as an international actor has been the readiness of Western democracies to renew or strengthen ties with the country's armed forces and police. Before the advent of President

Who says China lacks innovation?

OK, so China has yet to produce a Steve Jobs, but if there's hope for China moving up the manufacturing value chain, it might lie in its Pizza Hut outlets. My colleague Dirk alerts me to the Chinese phenomenon of strategically loading the bowl to make the fullest possible use of Pizza Hut's

A more expensive Chinese lunch for Australia?

Last week, the IMF made its contribution to the ongoing debate over Chinese economic performance. The growth forecasts included in the Fund's latest Article IV Staff Report on China – which see growth this year at around 7.75% and at 7.7% in 2014 – are right up at the optimistic end of current

Indonesia's development formula

I share Sam Roggeveen's enthusiasm for the iconoclastic approach of Joe Studwell's How Asia Works (his previous book on Asian Godfathers was a great read too). I also share Studwell's scepticism about the 'magic of the market', his views on the IMF, and his admiration for the achievements of the

PNG reacts strongly to asylum seeker deal

Martyn Namorong is a multi-award winning writer, blogger and television presenter. His initial reaction to the PNG-Australia asylum seeker agreement appeared on The Interpreter yesterday. From online postings to offline activism, a new generation of protest-hardened Papua New Guineans is making

Asylum deal a nightmare for PNG and Australia

Deni ToKunai is a political commentator who writes PNG's leading political blog, The Garamut. In the public commotion and media frenzy of Kevin Rudd's announcement that a new arrangement will see Australian asylum seekers resettled in PNG, one key point has gone largely unnoticed: it was his

The Anglosphere: A view from Europe

Dr Daniel Woker is the former Swiss Ambassador to Australia and now a Senior Lecturer at the University of St Gallen. I was amused and intrigued by the recent ruminations on Tony Abbott's stated views on what the 'Anglosphere' means (apparently something anti-Asian, in Hugh White's interpretation

Japan's turn to nationalism? Not quite

Rikki Kersten is a Professor of Modern Japanese Political History at the ANU. Shinzo Abe's Liberal Democratic Party may have scored a thumping win in Japan's half-upper house election on Sunday, but this will not translate into carte blanche for Abe's agenda. Pundits have been quick to assume

Kevin Rudd, you're not a good friend of PNG

Martyn Namorong is a multi-award winning writer, blogger and television presenter. In March 2008, Kevin Rudd made his first official visit to Papua New Guinea to build ties, the first such visit by an Australian prime minister in 11 years. Out of that visit was forged a special affinity and

Rudd's PNG solution will work, but it isn't right

Dr Khalid Koser is a Lowy Institute Non-Resident Fellow and Deputy Director of the Geneva Centre for Security Policy. Prime Minister Rudd's new asylum policy is likely to work. First, he has filled a dangerous political void. Even Mr Abbott appears grudgingly to condone the policy. The Labor

Japan: Back to the future

The exit polls from yesterday's Upper House elections confirm that Japan has returned to one-party democratic rule. The all-powerful Liberal Democratic Party again faces a rabble of small opposition parties, none with a serious chance of taking power for the foreseeable future. The Liberal

Boats, aid and the art of the possible

Retired Brigadier Gary Hogan has been Australia’s Defence Attaché in both Papua New Guinea and the Republic of Indonesia. In March 1964, the 'Year of Living Dangerously', Indonesian President Sukarno, speaking at a public rally, told the US ambassador in attendance to 'go to hell with your aid

Reader riposte: US 'all in' for the rebalance?

Iain Henry responds to Sam Roggeveen's post: Biden may be insisting that the entire Obama Administration is 'all in' with the rebalance to Asia, but something is revealed by the very fact that senior US figures are offering such reassurances. If America's partners in Asia already believed that

Food security and Australian land

Cynthia Dearin is Managing Director of Dearin & Associates, a consulting firm focused on investment and cultural ties with the Middle East and North Africa. In the last five years the world has witnessed two major spikes in food prices, one in 2007-2008 and another in 2011. In October 2012, the

Whaling debate redux

With Japan having just made its closing argument in the International Court of Justice case launched by Australia, some highlights from a debate we hosted back in March between Sea Shepherd founder Paul Watson and Griffith University's Michael Heazle. First, Paul Watson: Sea Shepherd is in

The coming Afghanistan mess

Anatol Lieven in the New York Review of Books: In one respect, we are in a much weaker position than the Soviets in 1989. They could leave behind a rather formidable Pashtun dictator, Najibullah Khan. We have committed ourselves to holding presidential elections in Afghanistan next year—

Interview: 'How Asia Works' part III

Below is the third part of my exchange with Joe Studwell, author of How Asia Works. Here's part 1 and part 2. SR: In your previous answer you took a swipe at the IMF for its behaviour towards Indonesia during the currency crisis, so I wonder if you could say some more about the role of

Why does China still receive foreign aid?

Dr Philippa Brant is a Lowy Institute Research Associate. Over the weekend ForeignPolicy.com published an article by Isaac Stone Fish pondering why the US and Japan still provide aid to China, their potential geopolitical rival. It is legitimate to ask why aid is still being provided to a

Israeli film festival, Sydney

My thanks to reader Markus for a link to TimeOut's coverage of Sydney's upcoming Israeli film festival (13-27 August). Among the films on show is a documentary called The Gatekeepers, about Israel's internal security service, Shin Bet. We showed you the trailer back in February. Here are trailers

China: What about the workers?

While the worrywart commentators are focused on the slowing of China's growth (even though most forecasts still start with a '7', which doubles income in a single decade), they reinforce the drama by implying that China has run out of policy options to maintain growth. Sure, China may not be

The 'win-win' New Zealand-Taiwan FTA

On the measure of FTAs signed, New Zealand's 'Asian Century' project is doing better than that of its larger, louder neighbour. Last week, New Zealand became the first OECD member to sign an FTA with Taiwan. In 2008 New Zealand was the first OECD member to sign an FTA with Taiwan's larger, louder

Background for Rudd's PNG visit

With Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd in Papua New Guinea this Sunday and Monday to meet with his counterpart Peter O'Neill, it's useful to recall that the PNG PM gave an address to the Lowy Institute on 29 November last year. Post event, in an interview with the Lowy Institute's Jenny Hayward

Interview: 'How Asia Works' part II

Below is the second part of my exchange with Joe Studwell, whose book, as I said in the intro to part 1, has tested some assumptions about economic development I've been carrying around with me for a long time. SR: Asia is home to some of the great cautionary tales of industry policy: Malaysia’s

Gulf states: The money or the vote?

As political unrest and violence hits much of the Arab world, the Gulf states (with the exception of Bahrain) have been able to sit back more or less serenely and use their immense wealth to stave off any serious calls for political reform. This week it was reported that the Saudi Government

Freelancing in Syria

Thanks to reader Olivia for steering me towards this breathtaking piece of writing from Italian journalist Francesca Borri on the front line in Syria. The Italian editors she describes are clearly fools for dismissing Borri's opinions; we need to hear more from her: People have this romantic image

Asylum seekers and Konfrontasi

The Piping Shrike is an anonymous Australian blog with some of the sharpest (if not always most readable) political analysis you will see. This post from 1 July is the first analysis I've read that finds a plausible reason behind Kevin Rudd's extraordinary claim, in his first media conference

Burma and North Korea: Again? Still?

Andrew Selth is a research fellow at the Griffith Asia Institute. The US Treasury's 'designation' of Lieutenant General Thein Htay, Chief of Burma's Directorate of Defence Industries (DDI), for purchasing military goods from North Korea, surprised many. After Barack Obama's visit to Burma in

Egypt: An Islamist insurrection?

Bob Bowker is a former Australian ambassador to Jordan and Egypt. The events of the past week in Egypt raise serious questions about the capacity of the political system in that country and elsewhere in the Arab world to contain, through constitutional means, the struggle between Islamists and

Islamists and modernity in the Arab world

Bob Bowker is a former Australian ambassador to Jordan and Egypt. Antipathy between those Arabs who engage in politics and adopt lifestyles framed within an Islamic discourse ('Islamists') and those who do not underlies much of the current political contest in Egypt. It has a fundamental impact on

China's incomplete financial evolution

The spike in China's short-term interest rates over the past month sent a shiver through world financial markets, in the same way that Fed Chairman Bernanke's statements on quantitative easing startled financial markets a month earlier. In both cases the market over-reacted, reflecting a

Cambodia: After Hun Sen wins election

When Cambodians go to the polls on 28 July it's odds-on that Hun Sen's Cambodian People's Party (CPP) will be returned to office. This result will continue the CPP's political dominance, maintained since 1997, and will extend Hun Sen's position as the world's longest-serving prime minister. He took

Protecting Australian businesspeople abroad

Nick Alexander, a former UN and Lowy Institute intern, is a University of Sydney Juris Doctor candidate. Prime Minister Kevin Rudd made it an essential theme of his trip to Indonesia to refocus the Australian people on tapping into Indonesia’s extraordinary business potential rather than

Reader riposte: Rudd, SBY and those boats

Christopher Lethbridge writes: The joint communiqué from Friday's discussions between Indonesia's President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd marks a new maturity in both the Australian-Indonesian relationship and the asylum seeker debate. Epitomised by the

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