A new vision for China–Australia relations

Chinese President Xi Jinping and Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott walk together as they leave the House of Representatives at Parliament House in Canberra, 17 November 2014. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Stuart Harris, ANU

Australia’s foreign policy has been a mix of positives and negatives under the Liberal-National Coalition government, as was true of the previous Labor government. Former prime ministers Gough Whitlam and Bob Hawke recognised the need for Australia to think strategically about future regional developments, and John Howard’s thinking gradually moved in that direction. Read more…

The Abe push behind the Australian sub deal

Australia's Defence Minister David Johnston and Foreign Minister Julie Bishop pose for photos with Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Tokyo, 11 June 2014. Japan and Australia are considering a submarine deal, as Abe pushes to give his country a more assertive global military role. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Aurelia George Mulgan, UNSW Canberra

In July 2014, the Abe government adopted the ‘Three Principles on Transfer of Defense Equipment and Technology’, which approved Japanese weapons exports as long as certain conditions are met. Read more…

Australia and Indonesia in it for the long haul

Indonesian President Joko Widodo and Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott walk into a meeting room for a plenary session at the G-20 summit in Brisbane, Australia, 15 November 2014. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Peter Drysdale, East Asia Forum

Two and a half years ago, the then Australian prime minister, Julia Gillard, launched a White Paper on Australia in the Asian Century. Despite being electronically burned by the current Australian government, in an act of foolish partisanship, it continues to provide a reference point in Australia’s dealings with its region. Read more…

Overcoming the Australia–Indonesia cultural divide

A painting by Bali Nine ringleader Myuran Sukumaran of Indonesian President Jokowi Widodo with words on the back of the painting 'people can change'. (Photo: AAP).

Author: John McCarthy, AIIA

The probable executions of Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, and Australia’s responses thereto, risk pushing the Australia–Indonesia relationship into another downturn.

Fifteen years ago, Australians assumed that the end of Indonesia’s occupation of East Timor, and the advent of post-Suharto democracy, would presage an era of tranquillity in bilateral relations. Read more…

Balancing rivalry and perspectives in the Asia Pacific

Australian, US and Chinese troops at the opening ceremony of Exercise Kowari in Darwin, October 2014. (Photo: Commonwealth of Australia, Department of Defence).

Author: Michael G. Roskin

China or the US? One is Australia’s largest trading partner, the other its traditional security ally. But what happens if Australia is forced to choose between them — will economics or history win out?

Malcolm Fraser, the former Australian prime minister (1975–83), wants Australia to end its security dependency on the United States Read more…

What the TPP portends for Japan–Australia agricultural trade

Akira Amari, Japan's minister in charge of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade negotiations, attends a meeting of trade chiefs from 12 countries involved in the negotiations in Sydney on 25 October 2014. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Aurelia George Mulgan, UNSW Canberra

Australia’s farmers, particularly beef producers, may have celebrated too early when the Japan–Australia Economic Partnership Agreement (JAEPA) took effect on 15 January 2015. The deal may be gazumped by another that is taking shape between Japan and the United States in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations. Read more…

The high price of ‘free trade’ with the United States

Shipping containers at P&O’s container yard at Sydney’s Port Botany, 2004. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Peter Drysdale, East Asia Forum

It is well known that the many bilateral FTAs signed to date in Asia have not brought significant commercial or domestic reform or benefits. For one thing, bilateral ‘free trade agreements’ (which are preferential in character) are less likely to deliver substantial trade opening benefits unless the partners to them are a very large part of global trade, like the United States, Europe and China are for example. Read more…