A new vision for Australia-India relations

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Author: Sourabh Gupta, Samuels International

Australia and India have not always been the best of friends.

Seven Indian prime ministers from across the political spectrum and spanning three decades have come and gone without paying a state visit to Canberra, a record broken only now with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s recent visit to Australia following the Brisbane G20 Summit. Four unreciprocated visits were made by Australian prime ministers during the latter half of this period. Read more…

Abbott’s awkward APEC moment

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Author: James Laurenceson, ACRI

Forget shirt-fronting Russian President Vladimir Putin. Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s most challenging task in the summit season was breaking an uncomfortable silence with Chinese president Xi Jinping. And he had to do it twice: first at the APEC meeting in Beijing and again at the G20 in Brisbane. Read more…

Australia and China after their FTA

Chinese president Xi Jinping and Australian prime minister Tony Abbott speak at a press conference following the signing of several memorandums of understanding to strengthen trade in Canberra, 17 November 2014. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Peter Drysdale, East Asia Forum

The past week has seen big breakthroughs in Asia Pacific economic diplomacy. At the APEC summit, Xi Jinping and Shinzo Abe broke the diplomatic ice in the China–Japan relationship. The United States and China paved the way towards extending the successful International Technology Agreement through the WTO. They also did a game-changing deal that will entrench deep cuts to carbon emissions through to 2025–30. Read more…

Lifting Australia’s influence on China

A woman holds Chinese and Australian national flags as she waits to catch a glimpse of China's President Xi Jinping as he drives by during the G20 Summit in Brisbane, Australia, 16 November 2014. (Photo: AAP).

Author: He Fan, CASS and ANU

Chinese President Xi Jinping is attending the 9th G20 Summit in Brisbane and is about to make a formal state visit to Australia. It could be a historic time for strengthening strategic cooperation between Australia and China. Read more…

Who calls the shots on Australia’s foreign policy?

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott offically welcomes China's President Xi Jinping to the G20 Leaders' Summit in Brisbane on 15 November, 2014. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Kerry Brown, University of Sydney

On hearing that Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott pulled away from involvement in the Chinese development bank because of US pressure, a cynical observer might assume that Canberra’s policy towards China is signed off in Washington. Hardened Chinese diplomats may well tell President Xi Jinping that if he wants any decisions about Australian foreign policy towards China he might as well cut out the middle man and talk directly to the State Department in the US. Read more…

The economics of Asian geo-political stability

Australia's Minister for Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop and China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi shake hands after giving opening remarks before the Australia–China Foreign and Strategic Dialogue on 7 September 2014. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Paul Hubbard, ANU

What can economics tell you about the geo-political challenges in Asia? Many strategic thinkers focus on defence capabilities, ideology, politics, environmental threats or history to envisage strategic futures. Economics provides a lens to focus on the fundamental drivers of regional power relations. National income limits a country’s capacity to mobilise resources for power projection, and hence influence the regional security order. Read more…

Very few limits in tough Australian anti-terror laws

Australian Attorney-General George Brandis at a press conference. (Photo: AAP).

Author: George Williams, UNSW

Australia, like other nations, is facing an enhanced threat to its national security from citizens who travel to conflicts in Iraq and Syria, and then return home with a radical outlook and training in terrorism. This has led the government to raise the nation’s terrorism public alert level to ‘high’, which indicates that a ‘terrorist attack is likely’. Read more…

Australia’s false China choice over Taiwan

Students protesters pass around sunflowers outside the parliament building after they ended an occupy protest over a contentious trade pact with China, in Taipei on 10 April 2014. Protestors are concerned that increasing economic influence from China will undermine Taiwanese democracy. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Paul Dibb, ANU

Arguments currently raging in Australia about the so-called China choice have not addressed the crucial issue about what specific concessions must be made to accommodate a rising China. Instead, debate consists of generalised statements that the US needs to provide China with strategic space by acknowledging its legitimate strategic interests.

China has identified Taiwan, Tibet and, more recently, the South China Sea as core national interests. Read more…

When the carnival is over: Australia’s surprising G20 legacy

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott addresses representatives of G20 Leaders and Finance Deputies and Central Bank Deputies at the half way point of Australia’s presidency. (Photo: Commonwealth of Australia / Australia 2014 G20 website).

Author: Peter Drysdale, East Asia Forum

The genesis of the G20 is a tale of two crises. The first — the Asian financial crisis — led to the creation of the G20 as a meeting of finance ministers and central bank governors from 19 of the world’s largest economies plus the EU. The second — the global financial crisis — led then-US president George W. Bush to elevate the G20 to a leaders’ level meeting. Read more…

Cutting off Australia’s international television arm

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation, home of popular characters like the Bananas in Pyjamas, has lost government funding for its international service. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Ross Tapsell, ANU

What does the Australia Network’s closure and the launch of Sky News’ Australia Channel mean for Australian soft power?

Since their inception, Australia’s international media organisations have trodden a fine line between promoting Australia’s interests in the Asia Pacific region and upholding the values of the Fourth Estate which sees critical reporting of government as central to its role. Read more…

The ‘Indo-Pacific’: absent policy behind meaningless words

Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi shake hands before giving opening remarks before the next round of the Australia–China Foreign and Strategic Dialogue in Sydney, 7 September 2014. China is likely to endorse the term Indo-Pacific, which Julie Bishop directed her department to use in 2013.-minihighres

Author: Trevor Wilson, ANU

Some may not have noticed when it happened but Julie Bishop, after becoming Australian Foreign Minister in September 2013, directed the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) to use the term ‘Indo-Pacific’ instead of the traditional ‘Asia Pacific’ which has now been in use throughout the world for more than forty years. According to some, Bishop was not initially wedded to ‘Indo-Pacific’ but she seems to have become a convert, although she still occasionally uses ‘Indo-Pacific/Asia Pacific’. Read more…

Refining the role of government in the Australia–Indonesia live cattle trade

Indonesian workers unload Australian cattle from a ship in Jakarta, Indonesia. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Ray Trewin, ANU

The governments of Australia and Indonesia have become heavily involved in the live cattle trade. The 2011 Australian ban on live cattle exports to Indonesia, after some animal cruelty was drawn attention to, may have been the blackest day for Australian agricultural politics. And the issues continue, as governments inappropriately use trade policy to address sensitive domestic non-trade issues (like Australian animal welfare and Indonesian self-sufficiency). But government involvement, rather than disadvantaging trade and livelihoods by raising uncertainty and lowering prices as is the case now, could help solve these issues. Read more…

Australia, Japan make history by moving on from it

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Prime Minister Tony Abbott smile after signing the Japan-Australia Economic Partnership Agreement and Agreement on the Transfer of Defence Equipment and Technology, 8 July 2014. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Christopher Pokarier, Waseda University

For 60 years Australian governments in their dealings with Japan have chosen to make history rather than be bound by it. This was never politically easy and many Australians continue to be disappointed by reports of influential Japanese who appear to sanitise Japan’s wartime record. Australian soldiers and civilians who fell prisoner to Japanese forces suffered brutal treatment, as did other allied forces and many peoples of East Asia. Read more…

Australia, Japan take a ‘domino approach’ to regional integration

Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe speaks with Australian prime minister Tony Abbott ahead of a signing of a trade agreement between the two nations at Parliament House in Canberra, Australia, 8 July 2014. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Takashi Terada, Doshisha University

The recently signed Australia–Japan economic partnership agreement (EPA) is an example of the dynamic domino effect of regional trade and investment. This is where the benefits an FTA brings to one country, such as eliminating tariffs, generally disadvantages a third country not included in the agreement. This third party is thereby pressured to engage in seeking FTAs of their own. Australia’s regional integration strategy has adjusted itself well to this environment — in which big economies, each with different rules and ambitions, struggle with each other for trade advantages. Read more…