Regional strategic context improves Australia–Vietnam relations

Vietnam's Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung and Australia's Prime Minister Tony Abbott shake hands during a joint press conference, 18 March 2015. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Derek McDougall, University of Melbourne

Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung’s visit to Australia in mid-March 2015 has highlighted how Australia–Vietnam relations relate to the broader strategic picture in the Asia Pacific. Read more…

Subtext important to the Australia–Japan sub deal

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Author: Amy King, ANU

Procuring a new fleet of submarines is a daunting task for any government. The capability requirements, technological challenges, project timelines, and costs involved all make submarine procurement a complex challenge. But, in Australia, procuring new submarines has become an unusually complicated endeavour. Read more…

Lee Kuan Yew: death of an outstanding statesman

Vigil guards lift the casket of Singapore's late former prime minister Lee Kuan Yew in Singapore on 29 March 2015. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Bob Hawke, former prime minister of Australia

Lee Kuan Yew was quite simply, and unquestionably, one of the outstanding national leaders of the last hundred years. He worked on a small canvas, but what he achieved in tiny Singapore not only transformed the lives of his own people profoundly, but had an immense impact beyond Singapore in shaping the Asia of today. Read more…

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…