Next steps in US–Indonesian relations

US President Barack Obama meets with President Joko Widodo of Indonesia in the Oval Office of the White House, in Washington, DC, USA, 26 October 2015. This was Jokowi's first-ever presidential visit to the United States. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Donald K. Emmerson, Stanford University

Indonesian President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) was in Washington DC recently for his first-ever presidential visit to the United States. What can the two countries do now to build on the momentum for cooperation gained on the trip? Read more…

UK’s strategic China–US balancing act

UK Prime Minister David Cameron drinks a pint with Chinese President Xi Jinping during the latter's state visit to the UK in October 2015. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Rebecca Fabrizi, ANU

The lavish welcome laid on for Chinese President Xi Jinping in the United Kingdom in October 2015 provoked a surprising amount of criticism in the British and international press. Journalists talked of Prime Minister Cameron and Finance Minister Osborne’s ‘kowtow’, called it a national humiliation, and reported — or perhaps speculated on — ire from the US administration. Read more…

South China Sea tensions unlikely to lead to war

A handout photo released by the US Navy dated 25 May 2015 of the guided-missile destroyer USS Lassen conducting a trilateral naval exercise with the Turkish and South Korean Navy in support of theatre security operations in waters to the south of the Korean Peninsula. The destroyer USS Lassen sailed within 12 nautical miles of Subi Reef in the Spratly archipelago, one of the areas where Beijing has allegedly been building artificial islands, on 27 October 2015. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Barry Desker, RSIS

Recent naval manoeuvres and land reclamation activities in the Spratly Islands have drawn attention to the risk of incidents at sea leading to growing tensions and even conflict in the South China Sea. Read more…

Modi’s TPP-springboard to economic reform

U.S. President Barack Obama, right and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi interact during the India-U.S business summit in New Delhi, India, Monday, Jan. 26, 2015. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Soyen Park, Korea University

The conclusion of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations in early October 2015 has marked another substantive milestone in the global trade order. Rising doubts over domestic ratification aside, the world is keeping a wary eye open as it tries to grasp how the TPP will affect other ongoing free trade agreements (FTAs) and multilateral trade talks. Read more…

Proactive diplomacy for peace under Japan’s new security legislation

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe aboard the Escort vessel Kurama of the Maritime Self-Defense Force attends a Naval review ceremony in Sagami Bay off Kanagawa Prefecture on 18 October 2015. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Hitoshi Tanaka, JCIE

International scrutiny of Japan’s foreign policy direction and defence policy posture has been particularly intense in recent months. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s 14 August statement on the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, and security legislation passed on 19 September, have brought renewed attention to the topic. Read more…

The TPP isn’t a done deal yet

United States Trade Representative Michael Froman is flanked by international counterparts during the closing press conference after an agreement was reached by twelve Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) member countries, in Atlanta, Georgia, USA, 5 October 2015. But there is still much more work to be done before this happens. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Jayant Menon, ADB

After more than five years of missed deadlines, trade ministers from the 12 participating Asia-Pacific countries that met in Atlanta finally concluded the negotiations surrounding the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) on 5 October 2015. So is the TPP settled? The short answer to the question is not yet. Read more…

Freedom of navigation not rocking the boat in the South China Sea

US Navy personnel raise their national flag during the bilateral maritime exercise between the Philippine Navy and US Navy in the South China Sea near waters claimed by Beijing on 28 June 2014. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Raul (Pete) Pedrozo, United States Department of Defense

Recent statements suggest that the United States will soon conduct freedom of navigation (FON) operations against China’s artificial formations in the South China Sea (SCS). But there is far more handwringing going on than necessary, as demonstrated in a recent East Asia Forum article in which Mark Valencia warns that proposed FON challenges are ‘ill-advised, and even dangerous’. Read more…