Cambodia’s unsteady foreign policy balance

Cambodia's Prime Minister Hun Sen shake hands with Rosmah Mansor, the wife of Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Razak, during the East Asian Summit family photo at the Myanmar International Convention Center in Naypyidaw on 12 November 2014. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Leng Thearith, UNSW Canberra

Since the fiasco of the 2012 ASEAN Summit, Cambodia has more or less been viewed as a Chinese client state. But this is not wholly true. In fact, Phnom Penh has attempted to strike a foreign policy balance between China on the one hand and ASEAN, Japan, and the United States on the other. Read more…

Asian Century must begin with great-power accommodation

US President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping at the Annenberg Retreat in California. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Hugh White, ANU

US geo-strategic leadership has been the foundation of peace and stability in Asia for so long that most people can hardly imagine anything different, and many certainly don’t want anything different. But the Asia-Pacific is going to get something different, whether we like it or not. Geo-strategic leadership in Asia is changing fast, in ways that have profound implications for the political and economic future of the entire region. How that change occurs, and where it leads, matters deeply to everyone. Yet most are still in denial about the fact that it is happening and are therefore doing nothing to try to steer it in directions that might suit their interests or at least reduce the risk of disaster. Read more…

Leadership in Asia under scrutiny

Participants of the ASEAN Plus 3 Summit shake hands. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Peter Drysdale, East Asia Forum

Leadership in Asia today confronts the ‘most interesting of times’. The emerging powers of China, India and Indonesia face the twin challenges of unprecedented economic and social transformation, and crafting an approach to manage their new weight in the world, including expectations among the established powers in North America and Europe about how they should share the burdens of international leadership. Read more…

Who sets the rules of the game in Asia?

A thousand workers are shown stitching uppers for Nike shoes, July 26, 1997, at the Korean-owned Tae Kwang Vina factory, in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. One floor below 2000 workers are doing the same. The Factory employs 8,750 workers. For the past three years, pressure has typified the Asian factories that churn out Nike shoes and clothes, which has led to abuse in some cases. Nike company officials say the Nike-aligned factories offer respectable wages, where working conditions have improved and abuses are relatively few. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Sri Mulyani Indrawati, World Bank Group

It is now a commonplace to refer to the 21st century as the Asian Century. With the world economy struggling to recover from the global financial crisis, the Asia Pacific region, and especially its developing countries, has provided much of the impetus for global growth. Read more…

India should get on board China’s Maritime Silk Road

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi talks with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang during a signing ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, 15 May 2015. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Geethanjali Nataraj, Observer Research Foundation

Chinese President Xi Jinping proposed the concept of the Maritime Silk Road (MSR) — now a part of the One Belt, One Road initiative — during his visit to Indonesia in October 2013. The MSR is an attempt to promote economic cooperation and connectivity by reviving the ancient maritime Silk Road trading route. To this end, China has pledged US$40 billion in the Silk Road Fund to develop infrastructure along the route. Read more…

Australia and Indonesia at odds at sea

An Indonesian crew member of an alleged people-smuggling boat shows a table of USD notes allegedly given to the crew of the boat by an Australian official to bring illegal migrants back to Indonesia, 16 June 2015. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Sam Bateman, RSIS

Australia and Indonesia both have a keen interest in the law of the sea as both possess large maritime areas of jurisdiction. But this commonality does not mean their interests necessarily coincide. Australia has a keen interest in freedoms of navigation through the archipelagos to its north, but Indonesia, as the largest of these archipelagos, is most sensitive to the movement of foreign ships and aircraft in and around its archipelagic waters. Read more…

Australia needs a diplomatic sea change in the South China Sea

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott attends a media conference after speaking at the Western Sydney North Asia Free Trade Agreements Seminar in Sydney, 10 June 2015. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Greg Raymond, ANU

Despite its calls for ‘more Jakarta and less Geneva’, the Abbott government appears to have fallen into a passive approach to multilateral diplomacy. And as tensions in the South China Sea ratchet up, the Australian public deserves to know more about why their regional foreign policy may suddenly be lurching onto a military track. If this is the case, the government needs to show that diplomacy has been seriously tried and found wanting. Read more…