Middle-power multilateralism bringing China into the fold

Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop and South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-Se in Seoul in May 2015. Middle-power cooperation could provide the basis for productive coexistence with China. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Yoshihide Soeya, Keio University

China is a central concern in the evolving East Asian order, and its aggressive behaviour toward disputed islands in the South and East China Seas is attracting growing concern. China’s uncompromising attitudes reflect growing confidence in its ability to create or re-create a China-centred order in Asia commensurate with its power and interests. Read more…

Down to the wire on the Trans-Pacific Partnership

US Trade Representative Michael Froman shakes hands with his Japanese counterpart Akira Amari prior to their talks over deadlocked Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations, at Amari's office in Tokyo on 19 April 2015. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Peter Drysdale, East Asia Forum

Officials and ministers from around the Pacific are descending on Hawaii this week for what should be the final round in the negotiation of the terms of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). The big two in the arrangement — Japan and the United States — appear to have settled, and this bilateral between the two largest parties to the negotiation will be by far its most significant outcome. But there is still uncertainty about whether the agreement will be put to bed within the week and what its shape will finally be. Read more…

Vietnam and rapprochement with the United States

US President Barack Obama and Vietnamese General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong shake hands during a meeting in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, DC, 7 July 2015. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Peter Drysdale, East Asia Forum

The visit, the week before last, of the general secretary of the Vietnamese Communist Party, Nguyen Phu Trong to Washington at the invitation of President Obama marked another important step on the long journey towards rapprochement between Vietnam and the United States. The visit marked the twentieth anniversary of the ‘normalisation’ of diplomatic relations and the removal of some of the embargoes after the end of the Indo-Chinese war nearly twenty years earlier. Read more…

A new chapter for Tokyo–Seoul relations, 50 years on?

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Author: Lionel Babicz, University of Sydney

The synchronised but separate 50th anniversary celebrations of the Japan–South Korea Treaty on Basic Relations illustrates the relationship between the two countries: inexorably close and painfully distant. The 22 June 2015 celebrations were quite unusual. There was no summit meeting, but two parallel ceremonies with President Park Geun-hye attending in Seoul and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Tokyo. Read more…

Suu Kyi visit demonstrates changing China–Myanmar relations

Myanmar's opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi receives flowers from supporters at  Yangon International Airport just prior her first visit to China, 10 June 2015. (Photo: AAP).

Authors: Dai Yonghong and Wang Jianping, Sichuan University

At the invitation of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), Aung San Suu Kyi, the leader of Myanmar’s opposition National League for Democracy (NLD), made her first historic visit to China on 10–14 June 2015. Her visit enhanced understanding between the two parties and promoted friendly and cooperative relations between China and Myanmar. Read more…

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…