ASEAN labouring under outdated migration policies

A foreign worker is given medicine and marked on her arm during a health check at a foreign workers registration one stop service post for Cambodia, Myanmar and Laos nationals, in a park in Bangkok, Thailand, 16 July 2014. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Giovanni Capannelli, ADB

By the end of 2015, the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) is expected to establish a single market and production base in the region. With an ASEAN overall workforce of more than 300 million people, the AEC will have strong implications in terms of labour migration and human resource development. Read more…

Australia needs to refocus on ASEAN

Australia’s Prime Minister Tony Abbott holds hands ASEAN leaders during the ASEAN–Australia 40th Anniversary Commemorative Summit in Naypyitaw, Myanmar, 12 November 2014. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Gareth Evans, ANU

Things just haven’t clicked the way they should have in the Australian–ASEAN relationship. We seem far removed from the time when as Australia’s Foreign Minister I had no counterparts anywhere in the world with whom I felt more close and comfortable. Read more…

Will China accept international law in the South China Sea?

A worker holds a new officially approved map of China that includes the islands and maritime area that Beijing claims in the South China Sea, at a printing factory in Changsha in south China's Hunan province. China has again rejected an attempt by the Philippines to challenge its territorial claims over the South China Sea through international arbitration. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Donald R. Rothwell, ANU

The ongoing disputes between the Philippines and China in the South China Sea are about to reach a critical point. In January 2013 the Philippines activated procedures under Article 287 and Annex VII of the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) over a dispute about the validity of China’s ‘nine-dash line’ in the South China Sea. Read more…

Modi’s new diplomatic instruments for a new India

A crowd listens to Narendra Modi deliver a speech in Australia during a recent visit. (Photo: AAP).

Authors: Purnendra Jain, University of Adelaide and Tridivesh Singh Maini, O.P. Jindal Global University

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi is seeking new ways to enhance India’s global diplomacy. Modi is pursuing two paths largely overlooked by analysts of India’s foreign policy: to connect with the Indian diaspora and to encourage links with subnational governments at state and city levels. Read more…

Is RCEP just the same old trade paradigm?

Workers contruct the foundation at a new construction site for an office high-rise building in the Indonesian capital city of Jakarta on September 5, 2014. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Sanchita Basu Das, ISEAS

What will it take to change the way Asia thinks about trade strategy?

As the negotiators of the RCEP agreement are meeting in New Delhi, India, from 1–5 December 2014, attention is turned to the question of whether this mega-regional represents a ‘new paradigm’ of regional trade agreements or not. Read more…

How does Asia perceive China’s new approach to international relations?

Xi Jinping and his wife Peng Liyuan wave to their police escorts during their recent visit to Australia. (Photo: AAP).

Authors: Niv Horesh, University of Nottingham, and Emilian Kavalski, ACU

One day in June 2013, President Xi Jinping and his wife and First Lady Peng Liyuan touched down in Trinidad and Tobago. As the pair embarked the aircraft and strode down the gangway, there was something unmistakably ostentatious — a swagger even — in Peng’s turquoise attire and Xi’s matching tie. It marked a shift in China’s approach to international relations. Read more…

Liberal Japan needs to drown out revisionist voices

Japanese lawmakers visit the Yasukuni Shrine to pay respect to the war dead on the day of the 69th anniversary of the end of the World War II, in Tokyo , Friday, 15 August 2014. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Benedikt Buechel, Seoul National University

Since Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s return to power in December 2012, Japan’s diplomatic relations with South Korea have continuously worsened. Abe’s persistent stance on the Yasukuni Shrine, the Dokdo/Takeshima territorial dispute and the ‘comfort women’ issue has elicited fierce opposition from the South Korean government. While no rapprochement on any of these conflicts has been achieved, the Japanese government should be aware that its hawkish and revisionist rhetoric is hurting Japan’s reputation and risks driving the country into international isolation. Read more…

Thailand’s Cambodian charm offensive

Prime Minister of Thailand Prayuth Chan-ocha walks upon arriving at the international airport in Naypyidaw to attend the ASEAN Summit on 11 November 2014. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Chheang Vannarith, University of Leeds

The recent state visit by Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha to Cambodia represented part of the Thai military government’s uphill diplomatic battle to build and strengthen its legitimacy abroad. This visit occurred amid mounting diplomatic pressures from Europe and the US, calling for a rapid return to democracy. Read more…

Why is the Australian government sending refugees to Cambodia?

Cambodian protesters hold a banner during a protest near Australian Embassy in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, 17 October 2014. Cambodians protest against an agreement between Australia and Cambodia on the resettlement of refugees. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Maria O’Sullivan, Monash University

The recently signed refugee resettlement agreement between Australia and Cambodia has been a highly controversial development in Australian asylum seeker policy. The deal sets out conditions under which persons recognised as refugees by authorities in Nauru (operating as part of Australia’s offshore processing regime) will be voluntarily resettled in Cambodia. Read more…

China’s aspiring global leadership

US president Barack Obama and Chinese president Xi Jinping look at each other during a press conference at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing during APEC, 12 November 2014. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Thitinan Pongsudhirak, Chulalongkorn University

This geopolitical summit season has consolidated ongoing trends in international affairs. A still-rising China with global leadership aspirations, a resurgent Russia bent on restoring its superpower status, and sclerosis and dysfunction in Western countries is likely to dominate international politics for at least the next 20 years. In fact, we might only be at the beginning in this long time span where seismic global power shifts are taking place. Read more…

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…

A good week for global governance

US President Barack Obama, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbot and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe shake hands prior to the G-20 summit in Brisbane, Australia on Nov. 16, 2014. The three leaders agreed to deepen their security cooperation. (Photo: AAP)

Authors: Alan S Alexandroff, University of Toronto, and Yves Tiberghien, UBC

For global governance watchers, this was the big week of the year. Between 7 November and 16 November, the world witnessed an APEC meeting in Yanqi Lake near Beijing complete with a bilateral China–Japan ‘breakthrough’ and a major US–China climate deal; an historic ASEAN and East Asia Summit held in Naypidaw, Myanmar; and a colourful G20 meeting in Brisbane, Australia.

Notwithstanding the chorus of those announcing growing disorder, global order seems better off after these summits. Read more…

Uncertainty at home brings calm to the Thai–Cambodian border

Thousands of anti-government protesters march in front of anti-riot policemen on a main road during a massive rally in central Bangkok, Thailand, 11 November 2013. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Nicole Jenne, European University Institute

Domestic uncertainties in Thailand and Cambodia have hindered progress along the heavily militarised border and the Preah Vihear temple dispute.

Between 2008 and 2011 the border around the ancient Khmer temple of Preah Vihear (Phra Viharn in Thai) was the site of repeated clashes between Thai and Cambodian troops. Open conflict was put on hold when Cambodia submitted the dispute to the International Court of Justice in 2011. 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…