Best to get the TPP done right, not done fast

A demonstrator protests against the legislation to give US President Barack Obama fast-track authority to advance trade deals, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership, during a protest march on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, 21 May 2015. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Richard Katz, Oriental Economist Report

Unless the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade talks are concluded soon, they risk dragging on interminably. If that happens, the United States’ capacity to function as a benign world hegemon will be diminished.

To avoid this, the White House is determined to get the pact signed and ratified by the end of 2015. Read more…

Thailand’s delicate dance with the major powers

Visiting Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev (L) stresses a point with Thailand's Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha (R) looking on during their joint news conference at the Government House in Bangkok, Thailand, 08 April 2015. (Photo: APP).

Author: Thitinan Pongsudhirak, Chulalongkorn University

Thailand now stands on a tightrope among the major powers. Recently, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev made a high-profile visit to Bangkok, hosted by the coup-appointed government of Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha. Medvedev’s visit suggests that Thailand is now strategically courting authoritarian major powers, namely Russia and China, in defiance of Western criticism of Bangkok’s coup and military regime.

Read more…

How to heat up lukewarm India–China relations

India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi receives a floral bouquet from a young Chinese child on his arrival at Xi’an Xiangyang International Airport in Xi’an, 14 May 2015. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Peter Martin, APCO Worldwide

The relationship between China and India will be one of the most important of this century. Their ability to cooperate will be crucial on international issues ranging from climate change to multilateral trade negotiations. Yet for all of its future significance, the relationship remains shallow, unbalanced and stuck in the past. Read more…

Executions signal a return to Sukarno-style foreign policy in Indonesia

Indonesian President Joko Widodo delivering a speech during ceremonies marking the 60th anniversary of the Asian-African Conference at Gedung Merdeka on 24 April 2015. (Photo: AAP).

Author: David Camroux, Sciences Po (CERI)

On 29 April Indonesia executed seven foreigners and one Indonesian for drug offences. The refusal of President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) to offer clemency despite pleas from foreign leaders has been analysed in a number of ways. Most have interpreted Jokowi’s decision as that of a contested head of state in a fragile democracy heeding public opinion, which seems to overwhelmingly (86 per cent in a recent poll) support the death penalty for drug trafficking. Read more…

India’s renewed push into the Indian Ocean

India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Prime Minister of Mauritius, Anerood Jugnauth, inspect an honour guard on Mauritius Island, 11 March 2015 (Photo: AAP).

Author: Rupakjyoti Borah, India

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s recent visit to Seychelles, Mauritius and Sri Lanka reflects New Delhi’s changed foreign policy priorities. It signals that India is no longer willing to be outmanoeuvred in the Indian Ocean region — its strategic backyard. Read more…

China–ROK maritime boundary talks can foster safer seas

South Korean destroyer Yulgok YiYi patrols in waters around Ieodo, south of Jeju Island, South Korea, 2 December 2013. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Sukjoon Yoon, KIMS

Talks between China and South Korea on boundary delimitation in the Yellow Sea offer a chance to improve bilateral relations and the prospect of extending the agreement to other seas, in particular the South China Sea. Read more…

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…