Mongolian foreign policy: a small state with big aspirations

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi shakes hands with Mongolian Foreign Minister Luvsanvandan Bold after they signed agreements at China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Beijing, 16 January, 2014. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Jargalsaikhan Enkhsaikhan, Blue Banner, UN

Mongolia is a relative newcomer in contemporary world politics.

The end of the cold war, the normalisation of Sino–Russian and Sino–Mongolian relations, as well as fundamental changes in Mongolia itself, have changed the country’s geopolitical environment and paved the way for Mongolia to enter international politics. Read more…

The Ukrainian crisis and Japan’s dilemma

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe shake hands at their meeting in the Bocharov Ruchei residence in Sochi, Russia, Saturday, 8 February 2014. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Dmitry Filippov, University of Sheffield

The timing of the Ukrainian crisis could not have been worse for Japan, as it presented Prime Minister Shinzo Abe with the tactical dilemma of whether or not to fall in line with the international community by imposing sanctions against Russia.

So far, Japan’s reaction has been lukewarm compared to the response of the United States and the European Union. Read more…

Japan’s new security strategy: changing national identity?

The Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) destroyer JDS Kongou (DDG 173) sails in formation with other JMSDF ships and ships assigned to the USS Kitty Hawk Carrier Strike Group in the Pacific Ocean (Photo: US Navy / Todd Cichonowicz).

Author: Takeshi Yuzawa, Hosei University

In December 2013, the Japanese government issued the nation’s first National Security Strategy (NSS). The NSS is the result of government efforts to formulate a comprehensive and integrated approach to national security. It is based on an emerging principle of ‘a proactive contributor to peace’, which represents Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s desire to move Japan towards collective self-defence. Read more…

Japan’s constitutional dilemma

Japan Ground Self-Defense Force soldiers train with US Marines during Exercise Iron Fist to promote military interoperability on 8 February 2014. The Shinzo Abe government hopes to reinterpret the security clause of the constitution so that Japan can exercise collective self-defence and help the US in emergency security situations. (Photo: US Marine Corps/ Lance Cpl. Anna K. Albrecht).

Author: Peter Drysdale, Editor, East Asia Forum

Japan’s ‘defenceless on all sides’ security strategy has served it well through the post-war period, underwritten as it has been by America’s security guarantee and continuing presence on Japanese soil. Despite the steady accretion of its military capabilities, the ‘peace’ constitution allayed anxieties within Japan’s neighbours, China, South Korea and the newly independent Southeast Asian nations, about Japanese military intentions. Read more…

Japan’s debate on constitutional reinterpretation: paving the way for collective self-defence

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe walks after attending the military parade of Japanese Self Defense Forces in Tokyo, Japan, 27 October 2013. The Shinzo Abe government recently established a National Security Council based on the US model. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Hitoshi Tanaka, JCIE

Recent developments in Japan’s national security policy under the Shinzo Abe government — including the November 2013 establishment of a National Security Council based on the US model, the announcement of the first National Security Strategy a month later, and ongoing moves to change the interpretation of the constitution to allow for the exercise of the right to collective self-defence — have gained attention around the world. Read more…

Rehabilitating terrorists in Indonesia through engagement, not ostracism

Yusuf Adirima with the author. the dapoer Bistik program shows that if people feel they  have control over their destiny, they are less likely to return to terrorism. (Photo: Author).

Author: Noor Huda Ismail, Institute for International Peace Building

Prison regulations in Indonesia allow ‘good’ inmates to be released early on remission, a policy that can apply to people convicted of terrorism offences. But sadly, since 2002 at least 28 of the around 350 ex-combatants released have reoffended. This raises some important questions. After an ex-combatant has been released from prison, what causes him to re-offend? And what can society do to prevent this from happening? Read more…

Abe’s defence ambitions alarm region

Camouflaged members of Japanese Ground Self Defense Forces airbourne troop hold automatic rifles on a UH 1 helicopter during the new year exercise in Narashino in Chiba prefecture, suburban Tokyo on 12 January, 2014. A total of 300 personnels, 21 aircrafts and helicopters took part in the open exercise at the defense forces Narashino training ground. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Gui Yongtao, Peking University

The move by Shinzo Abe’s administration toward lifting the ban on the exercise of the right to collective self-defence is not driven by the imperatives of the US-Japan alliance, nor by Japan’s internationalist aspirations to contribute more to global peace. Read more…

US-India ties in need of serious work

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh talks with US Vice President Joe Biden during a meeting in New Delhi, India, 23 July 2013. The first US vice president to visit India in three decades, Biden began a four-day visit 22 July to boost the ties in trade, energy, defence and security. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Harshita Kohli, NTU

The arrest in December and subsequent strip-search of Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade, India’s deputy consul-general in New York, was the latest bump on the road of the strategic relations between the two nations that is already plagued with political and economic pressures. Read more…

Japan and Taiwan ‘stingy’ balancers

Rockets are launched from the Thunderbolt 2000, a Taiwan-made multi-rocket launcher system, during a military drill in western Penghu islands on 17 April, 2013. The Taiwan defence ministry on staged its biggest live-fire military exercise since 2008, aimed at reviewing the island's defence capability against a simulated Chinese invasion. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Daniel Clausen, Fujisawa, Japan

There has been much commentary recently about the hike in Japan’s defence budget. The rise, along with other measures and rhetorical stances taken by the Abe administration, are meant to show Japan’s resolve over disputed territories and to offset China’s growing military capabilities. Read more…

Southeast Asia going nuclear

South Korean President Park Geun-hye tours a nuclear plant road show at the Grand Plaza Hotel in Hanoi, Vietnam on 8 September, 2013. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Barry Desker, RSIS

Southeast Asian states are moving to push ahead with nuclear power plants in an about-turn from the focus on safety risk in the search for energy security. Read more…

The risks of posturing in East Asia

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, center, laughs with U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, left, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, second from left, Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida, second from right, and Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera as they put their hands together during their meeting at the prime minister's official residence in Tokyo on 3 October, 2013. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Hitoshi Tanaka, JCIE

The deepening confrontational postures among countries in East Asia presents a significant risk not just to the short-term stability of the region, where miscalculations can lead to violent conflict, but also to the medium to long-term cooperative efforts that are needed to ensure that the evolution of regional order is locked into a peaceful and stable trajectory. Read more…