Reform signals from North Korea’s seventh Party Congress?

Several drummers take part in a mass parade during the closing ceremony of Workers' Party Congress in Pyongyang, North Korea. (Photo: AAP)

Authors: Alek Sigley and Eun Jeong Soh, ANU

In early May this year, North Korea hosted its seventh Workers’ Party Congress, the first such meeting in 36 years. The nation’s capital was decked in colourful decoration and celebratory events were held to mark the occasion. The congress continued to communicate many of the well-worn messages of nuclear resoluteness and displays of strength in the face of the international community, but also showed indications of a changing state of affairs in North Korea.

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Public-private cooperation needed to boost Japanese HA/DR

High school students participate in a ‘Security Camp’ conducted in Nankoku, Kochi Prefecture, Japan, to discover and nurture cybersecurity specialists, 27 June 2015. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Takashi Kawamoto, Keio Research Institute

Humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HA/DR) are on the rise as new forms of security cooperation in the Asia Pacific. Read more…

Strategic partnerships: helping or hindering security?

The Japanese Maritime Self-Defence Force have brought two Asagiri class destroyers and a Soryu class submarine to Australia and will take part in the bilateral Exercise Nichi Gou Trident with the Royal Australian Navy until 26 April 2016. (Photo: AAP).

Authors: H. D. P. Envall, ANU, and Ian Hall, Griffith University

Strategic partnerships are becoming central to the management of international security in the Asia-Pacific region. All the major powers and many of the minor ones have entered into multiple partnerships with both friends and potential strategic rivals. China, for instance, has cultivated close to 50 strategic partnerships across the region and beyond, with nations as diverse as Afghanistan, Australia and India. By contrast, India has about 20 or so partnerships and Japan around 10.

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Trump and the future of US power in the Pacific

Donald Trump waves to supporters at a campaign rally in Reno, Nevada on 10 January 2016 (Photo: flickr/Darron Birgenheier).

Author: Editors, East Asia Forum

The rise of Donald Trump from ‘joke’ candidate to the presumptive nominee of the Republican Party in the US presidential election primaries has come as a shock not only to the US political establishment, but also globally to those who worry about what a Trump presidency might mean beyond the borders of the United States. Read more…

Is Modi’s Middle East diplomacy enough?


Author: Kanchi Gupta, ORF

India has revamped its Middle East policy. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has laid the foundation for strategic interdependencies with the region by focusing on counterterrorism cooperation, deeper economic and security ties, and by engaging the large Indian diaspora. Well-timed visits to all key Middle Eastern states have prevented the Indian agenda from being hijacked by the region’s internal divisions and rivalries. Read more…

Should Duterte step back on the South China Sea?  

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte (L) meeting with Chinese ambassador to the Philippines Zhao Jianhua during a courtesy call in Davao city, southern Philippines, 16 May 2016.

Author: Aileen San Pablo-Baviera, University of the Philippines

Some countries have become wary of China’s aspiration to become a maritime power because the means pursued by the Xi Jinping government — as seen in the disputed South China Sea — appear to ignore the legitimate interests of its smaller neighbours, flout existing international norms and pose risks to regional peace and stability.

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Filipino strongman Duterte not just talk

Philippine president-elect Rodrigo Duterte speaks during his final campaign rally in Manila, Philippines, 7 May 2016. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Damien Kingsbury, Deakin University

There may be more to the Philippines’ new president Rodrigo Duterte than his tough guy image indicates. In the populist theatrics that are Filipino politics, the overwhelming election of Duterte should not have come as a surprise, even with common, but inaccurate, comparisons to the US presidential candidate Donald Trump. Read more…