Last month, the leaders of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue – the United States, Japan, India and Australia – met for the first time. Promising to strive for a region that is “free, open, inclusive, healthy, anchored by democratic values, and unconstrained by coercion”, the Quad
There is a country in Europe whose citizens can freely choose which Covid-19 vaccine they wish to receive, whether the Western-made Pfizer-BioNTech or AstraZeneca, China’s Sinopharm or Russia’s Sputnik V.
Serbia – a landlocked nation in southeast Europe – has unexpectedly became a regional
North Korean sports officials announced last week that the country would not be sending athletes to the Tokyo Olympics due to Covid-19 concerns. The brief statement, buried at the bottom of a post on North Korea’s quaint Sports Ministry website, instantly flashed across news bulletins around the
Heavy rains from 29 March to 4 April caused floods and landslides in many parts of Timor-Leste, claiming more than 40 lives, displacing thousands of people and destroying critical infrastructure such as roads and bridges. Dili, the capital, has been the worst affected, as more than 12 hours of
On 19 March, the leaders of four important democracies of the Indo-Pacific region – the United States, Japan, Australia and India – held (virtually) their first-ever “Quad Summit.” This meeting at the leaders’ level of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue was significant on two counts.
Australia and Vietnam officially became strategic partners in 2018, promising to expand cooperation across multiple domains. Yet economic ties have grown slowly from a relatively low starting point, while defence relations are mostly restricted to training and high-level dialogues. Education and
Tax and spend
US President Joe Biden may be grabbing the global headlines by boosting world growth with his big spending and international security with his telephone diplomacy. But US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen seems to be doing the real heavy lifting in restoring American credibility in
Last month, a Japanese district court for the first time ruled that not allowing same-sex couples to marry is unconstitutional. The verdict by the Sapporo District Court was a result of simultaneous lawsuits against the nation demanding marriage equality as well as compensation for psychological
Beginning last May, China has hit Australia with a barrage of trade sanctions in a fairly overt attempt at economic coercion. It’s still early days, but it’s worth taking stock of what the economic impact has been so far.
The fact that China’s trade sanctions have taken place
Life in Singapore during the pandemic has become about tracking, tracking, tracking. Wherever one goes, one has to scan QR codes that log entry into malls, restaurants, shops and office buildings. For those who have just arrived on the island, it might seem like an uncomfortable intrusion into
When China’s nationalist outrage machine took aim at Swedish fashion giant H&M in late March, one could be forgiven for feeling a sense of déjà vu. Campaigns to boycott foreign products in China are nothing new: it has been barely a year since the country went after the National Basketball
Those who’ve been reading the news in the past few weeks could be forgiven for thinking we are on the precipice of war in the Taiwan Strait. Not only do some analysts argue that this is “a phase of preparation for war”, but senior US officials are telling the media that China’s President Xi
In this episode of Lowy Institute Conversations, Director of the Southeast Asia Program Ben Bland sits down with Nathan Law to discuss exile, China’s repressive policies and the long struggle ahead for democracy in Hong Kong.
India holds a special place in the history of the creation of Bangladesh. In 1971, under then–Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, India played a pivotal role in offering diplomatic, military and humanitarian support to the Bengalis’ quest for freedom from Pakistan. Therefore, to commemorate Bangladesh
A couple of months after the inauguration of the new Biden administration, the 18 March Alaska summit provided the first big test of US-China relations. While most of the talks between senior officials were in private, tense exchanges during opening remarks suggest bilateral ties won’t fast
The Afghan government is fighting for survival as external and internal actors exploit its weaknesses in preparation for a US exit. The latest US initiatives to bring “a responsible end” to the Afghan war will likely have the opposite effect, pushing the Afghan government closer to a knife’s
US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin’s recent visit to New Delhi was a chance for the United States and India to discuss the nature and depth of their strategic partnership – particularly against the backdrop of tensions with an aggressive China.
Austin visited New Delhi soon after leaders
With five state elections to be contested in coming weeks, India is heading back into election mode: alcohol shops are being shuttered, petrol prices have been cut to appease voters, and top leaders of both the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the main opposition party Congress have been
A recent ban on girls’ public singing has demonstrated the continuing struggle between modernising and conservative forces in Afghanistan. Speculation on social media suggested it might also be a sign of the government testing the public mood of what rights it is prepared to sacrifice in order to
The clashes in Myanmar’s streets between largely peaceful protesters and armed members of the security forces over recent weeks evoke memories of similar confrontations in 1974, 1988 and 2007. The result in each of those cases was the brutal suppression of the popular will and a crackdown on
South Korea is set on a policy course that seeks to balance its economic relations with China and its security relations with the United States. Aiming for such a balance is understandable. China accounts for around one quarter of South Korea’s merchandise exports, and a fifth of its commercial
It’s hard to tell whether the Philippine government intentionally sought to mark exactly one year since 15 March 2020 Metro Manila Covid lockdown by tightening quarantine restrictions once again, first on 15 March and then further on 22 March. New Covid cases have been piling up at
Last Friday, North Korea severed diplomatic relations with Malaysia. In turn Malaysia gave the North Koreans 48 hours to leave the country. By Sunday, the North Korean embassy was empty. The Malaysians did not have to worry about their embassy in Pyongyang, as it was already informally shut down in
The recent coup in Myanmar is a chance to let the Association of Southeast Asian Nations’ way of quiet diplomacy do its work. There has been criticism of ASEAN for not doing more to condemn the military takeover and subsequent crackdown, leaving some analysts to question whether it is an
An interesting debate has emerged in the pages of The Interpreter involving maritime strategy. Arzan Tarapore wrote an article last month arguing that India should prioritise a sea denial strategy in the Indian Ocean aimed at “reinforcing defensive bulwarks “ that could dissuade China from “
The most notable takeaway from the first-ever “Quad” leaders meeting involving the US, India, Japan and Australia at the weekend was the agreement on expanding the global vaccine supply. The vaccination capacity of India will be increased to produce 1 billion doses by 2022, the leaders announced
The new Biden administration in Washington is reviewing its North Korea policy, a process that is expected to be completed next month. Pressure from experts is mounting for the administration to restart diplomacy with North Korea with more pragmatic goals, such as a shift away from complete
The joint statement issued following the weekend meeting of the four “Quad” leaders was titled “The Spirit of the Quad”. This title could be read as either self-affirmation or self-praise. The Quad’s first summit of leaders was a somewhat informal affair, held virtually amid a global
Book review: Daniel Drache, A.T. Kingsmith and Duan Qi, One Road, Many Dreams: China’s Bold Plan to Remake the Global Economy (London, Bloomsbury, 2019).
The economic fallout of the pandemic has been global, but not equal. If the often-necessary lockdowns have uniformly resulted in economic
Two months after pro-Trump rioters’ cries of “stop the steal” have faded from the US Capitol, many Americans are still reeling from the assault on their most hallowed halls of democracy. While the events of 6 January were shocking, the fact that they had bubbled up from under the surface
When Norway’s central bank put Japan’s third-biggest food company on a watch list for disinvestment last week, it demonstrated that at least one thing seems to be changing in the business of coups.
Much of the conventional diplomacy surrounding the Myanmar standoff is eerily
Anyone looking at photographs and film footage of events in Myanmar could be forgiven for thinking that the violent confrontation between demonstrators and security forces represents a proxy battle between the ousted State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi and the Commander in Chief (C-in-C) of Defence
In recent years – and for good reason - the strategic commentariat in both Australia and India has become increasingly concerned with the rise of China’s maritime power and the potential threat that this development poses for both nations. How each nation should respond is a difficult problem,
China’s yearly National People’s Congress (NPC), which convened last week in Beijing, generated more attention than usual. Most of the headlines focused on the confab’s decisions to impose additional electoral restrictions in Hong Kong, a predictable but nonetheless dismal further
The United States and the Afghan Taliban signed the “Agreement for Bringing Peace to Afghanistan” in Doha on 29 February 2020.
Part of the deal was that the US would withdraw all its troops by 1 May 2021 and that the Taliban would not allow “any of its members, other individuals or groups,
The release of the Lowy Institute’s Being Chinese in Australia: Public Opinion in Chinese Communities, based on one of the largest surveys of the Chinese-Australian community ever undertaken, shows that the events of the past year, notably Covid-19 and the deteriorating state of Australia-China
In this episode of Lowy Institute Conversations, Senior Fellow Richard McGregor sits down with Natasha Kassam and Jane Perlez to discuss new Lowy Institute research relating to the bilateral relationship between Australia and China
India’s annual summit with Russia was cancelled last year for the first time since its inception – the official reason, as was commonly blamed for many abandoned events, Covid-19.
The summit’s cancellation was a rare hiccup in what has otherwise been a traditionally close partnership. Moscow
Unless like-minded nations bind together to push back in unison, Beijing will keep singling out countries for punishment at little cost to its interest. Originally published in the Australian Financial Review
The small, remote Mauritian island of North Agalega, located in the south-western Indian Ocean, 1,122 kilometres north of Mauritius, is currently a hive of construction activity. India sought access to the islands in 2015 to develop as an air and naval staging point for surveillance of the south-
This article draws from the “Tibet: Colonialism with Chinese characteristics?” episode of The Little Red Podcast, which features interviews and chat celebrating China beyond the Beijing beltway.
Evolving from an organisation that almost no one had heard about five years ago, the United Front
Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte’s six-year term is drawing to a close in 2022, and under the current constitution, he isn’t eligible for re-election. Incumbent leaders have been known to endorse a successor leading up to the voting, but only one president* has ever been succeeded by
The visit to Moscow by India’s Foreign Secretary Harsh Shringla on 17–18 February was his first overseas trip outside South Asia during the corona crisis, underscoring the importance India attaches to its strategic partnership with Russia. But it is a relationship where New Delhi must also be
Lock the doors
When the China trade numbers were released on Tuesday, you could hardly blame Australia’s 2500 winemakers if they locked themselves in the cellar with a nice bottle of red.
They certainly have plenty to drink. Only three months ago, Chinese customers drank 50% of Australian red