Articles on Asia

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Tony Abbott’s visit to India will focus on the sale of uranium more so than a shared love of cricket. AAP

Abbott’s visit to take Australia-India relations beyond cricket

Australian prime minister Tony Abbott will visit India this week, his first trip to the country since Narendra Modi took office. On the agenda will be a range of issues important to India and Australia…
Power broker. Vladimir Putin. Fernando Bizerra Jr/EPA

MH17 was a victim of the new cold war’s first proxy conflict

It remains to be seen precisely how and why the Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 crashed over the territory of the self-proclaimed “Donetsk People’s Republic” in eastern Ukraine on Thursday. But whatever…
With coups in Thailand and troubles elsewhere, Australia exists in a fragile regional environment where it is expected to play a leading role in peacemaking. EPA/Narong Sangnak

Peacemaking should be at the core of Australian foreign policy

Australia’s neighbourhood is currently a hotbed of fragility and conflict, with tensions in the South China Sea, a military coup in Thailand and civil rights abuses against Rohingya in Myanmar. But to…
Australia’s defence of Sri Lanka’s human rights record disregards an ingrained culture of violence as part of that country’s political landscape. EPA/M.A. Pushpa Kumara

War is over, but not Sri Lanka’s climate of violence and threats

The Australian government has become the great defender of Sri Lanka’s post-war human rights credentials, it seems. But Sri Lanka’s (and Australia’s) insistence that the end of the civil war means an end…

Don’t mention the war

Whatever you think about the Abbott government, one of its more surprising features is that foreign policy looks like its strongest suit. True, this may not be setting the bar terribly high given the unproductive…
Shinzo Abo’s visit to Australia this week, three months after Tony Abbott visited Tokyo, comes at a time of alarm in Asia about a shift in Japan’s defence policy. EPA/Franck Robichon

Japan and Australia join forces in Asia’s Brave New World

In his second stint as Japan’s prime minister, Shinzo Abe seems in a hurry. His sudden fall from power in 2007 has left him with a strong sense of the need to get things done quickly. He has embarked on…
Thai police keep watch at a shopping centre in Bangkok where authorities remain on guard for any protests against military rule. EPA/Narong Sangnak

A good coup? Military rule is unlikely to heal Thailand

Six weeks ago, Thai army chief Prayuth Chan-ocha announced a military takeover. The constitution was set aside, while leaving the monarchy in place. The army soon reconsidered, though, and retained much…
India has struggled with policies intended to improve relations with its Asian neighbours. Will new prime minister Narendra Modi do any better? AAP

India’s struggle to define its ‘Look East’ policy looks set to continue

India’s new prime minister Narendra Modi has signalled a commitment to continue his nation’s “Look East” foreign policy in a world of growing Asian influence. However, Modi may find it difficult to define…
The heroics of South Korea’s national football team in the 2002 World Cup, which it co-hosted with Japan, energised the country and restored its national pride. Damien Gabrielson

South Korea and Brazil: intangible legacies of hosting the World Cup

The host nations of major sporting tournaments like the football World Cup are usually obsessed with the international status and prestige that comes with holding these events. However, the impact that…
Chinese artist Chen Guang, a former soldier who served during the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989, has painted a series of works based on his experience. Chen Guang/Internet Exhibition

Tiananmen 25 years on: CCP now fears the masses gathering online

June 4, 2014, marks the 25th anniversary of the bloody military crackdown to end student protests in Tiananmen Square. For weeks, global media coverage had highlighted the protesters’ concerns and greatly…
ASEAN’s principle of non-interference ensures minimal response to the coup that removed Yingluck Shinawatra from its leaders’ ranks. EPA/Rungroj Yongrit

Muted response to Thai coup hints at other nations’ limited options

Events on either side of the Bay of Bengal illustrate the contrasting fortunes of democracy in Asia. Notwithstanding questions about his role in anti-Muslim violence, Narendra Modi stormed to a huge victory…
Protesters are defying the military’s ban on gatherings to demonstrate in Bangkok against the coup. EPA/Narong Sangnak

Two-step coup leader may have dangerously misjudged Thais

Thailand’s army commander, General Prayuth Chan-ocha, took his unilateral declaration of martial law one step further on May 22, grabbing power for a military junta. The two-step coup caught some observers…
Nauru is too small to be able to cope with a significant number of resettled asylum seekers – hence the mooted proposals to resettle genuine refugees in Cambodia. AAP/Department of Immigration

Price of resettling refugees should not be our silence on Cambodia

In recent weeks, Abbott government ministers have been spruiking a plan for Cambodia to resettle some or all asylum seekers on Nauru who are found to be genuine refugees. While the Australian and Cambodian…
The military’s failure to consult the government before declaring martial law casts doubt on its denial that a creeping coup has begun. EPA/Rungroj Yongrit

Is it Thailand’s 19th coup? Probably, unless elections come soon

In the dead of night, Thailand’s military has used a 100-year-old law to declare martial law across the country. General Prayuth Chan-ocha, the army’s commander, has said it did not overthrow the government…
Thailand’s ‘red shirts’ are getting ready to confront their opponents if a new government is installed without fresh elections. EPA/Narong Sangnak

Thais at the crossroads between compromise and violent conflict

It is just possible to discern signs pointing to agreement among Thailand’s protagonists other than the hardline street protesters that lower house elections tentatively set for July 20 will go ahead then…
Yingluck Shinawatra is greeted by supporters after being removed from office by the Constitutional Court. EPA/Rungroj Yongrit

Thai judiciary wins another round against elected government

Having faced down six months of sometimes violent street protests and avoided a military coup, Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra was yesterday brought down by Thailand’s Constitutional Court. The court…
Indonesian president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono may have been Australia’s ‘best friend’ in southeast Asia, but not any more. EPA/Adi Weda

Abbott spurning Indonesia’s invite confirms relationship troubles

Australian prime minister Tony Abbott’s decision not to accept Indonesian president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s invitation to meet at the Open Government Partnership forum Yudhoyono is chairing in Bali…
Relatives of the missing passengers on flight MH370 march on the Malaysian embassy in Beijing. EPA/Rolex dela Pena

Sino-Malaysian friendship will defy public fallout from flight MH370

“Visit Malaysia Year 2014” was expected to bolster Malaysia’s growing Chinese tourism market: Malaysia’s third-largest. Last October, commemorating four decades of close relations, Chinese president Xi…

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