Articles on Asia

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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…
In a continuing dispute over the annulled 2013 election, the voters of the Maldives are demanding to be heard. Dying Regime

Voting in Asia: not meaningless charades, but public wants more

Is it possible to opine about “the state of democracy in Asia”? Although some studies credibly do so, such a task seems challenging to say the least. This is due to the region’s proverbial diversity. And…
Random House

Asia’s Cauldron: is geography destiny?

How times change. One of the more unexpected ideas to emerge from Tony Abbott’s largely successful tour of northeast Asia is that Australia’s relationship with China can be built on mutual trust. It’s…
Joko Widodo is seen as the most committed to human rights of Indonesia’s potential leaders, but it’s not a big issue in coming legislative and presidential elections. EPA/Mast Irham

Half a century on, victims’ voices haunt a democratic Indonesia

The Indonesian army and civilian vigilantes killed at least half a million people between 1965 and 1968. Hundreds of thousands more were imprisoned without trial for long periods. Some were sent to remote…

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