Asia Pacific

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Most Asia-Pacific governments are more focused on preventing irregular movement of asylum seekers and refugees than addressing the underlying causes of such movement. UNHCR/S.H. Omi

How civil society can improve refugee protection in the Asia-Pacific

In many regional countries there are civil society organisations attempting to fill the protection gap for refugees through service provision, advocacy, or both.
Much to talk about: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang chat during a signing ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. EPA/Kenzaburo Fukuhara

India and China move closer as Modi tours ‘Act East’ policy

India wants closer engagement with its neighbours as it aspires to become a global manufacturing hub. Narendra Modi's visits to China, Mongolia and South Korea are all about promoting this agenda.
Just over a decade ago this boy posed in front of a mound of weapons handed in during a gun amnesty in the Solomon Islands. Today he lives in a nation that is gun-free by law. AAP/Military Public Affairs/W02 Gary Ramage

The Pacific region lives up to its name with disarming success

One sprawling region stands apart for having largely avoided, and at times even reversed, the steady global proliferation of illegal firearms and death by gunshot.
A$1.8 billion is no longer available to help populations in our neighbouring countries achieve a decent standard of health. Gates Foundation/Flickr

How cuts to foreign aid will reduce health care in the region

The federal government’s Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook announcement this week to cut the foreign aid budget by a further A$3.7 billion over three years is unprecedented. The current government has…
Tony Abbott and Julie Bishop are bidding to repair the government’s tarnished reputation on climate - but have they pledged enough? AAP Image/Lukas Coch

Australia’s $200 million climate pledge falls short of its true debt

At the United Nations Lima climate summit, Australia’s foreign minister Julie Bishop has pledged A$200 million over four years to the Green Climate Fund, which seeks to raise US$100 billion (A$120 billion…
Over half of Australia’s imported goods come from the Asia Pacific, which has 78 million child labourers, including these three in a Bangladesh balloon factory. EPA/Abir Abdhullah

Global supply chains link us all to shame of child and forced labour

The fragmentation of global production has dramatically increased the length and complexity of supply chains. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) estimates that more than…
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…
The Australian government has unquestioningly embraced Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe’s nationalistic defence policies. EPA/Kimimasa Mayama

Abe’s Australia visit comes in the wake of constitutional controversy

Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe will today address a joint sitting of the Australian parliament as part of his tour of Oceania. This rare honour comes in the wake of his cabinet’s controversial decision…
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…
A woman protests in Britain against the stoning of people for sexual ‘crimes’. Brunei is moving to apply the Sharia law penalty to gay people. EPA/Facundo Arrizabalaga

As region’s homophobia turns deadly, let’s stand up for rights

Although Australia does not yet allow same-sex couples to marry, it is not a country that is generally described as homophobic. The days of it being a crime to be gay here are, thankfully, a relic of a…
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…
Who’s going to wage war with China over a rock in the ocean? That is why Beijing feels confident in claiming and building on this disputed reef in the South China Sea. EPA

Ukraine crisis offers lessons in how to handle China’s ambitions

Since the end of the Cold War it has become accepted knowledge that economic ties between the major powers prevent conflict. In a world of globalised production chains and capital flows the general argument…
There is a raw interaction of politics, media and the people in Pacific nations such as Vanuatu, scene of this public rally. David Robie

E-libel laws the new front line in Pacific battle for press freedom

Today, while the world marks Press Freedom Day, draconian cyber defamation laws, journalist killings and legal gags are growing threats to the media across the Asia-Pacific. Media intersects with the raw…
Chinese anger at Malaysia’s handling of the search for flight MH370 has had a damaging impact on the bilateral relationship. EPA/Kamal Sellehuddin

The diplomatic fallout from flight MH370 reveals a region on edge

When Malaysian Airlines flight 370 failed to arrive, authorities at first concluded it had crashed in a relatively shallow part of the Gulf of Thailand. As the days passed more countries dispatched ships…
Nearly 60% of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis' global burden occurs in the Asia-Pacific region. DFAT Photo Library/ Flickr

Time to turn back the tide of drug-resistant tuberculosis

Tuberculosis, or consumption as it used to be known, sounds like a disease that we’ve managed to fight off for good. But a drug-resistant strain of the bacteria that causes it is making a comeback, and…
The US is desperate to revitalise its Asia-Pacific hegemony, trying to weave together a web of military and political alliances and relationships. EPA/Jeon Heon-Kyun

Asia-Pacific focus will revitalise US hegemony, but at what price?

When introducing the Pentagon’s US$496 billion budget last week – $31 billion below what President Barack Obama requested – US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel said: We are repositioning to focus on the strategic…
Foreign minister Julie Bishop has reportedly asked the Cambodian government if it would resettle some of the asylum seekers who arrive in Australia by boat. EPA/Mak Remissa

Why resettling asylum seekers in Cambodia is fraught with risk

Amid the ongoing bad news about Manus Island has come the revelation that the Australian government has approached Cambodia with a view to resettling some asylum seekers in the impoverished nation. So…
Rather than axing the Australia Network, the government should rethink our soft diplomacy strategy in spreading Australia’s message to countries such as Indonesia. EPA/Adi Weda

Lost in transmission: the Australia Network, soft power and diplomacy

According to reports, the Abbott government is considering scrapping the ABC’s Australia Network in the May budget to save money, ending its role in “soft diplomacy” efforts in the Asia-Pacific region…

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