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Powerful waves of nationalist sentiment have endured since the second world war and continue to pose difficulties for the leaders of Japan and China. EPA/Kim Kyung-Hoon

War anniversary promises year of difficulty for Asia’s rival powers

The fog of the second world war and the murkiness of the post-war settlement laid the contours of Asia's complex and uncertain strategic landscape.
AAP/Jason Reed

AIIB: Abbott’s incredible investment backflip

Even for a government that has recently made an artform of policy backflips, the Abbott government’s belated, but seemingly inevitable decision to join China’s proposed Asian Infrastructure Investment…
Even in retirement, the late Lee Kuan Yew cast a long shadow from which Singapore has yet to fully emerge. EPA/Stephen Morrison

Lee Kuan Yew leaves behind an ambiguous legacy in Singapore

Lee Kuan Yew literally helped put Singapore on the map. Its subsequent influence far outstrips the tiny island’s geopolitical significance.
In the end, Tony Abbott – pictured with Xi Jinping and mining magnate Andrew Forrest – can’t ignore the economic consequences of snubbing China’s investment bank. AAP/Alan Porritt

US puts Australia on the spot with zero-sum game on China’s bank

The US gravely miscalculated in trying to get China to accept the existing global order. Forced to make a choice, America's closest allies are joining the Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank.
Chee Soon Juan, pictured campaigning for Singapore’s 2011 general elections, hopes to build on that success in the next election, which is widely expected to be held early, possibly even this year. Wikimedia Commons/Dexterleezh

Talking a bird down from a tree: a conversation with Chee Soon Juan

The Lee dynasty and their People's Action Party have ruled Singapore since 1959, but their grip on power has weakened. Opposition leader Chee Soon Juan talks about about his long fight for change.
US Army members carry out an evacuation drill in Thailand during the Cobra Gold joint military exercises, which have gone ahead this month with a reduced American role. EPA/Diego Azubel

Does US pressure really risk driving Thailand into China’s arms?

The US is trying to play a careful game of not appearing to interfere in Thailand's internal affairs.
The Genbaku Dome at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial has long been the focus of remembrance and now also serves as a site for reconciliation between former enemies. Saleem H. Ali

The case for Japan to play a bigger part in global affairs and security

The horrific murder of Japanese nationals by Islamic State (IS) terrorists in early February has sparked a pensive debate about whether the pacifist Japanese constitution is an anachronism. Article 9 of…
It is hard to understand exactly where Indonesia under Joko Widodo stands on the death penalty. EPA/Mast Irham

Indonesia’s stance on the death penalty has become incoherent

For months, Indonesian President Joko Widodo – popularly known as Jokowi – has repeatedly stated his determination to show no mercy to drug offenders facing execution. Jokowi is even reported as having…
If Tony Abbott loses office in the near future, his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe will suffer a not-inconsiderable setback. EPA/Barbara Walton

Why Japan has a big stake in the fate of Tony Abbott’s leadership

As Prime Minister Tony Abbott dusts himself down after what might be the first of a number of challenges to his leadership, interest in Japan about Australian politics is acute. Japanese political elites…
Silencing dissent: Thai police officers secure the area after the military junta prevented former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra from holding a press conference after her impeachment. EPA/Rungroj Yongrit

While the military junta buries democracy, the Thai state is failing

Growing edginess on both sides of Thai politics about the performance of the military government is proving to be quite justified. The National Legislative Assembly (NLA) has made clear the centrality…
Ousted prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra’s impeachment is but the latest act in Thailand’s political tragedy. EPA/Narong Sangnak

Yingluck impeachment is an execution of Thai democracy

No-one should be surprised that Thailand’s former prime minister, Yingluck Shinawatra, has been impeached by the military-appointed National Legislative Assembly. This was one more act in a political tragedy…
Death row inmates Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan find themselves at the centre of a series of complex Indonesian political controversies. AAP/Mick Tsikas

Bali Nine: hypocrisy, politics and courts play out in death row lottery

One of the strongest arguments against the death penalty is that its administration is fundamentally unfair. Too often, the question of who receives a death sentence and whether and when it is actually…
Bob Hawke on a 1984 visit to China. His government implemented policies which boosted Asian engagement. National Archives

Cabinet papers 1989: The origins of Asian engagement

The Hawke government in the 1980s is widely considered to be the most competent and effective of recent years. Some may say this is not setting the bar terribly high, but the cabinet papers of 1988-89…
Only a community development approach can truly result in ‘build back better’ when it comes to responding to natural disasters such as the Boxing Day tsunami. EPA/Peter Endig

Boxing Day tsunami: balancing social and physical recovery

There have been many natural disasters since the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, but none have exceeded it in the combination of scale and scope of its destructive impacts. The scale of devastation for coastal…
Shinzo Abe’s decisive win at the weekend’s Japanese election has given his LDP a mandate for sweeping reform. EPA/Kimimasa Mayama

Abe’s early election gambit pays off

As widely expected, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has led his conservative Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) to a landslide victory in the country’s snap election. The LDP holds a 291-seat majority in…
Australia is now the most China-dependent economy in the world – does this pose a problem for our future? AAP/Alan Porritt

Australia’s China dependence: do we need a Plan B?

If something can’t go on for ever, it won’t. – Herb Stein, chief economic adviser to former US president Richard Nixon. China’s economic rise has been a good news story for Australia. According to most…

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