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Fact-checking critics of Chinese aid


Author: Alvin Camba, Johns Hopkins University Pundits and journalists have often argued that Chinese loans are expensive and harmful to recipient countries. But they fundamentally misunderstand how Chinese aid and investment works across different countries. Criticisms of Chinese aid suffer from four crucial problems. First, Chinese interest rates have been higher than comparable loans from […]

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Indonesia’s fatal war on drugs


Author: Dave McRae, University of Melbourne Under President Joko Widodo (Jokowi), Indonesia’s war on drugs has taken on a deadly edge. Initially, Jokowi focused on judicial executions, declaring in December 2014 that his government would empty death row of its 64 prisoners sentenced on drugs charges in order to tackle a ‘drugs emergency’. Action followed […]

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China’s ‘three warfares’ in Xinjiang


Author: Michael Clarke, ANU There has been extensive analysis of China’s use of ‘three warfares’ — public opinion, psychological warfare and legal warfare — in the context of external issues like the South China Sea dispute and the Doklam standoff with India. But China has also deployed elements of the ‘three warfares’ to counter a […]

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Australia’s foreign policy white paper


Author: Editorial Board, East Asia Forum The Australian government has published a new Foreign Policy White Paper. It is 14 years since the Howard government launched its own Foreign Affairs and Trade White Paper in 2003, although the Gillard government produced the Australia in the Asian Century White Paper in 2013. Much has changed in Australia’s international environment […]

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Hard work, getting Australia’s foreign policy right


Author: Peter Drysdale, ANU Getting foreign policy right at this point in world diplomatic history has never been more difficult. For that reason the Foreign Policy White Paper launched by Australia’s Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop and Trade, Tourism and Investment Minister Steve Ciobo in Canberra last week is a welcome beginning […]

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Is Indonesia’s fight against forest fires falling short?


Authors: Armida S Alisjahbana, Padjadjaran University and Jonah Busch, Center for Global Development Forest fires sweeping across Sumatra and Kalimantan in recent months prompted six Indonesian provinces to declare a state of emergency. Yet the scale of resources devoted to fighting and preventing fires remains far short of what is needed to turn around Indonesia’s […]

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Canada needs to set a course for its ships in East Asia


Author: Adam P MacDonald, Halifax Over the past several years Canada has begun conducting regular naval deployments throughout East Asia. But the regular dispatching of the Royal Canadian Navy does not constitute but rather begets the need for a regional strategy to guide and legitimise these missions — something successive governments have failed to do. […]

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Legitimacy and longevity in Singapore’s reserved presidency


Authors: Isabel Chew and Kai Ostwald, University of British Columbia Singapore’s new President Halimah Yacob is a widely liked and respected former speaker of parliament, as well as the first female ever and first Malay in five decades to become the largely ceremonial head of state. Yet what looks like a milestone for Singapore is […]

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Kyrgyzstan rejects authoritarian trend in Central Asia


Author: Kirill Nourzhanov, ANU On 15 October 2017, Kyrgyzstan held presidential elections that marked a milestone for the country and may have significant regional implications. For the first time since independence in 1991, power changed hands in Kyrgyzstan peacefully and through regular electioneering. The Social Democratic Party (SDPK) candidate, Sooronbay Jeenbekov, won 54.3 per cent […]

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No opposition to Cambodia’s lack of opposition


Author: Kongkea Chhoeun, ANU The prospect of a political equilibrium in Cambodia faded when the Cambodian Supreme Court dissolved the country’s only opposition party on 16 November. After a complaint by the Cambodian People’s Party-led government, the court disbanded the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) on the grounds that the party had associated itself with […]

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