Australia

Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, Japan's Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi, Australia's Foreign Minister Marise Payne and U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo pose for a picture prior the Quad ministerial meeting in Tokyo, Japan, 6 October 2020. (Kiyoshi Ota/Pool via REUTERS)

Containing China: Will the Quad become an Asian mini-NATO?

With the foreign ministers of the US, Japan, India, and Australia convening in Tokyo for their latest ministerial quadrilateral security dialogue meeting last week, and the US especially keen to contain China through this grouping, economics professor Zhu Ying wonders: Will the Quad become an Asian mini-NATO?
Democratic U.S. presidential nominee Joe Biden speaks during a campaign stop in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, 6 October 2020. (Kevin Lamarque/REUTERS)

How a Biden presidency can win back lost American influence in Southeast Asia

If elected the president of the US, Joe Biden will not necessarily gain traction in Southeast Asia by simply not being Trump. He will have to bring tangible economic and political options to the table, and harness the intrinsic power of America’s network of allies and partners.
Flags of the United States and China are placed for a meeting between the U.S. secretary of agriculture and China's minister of agriculture at the Ministry of Agriculture in Beijing, China. (Jason Lee/REUTERS)

The biggest challenge in China's diplomacy

US-China strategic competition has had an adverse effect on Indo-Pacific tensions, from issues such as Taiwan, the South China Sea, to China-India border conflicts and China-Australia relations. Political scientist Zhu Zhiqun says China’s international and regional outlook will not improve if this underlying issue is not resolved.
A woman looks out to the Indian Ocean at Meulaboh beach in Aceh on 12 July 2020. (Chaideer Mahyuddin/AFP)

India in the Indo-Pacific: Reining in China in the new theatre of great power rivalry

In recent times, the Indo-Pacific has evolved from being a geographical concept to a political and strategic construct that means different things to different countries. With Covid-19 turning the international tide against China, proponents of ensuring a “free and open Indo-Pacific” have found more incentive to rally together. Among them, dominant stakeholders such as India can play a bigger role to balance the perceived threat.
HMAS Parramatta (C) breaks away from USS America (R) and USS Bunker Hill (L) on completion of officer of the watch manoeuvres in the South China Sea, in this 18 April 2020 handout photo. (Australia Department Of Defence/Handout via REUTERS)

Australia boosting security relations with Southeast Asia and the US in the face of heightened threats

Australia’s recently-released defence update may be the most consequential document yet in terms of Canberra’s defence relations with Southeast Asia. Australia is asking its Southeast Asia partners to do more, while offering them more in return. It is also boosting its military self-reliance and its alliance relationship with the US.
People walk before the Opera House, usually packed with tourists, in Sydney, on 18 May 2020. (Saeed Khan/AFP)

China-Australia relations: Downward spiral as Australia plays 'deputy sheriff' to the US?

Political scientist Zhu Zhiqun traces the downward spiral of China-Australia relations made worse by the Covid-19 outbreak. From Australia’s perspective, much of it stems from fear, both its own and projected from the US, of the China threat. Despite the gloom, all is not lost if both sides choose to focus on what binds the two societies together, rather than what drives them apart.
A Keep Calm and Carry On flag flies in the garden of a home in Bodiam, southern England, 9 April 2020. China-Britain ties have cooled in the past few months. (Ben Stansall/AFP)

From 'natural partner' to the opposition: UK's China policy veers towards the US amid Covid-19

In some ways, the UK has been independent of the US in making decisions when it comes to China, such as in joining the AIIB, and initially deciding to allow the use of Huawei’s equipment for its 5G network. However, the coronavirus and the new national security law for Hong Kong has pushed Britain to be more aligned with the US in opposing China. Chinese academic Zhu Ying notes that Britain’s new stance would embolden others to follow suit.
People walk past a tree with a mask and eyes stapled on it, in Melbourne, on 20 April 2020. (William West/AFP)

Chewing gum on the sole of China's shoes? Australia-China relations take a nosedive

China's Global Times editor Hu Xijin called Australia the “chewing gum stuck on the sole of China’s shoes”. The Chinese public seems to agree and wants to “find a stone to rub it off”. This is but a sampling of Chinese reactions to recent statements by Australian leaders. That Australia's calls for China to be part of a Covid-19 independent international inquiry strike a strident tone is not unexpected, given that negative attitudes towards China have been simmering in Australia for quite a while now.   
The Karnak Temple in Luxor, Egypt is pictured on 1 March 2020 with the Chinese flag projected on it in solidarity with the Chinese people amid the Covid-19 pandemic. (AFP)

‘Wolf-warrior diplomacy’: China's new normal?

Taking an aggressive stance will do Chinese diplomats little good in their efforts to control the narrative, says Zhu Zhiqun. In fact, such behaviour offends the very people they hope to persuade. However, is wolf-warrior diplomacy becoming the new normal?