Neighborly Strife

By Greg Torode, Chief Asia Correspondent, South China Morning Post The unfolding diplomatic battle between China and the US over the region is, at this point, producing more heat than light. The running rhetorical skirmishes see mainland commentators rail against US…

Absent in Danang: Urgent Need for A US Trade Policy in Asia

The gap in US strategy for intensifying its engagement in Southeast Asia is clearly trade. While the United States is starting to connect the dots diplomatically and on security architecture, our trade professionals, some of the most hard-core, experienced Southeast Asia hands in the Administration, are essentially benched as they wait for political and policy decisions to put the US trade leadership back into the game.

Green Foreign Policy: Feeling Queasy

By Andrew Shearer, Director of Studies and Senior Research Fellow, Lowy Institute for International Policy As the horse-trading continues to see whether Labor or the Coalition can form a government, one thing about this election is clear: the Greens have emerged…

Vietnam's Defensive Diplomacy

Asia’s military landscape is shifting, and nowhere more so than in maritime Southeast Asia. This week saw another major development: the inaugural U.S.-Vietnam defense policy dialogue in Hanoi.

Tuesday’s meeting builds on triennial exchanges of defense ministers begun in 2000 and marks a definite turning point in bilateral relations. Since 2008, the two countries have conducted an annual Political, Security and Defense Dialogue under the auspices of the U.S. State Department and Vietnam’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Now they have developed a high-level channel for direct military-to-military discussions under their respective defense department.

BURMA: Frustrations Do Not a Policy Make

[I]mposing additional sanctions on Burma’s regime or forming still more commissions will only salve our consciences. Neither will help the Burmese people, persuade the government to loosen its grip on the population, or even assist the United States in meeting its strategic or humanitarian objectives. In fact, such moves would hinder negotiations and relations with a new government that, even if far from a model for governance, would probably give the Burmese more political voice and freedom than they have had in half a century.

US Shores Up Strategic Assets in Asia

By Philip Bowring, Op-Ed Contributor, International Herald Tribune The United States has been gravely weakened by its Iraq and Afghan wars and consequent neglect of the strategic importance of East Asia. But two recent moves by Washington – the joint…

Reconciling Sovereignty with Responsibility: Burma and ASEAN

The pattern is unmistakable. Burma’s record suggests that government killings of other ethnic groups constitute at least crimes against humanity, if not genocide, as stated in Article 7 of the Rome Statute. These largely overlooked violations are unacceptable to humanity and Southeast Asia’s budding democracy. ASEAN must reconcile its respect for sovereignty with expectations of a modern state to prevent mass atrocity crimes in Southeast Asia.

Sweet and Sour: Australian Public Attitudes Towards China

By Andrew Shearer, Director of Studies and Senior Research Fellow, Lowy Institute for International Policy Executive Summary The 2010 Lowy Poll shows that Australians are increasingly conscious of China’s rise and are starting to grapple with its implications. Indeed China…

Answer: Washington, DC

The 2nd US ASEAN Summit needs to be held in Washington, DC. When inviting ten foreign leaders from a strategically vital region to meet the President of the United States, symbolism and form are vitally important. The Washington choice sends the right messages at the right time.

The New Class of US Ambassadors in ASEAN

The US Ambassadors to the ASEAN countries rotate every three years or so. For the most part, with the exception of Singapore, they tend to be experienced career foreign service officers. A new class is making its way into the region. They a relatively young group with strong resumes and solid experience.

Lesson Jakarta Could Learn from Bangkok – Strengthen Institutions before Crisis

Now is the right time to invest in strengthening key democratic institutions in Indonesia, and indeed around the region, so that if a test comes in the national elections in 2014 or in other ways that can’t be predicted, they can protect the veracity of Indonesia’s nascent democracy and the rights of its deserving citizens and avoid the bloodshed that Thais have sadly endured.