North Korean state media is reporting scenes of unrestrained public sadness at the death of long time leader Kim Jong-il. State media reported that Kim, 69, died of a heart attack while traveling on a train.
Indonesia and Malaysia recently began talks about their shared border near Indonesia’s West Kalimantan province, according to an Indonesian Foreign Ministry spokesman. In an email interview, Dave McRae, a research fellow in the East Asia Program at the Lowy Institute for International Policy, discussed Indonesia-Malaysia relations. WPR: What is the recent history of Indonesia-Malaysia relations? Dave McRae: Recent Indonesia-Malaysia relations have featured regular public and diplomatic controversies, but the relationship is nevertheless underpinned by solid economic ties and the routine business of bilateral cooperation. A broad range of issues have spurred tensions between Indonesia and Malaysia. The countries’ navies have […]
Last week’s historic visit to Myanmar by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton represents the culmination of the Obama administration’s policy shift toward the pariah state. Launched in September 2009 to establish a new starting point in the relationship between the two countries, the engagement with Myanmar is part of the broader U.S. effort to play a primary role in the fast-evolving Asia-Pacific region. By contrast, the European Union seems unable to keep up with the economic and political changes taking place in Asia, and instead appears simply to follow Washington’s lead without needed policy debates within the union. EU […]
The sinking of the South Korean corvette Cheonan by a North Korean submarine in March 2010 has already been recognized as a human tragedy and a significant escalation by Pyongyang in its multi-decade confrontation with Seoul. But in the years ahead, the Cheonan incident may come to be remembered more as the inaugural event in a new era of subsurface naval competition and confrontation in the Asia-Pacific region. Asia’s rising powers are investing in submarine capabilities at unprecedented levels, and the nature of this investment is fundamentally changing the region’s subsurface environment. While this trend is certainly part of a […]
A look at Vietnam’s recent diplomatic moves shows Hanoi increasingly diversifying and intensifying its relations with major powers, a pattern that should be seen as an effort by Hanoi to deal with a more forceful China. Like many countries in the region, Vietnam is increasingly dependent on either direct or indirect economic links with fast-growing China. Furthermore, Vietnam’s political and economic system is similar to — if not modeled after — China’s. Maintaining a friendly relationship with their big neighbor is therefore the top priority of Vietnam’s leaders. Both sides have officially pledged to build a comprehensive partnership, guided by […]
Australia recently sent two naval ships to participate in a joint naval exercise with Indonesia. In an email interview, Fergus Hanson, director of polling and a research fellow at the Lowy Institute for International Policy, discussed Australia-Indonesia relations. WPR: What is the recent trajectory of Australia-Indonesia relations? Fergus Hanson: Australia-Indonesia relations remain caught in a deep rut. At a people-to-people level there is entrenched distrust. Polling in both countries reveals widespread negative perceptions and suspicions of the other country. Each year since 2006, the Lowy Institute Poll has asked Australians to rate their feelings towards Indonesia on a zero to […]