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14 December 2022

The View from Vietnam

Australia and Vietnam have conducted a series of high-level meetings in recent months, as they try to cement a relationship that both now view as increasingly important.          

In June, Australia’s foreign minister, Penny Wong, visited Hanoi – her first trip to a South-East Asian country since taking office – and three months …

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9 November 2022

The View from Indonesia

As neighbouring countries, Indonesia and Australia are bound to share the same security concerns, and this is true of the way they see the rise of China. But, while both countries agree that China poses a potential threat to regional peace, security and order, they differ in strategy. One is for containment, the other is for cooperation.

In …

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28 September 2022

First Nations ambassador

Last week, the Australian government announced that it was seeking applicants for an Ambassador for First Nations People to head a new Office of First Nations Engagement within the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT). This follows the launch of DFAT’s Indigenous Diplomacy Agenda last year, which seeks to promote norms and standards that …

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21 September 2022

Modi, Xi chide Putin

The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation meeting in Samarkand, Uzbekistan, last week provided Vladimir Putin with his first opportunity to meet face-to-face with President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Narendra Modi since Russia invaded Ukraine. Putin may have been hoping for a continuation of the verbal, if not practical, support of Beijing and the …

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14 September 2022

Timor-Leste ties

Last week Timor-Leste’s president, José Ramos-Horta, visited Australia and signed a new defence cooperation agreement that followed a decade of negotiations between the two countries. Such agreements are the bedrock of security coordination. They establish the responsibilities and protections each defence force has when operating in the other’s …

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7 September 2022

Penny Wong in PNG

Australian foreign minister, Penny Wong, continued her neighbourhood outreach last week with a trip to Port Moresby, which had been delayed until after the election in Papua New Guinea (PNG). James Marape has been returned to the prime ministership, but Wong now has a new PNG counterpart, Justin Tkatchenko, who was raised in Australia and moved to …

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31 August 2022

Marles’ submarine hunt

Australia’s defence minister, Richard Marles, has made a brief visit to Europe this week, meeting with his counterparts in France, Germany and the United Kingdom. In the UK he toured several shipyards, with an eye on deciding whether Australia should choose British or American nuclear-powered submarines under the AUKUS deal – the eighteen-month …

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24 August 2022

Timor-Leste eyes China

Timor-Leste’s president, José Ramos-Horta, has learnt from Pacific islands countries that fear of Chinese influence is an incredibly effective way to get the West’s attention. The maritime boundary dispute between Australia and Timor-Leste was finally settled in 2018, but since then there has been another conflict over how best to exploit the …

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17 August 2022

Geopolitics trumps democracy

Last month, Biman Prasad, leader of Fiji’s National Federation Party, asserted that Australia and New Zealand are ignoring democratic decay within the Pacific due to a fear of pushing island countries toward China. Prasad was primarily concerned with Fiji, yet the claim could be extended to Solomon Islands.

A bill was tabled last week in …

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10 August 2022

Taiwan crisis

China has responded aggressively to a visit to Taiwan by the speaker of the United States House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, by conducting several days of military exercises encircling the island. But Beijing’s missives have also been rhetorical, including several launched in Australia’s direction.

After the foreign minister, Penny …

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