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With Jonathan Pearlman

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China's world-shifting actions

One of the extraordinary features of China’s rise is that the pace of change is so quick that it is possible to identify world-shifting events in real time.

Last Friday, for instance, a Chinese Xian H-6K bomber landed on a narrow airstrip on Woody Island, a disputed speck in the South China Sea.

This was the first time such a plane, …

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Trump’s endgame diplomacy

Triumphant celebrations were expected in Jerusalem following Donald Trump’s decision to move the United States embassy and recognise the city as Israel’s capital, but these were joined this week by scenes of deadly chaos in Gaza. In an episode as laden with symbolism as the embassy itself, television broadcasts switched to split screen: pomp …

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Australia’s island pivot

Australia’s budget on Tuesday included funds for a foreign policy enterprise that, in less interesting times, may have seemed surprising.

In the coming year, the Turnbull government plans to send a handful of diplomats to set up a high commission in Tuvalu, a Pacific nation that, at 26 square kilometres, is one of the smallest countries …

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Macron invites Australia to join the French resistance

Emmanuel Macron arrived in Australia on Tuesday night for a rare visit, fresh from a trip to Washington in which he seemed to do the impossible: he deepened “le bromance” with Donald Trump while criticising the United States president on climate change, trade and isolationism.

Despite his ailing fortunes at home, the globetrotting French …

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An uncertain handshake with North Korea

This Friday, the leader of South Korea – a sixty-five-year-old former human rights lawyer, elected eleven months ago – will meet his counterpart from North Korea, who is aged thirty-four, thirty-five or thirty-six and may have studied physics, or military affairs, before becoming ruler for life.

It will be a historic meeting, the first …

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Balancing Syria's terrible options

For once, it was hard not to agree with a Donald Trump tweet: yes, Bashar al-Assad is a “Gas Killing Animal”. But the difficult part comes next.

In the dark tragedy of Syria, there is no solution, and any action or inaction will involve moral and tactical inconsistency and compromise. It is impossible to determine a response for Australia, …

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Trade wars threaten Australia

When Donald Trump announced his first round of tariffs on China at a special ceremony at the White House last month, Chinese President Xi Jinping said nothing. Instead, China responded with a set of matching tariffs, on products such as soybeans, pork and cars – all targeted at farming and industrial areas, which Trump’s Republicans need …

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Introducing AFA Weekly

AFA Weekly is a free email published each Wednesday by Schwartz Media’s Australian Foreign Affairs journal.

Written and curated by editor Jonathan Pearlman, it features news and insights on crucial world events and their effect on Australia.

It includes links to commentary and reporting by leading foreign policy thinkers from Australia …

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