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7 April 2021

Foreign-student diplomacy

Australia has commenced an international education overhaul, which could lead to big changes in the sector.

The number of foreign students admitted is likely to drop, their countries of origin may be different, and fewer students may be educated on Australian campuses. More teaching will be delivered online, and course offerings to foreign …

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31 March 2021

Battle for Myanmar

On Sunday, defence force chiefs from Australia and eleven other countries issued a joint statement urging the Myanmar military to “cease violence and work to restore respect and credibility with the people of Myanmar”.

The chiefs were responding to the massacre of more than 100 people by Myanmar’s security forces on Saturday – the …

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24 March 2021

US–China manoeuvring

Top officials of the Biden administration and the Chinese government met for the first time last week in Alaska. The talks started with an unusually acrimonious public exchange, which seemed to suggest the US–China relationship was entering a new phase of confrontation.

But the talks ended with officials making more positive comments, which …

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17 March 2021

The Quad rises

The leaders of the countries belonging to the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue – United States, Japan, India and Australia – met for the first time last Saturday.

The Quad failed to get off the ground ten years ago, due to differences among its members, but it has taken much firmer shape over the past four years. Last week’s online meeting …

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10 March 2021

China choices

China’s legislature, the National People’s Congress, began its annual meeting last week. Its discussion so far has underlined the competing images China now presents to the world.

Premier Li Keqiang announced a target of at least six per cent annual economic growth for the year. Li’s announcement signalled an unexpected return to China’s …

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3 March 2021

Myanmar stand-off

Myanmar’s United Nations ambassador, Kyaw Moe Tun, has been sacked after publicly criticising the military coup that occurred in his country in February.

As the military violence against protesters intensified this week, the junta said Tun had spoken on behalf of an unofficial organisation that didn’t represent the country. Tun was appointed …

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24 February 2021

Facebook diplomacy

Scott Morrison moved quickly last week to seek support from foreign leaders for Australia’s showdown with Facebook, which led to the tech giant banning news from its Australian platform.

Given the potential economic power a global technology platform can wield in a dispute – even with a relatively large economy, such as Australia – seeking …

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17 February 2021

Modi faces revolt

For the past three months, farmers in India have been protesting against federal laws that will deregulate the country’s tightly controlled food markets. The farmers say the changes will leave them vulnerable to exploitation by large commodity companies.

The protests have taken on national and even international significance, because they …

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10 February 2021

Divides over Myanmar

Last Friday, the leaders of Indonesia and Malaysia proposed a special meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations to discuss the military takeover in Myanmar.

Normally, special meetings would be initiated by the ASEAN chair – currently Brunei – which can be slow to act, as members do not traditionally interfere in one another’s …

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3 February 2021

Coup in Myanmar

On Monday, armed forces seized control of Myanmar. Declaring a one-year state of emergency, the military detained the leader of the ruling National League for Democracy party, Aung San Suu Kyi, along with other civilian politicians. It alleges that the NLD fraudulently won the November 2020 election against the military-aligned opposition.

The …

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