Entrenched Islamic State ‘caliphate’ in Philippines could bring chemical, suicide attacks to Australian cities

March 19, 2018

There are growing signs that Islamic State cells are preparing for violent insurgencies in southern Philippines to build a prized so-called caliphate on Australia’s backdoor.

The establishment of an entrenched caliphate in the Philippines, at worst, brings the risk of suicide bombers and chemical weapons attacks in Australian cities, a leading Australian expert has warned. Read more

Tweets aside, US North Korea strategy is working.

October 8, 2017

The escalating war of words between Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un has fuelled concerns that the region is on a dangerous trajectory to a nuclear conflict that could have calamitous global consequences. Since 1947, nuclear scientists have maintained a ‘Doomsday Clock’ that symbolically measures how close the world is to a man-made global cataclysm, represented by midnight. The clock now shows two and a half minutes to midnight and ticking, the closest it has been to catastrophe since the US exploded the first hydrogen bomb in 1953. Read more

Danger Ahead as Asia’s Long Peace Ends

September 3, 2017

The latest volley of North Korean ballistic missiles, one of which flew over northern Japan, has pushed tensions on the Korean peninsula to a perilous tipping point where war is no longer unimaginable. The real prospect of a military conflict between nuclear-armed North Korea and the US and its allies underscores the recent deterioration in Australia’s security environment. It raises the question of whether our foreign policy is calibrated for the challenges ahead in a world that is becoming a far more dangerous and volatile place.
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Korea’s Kim Baits Trump with Missile

February 18, 2017

North Korea’s provocative test launch of a new ballistic missile last weekend is a sobering reminder that Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons program is one of the world’s most dangerous and intractable security issues. Read more

Joko Widodo’s visit a chance to build solid partnership

November 4, 2016

President Joko Widodo’s forthcoming visit to Australia is an oppor­tunity to reset relations with Indonesia after three years of ­remarkable turbulence, even by the volatile standards of the past.

But a cautionary reminder: Australian governments are prone to excessive exuberance about the prospects for enhanced relations with Indonesia Read more

Lessons in Indonesia’s pushback approach to Sino aggression

June 28, 2016

China’s behaviour in the South China Sea is beginning to resemble that of the imperialist great powers it once condemned. Its fishing boats are now intruding regularly into Indonesia’s exclusive economic zone around the Natuna Island group at the southern end of the South China Sea, jeopardising relations with Southeast Asia’s largest state and directly challenging the rules based order which Australia supports. Read more

China picks an unlikely fight in its battle for territory in the South China Sea

June 24, 2016

Less than a week after an Indonesian warship clashed with a fleet of Chinese fishing vessels off the coast of the Natuna Islands, the symbolism was unmistakable.

On Thursday, Indonesian President Joko Widodo presided over a cabinet meeting on the exact same ship, the KRI Imam Bonjol, near where the clash took place, more than 1000km north of his usual political areana in the capital Jakarta. Read more

Japan turns to Australia in search for friends

April 17, 2016

Calibrated to take advantage of Japan’s rapidly changing political and security landscape Foreign Minister Julie Bishop’s call this week for a deeper, closer strategic and defence partnership with Japan is a water shed moment in the bilateral relationship which promises to deliver significant benefits for both countries, although it won’t be risk free.

The culmination of 26 years of patient Australian diplomacy, dating back to former Chief of the Defence Force, General Peter Gration’s, ground-breaking first defence visit to Japan in 1989, Bishop has timed her initiative well. It dovetails neatly with the Abe government’s more outward looking security stance, a response to the burgeoning foreign policy and strategic challenges Japan confronts.
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