China on Road to a Big Crash

November 10, 2018

Relations with China look set to thaw after a lengthy diplomatic freeze brought about by the ­Coalition’s tough response to Chinese influence operations in Australia, cyber theft and a growing rivalry in the South ­Pacific.

Foreign Minister Marise Payne’s two-day visit to Beijing is being touted as an icebreaker. A follow-up visit by Scott Morrison is likely despite China’s displeasure over Canberra’s decision to block a Hong Kong company’s bid for gas pipeline company APA on national interest grounds. Business leaders are delighted Xi Jinping has signalled his apparent willingness to allow foreign companies better access to the Chinese market in a landmark speech to an international import expo in Shanghai this week. Read more

Swap Russia for China and we’re again at ‘war’ – it’s just a cold fact

October 23, 2018

Warnings about a second Cold War between liberal democracies and revisionist autocracies have been dismissed by sceptics as nothing more than right-wing scaremongering. They argue that despite his posturing and false bravado,President Trump has repeatedly proclaimed his affection for his authoritarian Chinese and Russian counterparts. And the trade conflict between the US and China will soon be resolved because it is in neither country’s interests to see the conflict prolonged or worsen since it would be mutually damaging. Read more

China’s Pacific challenge: a chain of credit colonies

September 4, 2018

“That China might build a port with military capabilities on Papua New Guinea’s Manus Island may be the Morrison government’s first serious foreign policy test and should be raised by Foreign Minister Marise Payne at this week’s ­Pacific Islands Forum in Nauru.

Manus Island commands the northern approaches to Australia. It would be a high-value acquisition for the Chinese military, greatly extending its reach into the southwest Pacific Read more

Gloves off in US pushback against China

June 2, 2018

In the unceasing competition between the great powers, this century’s dominant economic and foreign policy story has been China’s breathtaking rise from relative obscurity to the threshold of superpower status.

The accompanying narrative, which has become conventional wisdom in Australia and much of the world, is that the US is in decline and soon will be surpassed by an ascendant and economically irresistible China.
Read more

Competing with China

June 1, 2018

The United States and China are separated not only by divergent interests, some of which might be reconciled, but by incompatible visions for the future of Asia and the world.

There appears to be a growing consensus in Washington, and in the capitals of many other advanced industrial democracies, that prevailing policies towards China have failed and that an alternative approach is now urgently required.  Read more

Korean summit between Kim and Moon crucial to peace

April 20, 2018

The next act in the immensely consequential decades-long Korean nuclear drama takes place on Friday, when the two Koreas launch their much-anticipated summit in the tiny Potemkin village of Panmunjom that straddles the demarcation line separating the divided nation.

The stakes could not be higher. A successful Korean summit is an essential prerequisite and road map for an even more important summit between North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and US President Donald Trump. Read more

Australia Week in China won’t be affected by Canberra-Beijing tensions, officials say

April 15, 2018

New legislation in Australia aimed at curbing foreign interference in domestic affairs may be a sign of growing anxiety about China’s political influence in the country, but officials said it will not jeopardise a planned business event between the two nations.

“The timing of the next Australia Week in China is being discussed between the Australian and Chinese governments,” a spokesman for the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Canberra said. Read more

Australia is the meat in the US-China trade war sandwich

April 7, 2018

US President Donald Trump has brought the world closer to a trade war that could plunge the rules-based global order into an existential crisis. The imposition of tariffs on imported steel and aluminium last month were the opening shots in Trump’s campaign “to level the playing field” for US firms. But his threat to impose punitive tariffs on China, including $US100 billion ($130bn) of additional tariffs on Thursday, risks triggering a serious confrontation with global implications that would be bad news for Australia. Read more

Globalisation and Chinese Grand Strategy

January 29, 2018

China is taking steps intended to reduce its exposure to Western economic coercion, while enhancing its leverage over others.

Deng Xiaoping‘s initiation of the ‘reform and opening up‘ programme at the end of 1978 appears in retrospect to be the decisive turning point in the history of modern China. Increasing reliance on market forces, as opposed to state planning, and deeper integration into the global economy, in place of the old policy of self-imposed isolation and virtual autarky, launched China onto a steep growth trajectory. Read more

China’s Understanding of Global Order Shouldn’t Be Ours

January 24, 2018

Niall Ferguson is a prolific public intellectual who has made a career out of shattering shibboleths. At various points he has defended the achievements of the British Empire, argued that the United Kingdom’s entry into the First World War was “the biggest error in modern history,” and made the case at length that Henry Kissinger is a misunderstood idealist.

Ferguson is at it again. In a recent op-ed, he takes on what he describes as the prevailing “myth of the liberal international order.” This piece appeared in China’s Global Times, a pugnacious nationalistic tabloid published by the official People’s Daily. Read more