Category Archives: BUSINESS

Australia’s revolving-door politics is a serious drag on its Asia strategy

Author: James Curran, Sydney University

Looked at from overseas, the past decade of Australian political history might appear almost recklessly self-indulgent. How could a country boasting 27 years of uninterrupted economic growth also witness no fewer than six changes of prime minister since 2007? This toxic cocktail of ego, impatience and poisonous ideological rivalry has consumed both sides of politics and swung its own wrecking ball through a swathe of much-needed domestic reforms. Its impact on Australia’s place in the world has been much less discussed.

In part, this is because — despite all the turbulence —the country is drawn towards bipartisanship on foreign and defence policy. There is most certainly variance in tone and nuance between the major parties, especially on Australia’s China policy, but if the now-opposition Australian Labor Party wins office at next year’s elections, the differences in policy will be largely of degree rather than of kind.

Then treasurer and now Prime Minister Scott Morrison arrives for a party meeting in Canberra, Australia, 24 August 2018 (Photo: Reuters/David Gray).

” data-medium-file=”http://www.eastasiaforum.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/2018-08-24T025538Z_72501729_RC1FD037BEF0_RTRMADP_3_AUSTRALIA-POLITICS-400×320.jpg” data-large-file=”http://www.eastasiaforum.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/2018-08-24T025538Z_72501729_RC1FD037BEF0_RTRMADP_3_AUSTRALIA-POLITICS-600×480.jpg” title=”Then treasurer and now Prime Minister Scott Morrison arrives for a party meeting in Canberra, Australia, 24 August 2018 (Photo: Reuters/David Gray).” src=”http://www.eastasiaforum.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/2018-08-24T025538Z_72501729_RC1FD037BEF0_RTRMADP_3_AUSTRALIA-POLITICS-400×320.jpg” alt=”Then treasurer and now Prime Minister Scott Morrison arrives for a party meeting in Canberra, Australia, 24 August 2018 (Photo: Reuters/David Gray).” width=”400″ height=”320″ srcset=”http://www.eastasiaforum.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/2018-08-24T025538Z_72501729_RC1FD037BEF0_RTRMADP_3_AUSTRALIA-POLITICS-400×320.jpg 400w, http://www.eastasiaforum.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/2018-08-24T025538Z_72501729_RC1FD037BEF0_RTRMADP_3_AUSTRALIA-POLITICS-150×120.jpg 150w, http://www.eastasiaforum.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/2018-08-24T025538Z_72501729_RC1FD037BEF0_RTRMADP_3_AUSTRALIA-POLITICS-768×614.jpg 768w, http://www.eastasiaforum.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/2018-08-24T025538Z_72501729_RC1FD037BEF0_RTRMADP_3_AUSTRALIA-POLITICS-600×480.jpg 600w, http://www.eastasiaforum.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/2018-08-24T025538Z_72501729_RC1FD037BEF0_RTRMADP_3_AUSTRALIA-POLITICS-263×210.jpg 263w, http://www.eastasiaforum.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/2018-08-24T025538Z_72501729_RC1FD037BEF0_RTRMADP_3_AUSTRALIA-POLITICS-94×75.jpg 94w, http://www.eastasiaforum.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/2018-08-24T025538Z_72501729_RC1FD037BEF0_RTRMADP_3_AUSTRALIA-POLITICS-500×400.jpg 500w” sizes=”(max-width: 400px) 100vw, 400px”>

Given new Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s domestic preoccupations — healing the governing Liberal Party, lowering energy prices and above all getting re-elected — he can do little but keep Australian foreign policy in something of a holding pattern. Other than an Australian presence at regional summits and Morrison’s signing off on deals already in the works, such as the recent Indonesia–Australia Comprehensive Economic Partnership …continue reading

    

Tides of change in the South Pacific

Author: Ewen Levick, Australian Defence Magazine

The tides of geopolitics are lapping on South Pacific shores. The region is seeing greater activity from both China and Russia and the independence vote in New Caledonia is fast approaching. These developments raise significant strategic questions and are worth exploring in greater detail.

Kanak Politicians and delegates: the President of the northern province of the French overseas Pacific archipelago of New Caledonia, Paul Neaoutyine, Gilbert Tyuienon, Vice-President of the Caledonian government, Rock Wamytan, former president of the Kanak and Socialist National Liberation Front, the President of the Loyalty Islands and mayor of Lifou Neko Hnepeune, arrive to attend a meeting, the 27th committee of the signatories of the Noumea Accord, at Hotel Matignon in Paris, France, 27 March 2018 (Photo: Reuters/ Stephane de Sakutin).

” data-medium-file=”http://www.eastasiaforum.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/2018-03-27T120920Z_2121719369_RC1C25E553B0_RTRMADP_3_FRANCE-NEWCALEDONIA-400×273.jpg” data-large-file=”http://www.eastasiaforum.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/2018-03-27T120920Z_2121719369_RC1C25E553B0_RTRMADP_3_FRANCE-NEWCALEDONIA-600×409.jpg” title=”Kanak Politicians and delegates: the President of the northern province of the French overseas Pacific archipelago of New Caledonia, Paul Neaoutyine, Gilbert Tyuienon, Vice-President of the Caledonian government, Rock Wamytan, former president of the Kanak and Socialist National Liberation Front, the President of the Loyalty Islands and mayor of Lifou Neko Hnepeune, arrive to attend a meeting, the 27th committee of the signatories of the Noumea Accord, at Hotel Matignon in Paris, France, 27 March 2018 (Photo: Reuters/ Stephane de Sakutin).” src=”http://www.eastasiaforum.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/2018-03-27T120920Z_2121719369_RC1C25E553B0_RTRMADP_3_FRANCE-NEWCALEDONIA-400×273.jpg” alt=”Kanak Politicians and delegates: the President of the northern province of the French overseas Pacific archipelago of New Caledonia, Paul Neaoutyine, Gilbert Tyuienon, Vice-President of the Caledonian government, Rock Wamytan, former president of the Kanak and Socialist National Liberation Front, the President of the Loyalty Islands and mayor of Lifou Neko Hnepeune, arrive to attend a meeting, the 27th committee of the signatories of the Noumea Accord, at Hotel Matignon in Paris, France, 27 March 2018 (Photo: Reuters/ Stephane de Sakutin).” width=”400″ height=”273″ srcset=”http://www.eastasiaforum.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/2018-03-27T120920Z_2121719369_RC1C25E553B0_RTRMADP_3_FRANCE-NEWCALEDONIA-400×273.jpg 400w, http://www.eastasiaforum.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/2018-03-27T120920Z_2121719369_RC1C25E553B0_RTRMADP_3_FRANCE-NEWCALEDONIA-150×102.jpg 150w, …continue reading

    

Xi and Abe guarantors of Chinese–Japanese entente

Authors: Andrea Fischetti and Antoine Roth, University of Tokyo

It has become something of a cliche for observers of Chinese–Japanese geopolitics to write that Xi Jinping and Shinzo Abe are both strongman nationalist leaders and that this augurs poorly for the relationship between the two countries. But are the leaders themselves really a risk? With Xi ensuring he can lead his country for as long as he desires and with Abe cruising towards re-election next month for a third three-year term as LDP party leader, the question deserves careful consideration.

Chinese President Xi Jinping welcomes Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to the G20 Summit in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, China, 4 September 2016 (Photo: Reuters/Damir Sagolj).

Following two years of confrontation after Japan’s nationalisation of the Senkaku/Diaoyu islands in 2012, Chinese–Japanese relations have in fact been on a steady upwards trajectory. In a delicate and uncertain regional geopolitical context marked by China’s rise, US retrenchment and dangerous flashpoints on the Korean Peninsula and in the South China Sea, this Chinese–Japanese rapprochement is a positive anomaly. Despite their poor reputation, Xi and Abe have contributed to it greatly.

Xi Jinping is determined to lead his country to a ‘great rejuvenation‘ in the coming decades. When it comes to the defence of China’s ‘core interests‘, he has shown no …continue reading

    

Kyoto Nijo Castle Machiya Project – Part 13

– TSUBO-NIWA GARDEN –

Follow our journey as we renovate a traditional machiya townhouse in Kyoto. Once complete, the renovated machiya will be offered for sale.

The tsubo-niwa garden was completed this week in the middle of the typhoon that passed over the Kansai region. We managed to get a few plant deliveries in the morning just before the weather worsened.

A tsubo-niwa generally refers to a (very) small garden, often found at the rear of a house to create some distance and privacy from neighbors. Interior courtyards, called naka-niwa, may be found in larger traditional homes, separating the street portion of the house from the main residence at the rear.

The garden is on the southern side of the house and does get some direct sunlight from above in the summer months. There was no garden when we purchased the house although there were remnants of the former garden – a raised garden bed with stone walls and several garden stones that we have kept.

For the feature plant we chose a lady palm (shurochiku). This is a lot more low maintenance than a Japanese maple. For the ground cover, we used tamaryu (lilyturf), a native plant, with yaburan (another variety of lilyturf), tsuwabuki (leopard plant) and tokusa (rough horsetail) as accents. Some gravel over the concrete base finished the look.

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US economic exclusiveness should encourage Asian inclusiveness

Authors: Tomoo Kikuchi, RSIS and Yohei Tanaka, INPEX

As globalisation fatigue sets in, the United States is turning to protectionism. The questions that now need to be asked are: what are the trends underlying this phenomenon? And how should Asia respond to it?

US President Donald Trump waves during joint statements with China’s President Xi Jinping at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, 9 November 2017 (Photo: Reuters/Thomas Peter).

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The United States was a major crude oil exporter until the 1970s. When oil production declined, the United States became increasingly dependent on oil from the Middle East. In turn, the oil-producing countries invested their trade surplus in US Treasury securities over the coming decades.

Awash with the US dollar, the post-World War II Bretton Woods system became unsustainable by 1973 and led to the twin deficit during the Reagan administration in the 1980s. Still, the growth of financial markets backed by the US dollar continued to support expanding international trade and the world economy in the 1990s and 2000s.

The recycling of the US dollar has run its course, while major central banks have taken a series of monetary easing policies in response to the global financial crisis in 2008. The resulting low-interest rate environment and surging oil price encouraged investment in the US oil industry, leading to the US shale revolution in 2011 that is pushing US oil production above its 1970 levels.

The rise in US oil production could contribute to a reduction not only in the …continue reading