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Flagpost is a blog on current issues of interest to members of the Australian Parliament

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The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank gears up

In anticipation of the commencement of operations in 2016, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) has been increasing its engagement with potential clients and development partners.  The AIIB is one of three major new infrastructure financing initiatives led by China—the other two are the New Development Bank and the Silk Road Fund. The AIIB will have a total authorised capital of US$100 billion and initially aims to lend between US$10 and US$15 billion a year. Read more...

Presidents of China and Taiwan meet

While it may not match the geopolitical significance of Nixon’s visit to China, the meeting between China’s President Xi Jinping and Taiwan’s President Ma Ying-jeou is noteworthy. Held in Singapore on 7 November, it was the first meeting between the leaders of China and Taiwan since Chiang Kai-shek’s nationalists abandoned the mainland and retreated to Taiwan in 1949. Today the mainland People’s Republic of China (PRC) considers Taiwan to be a rogue province and has reserved the right to compel unification by force if the island issues a formal declaration of independence. Given the long history of enmity between the two sides, during which both h... Read more...

China to move production capacity offshore

With the ructions in the South China Sea having monopolised the China headlines of late, a key PRC policy initiative possibly more significant for the expansion of China’s influence regionally and globally has passed under the radar.  In April, at the Lanting forum held in Hebei, PRC Foreign Minister Wang Yi gave a speech entitled ‘Promote industrial cooperation for common development’. He noted that the forum was intended as ‘a new platform for provinces and cities such as Hebei to expand exchanges and industrial cooperation with other countries’. Read more...

Confucius Institutes and Chinese soft power in Australia

In September 2014, Education Minister Christopher Pyne delivered a talk entitled China and Australia— Our Valued Education Relationship  at Peking University’s Australian Studies Centre. The speech touched on many issues, and was largely uncontentious. However, one particular paragraph is noteworthy for its comments in an area becoming very controversial globally. Read more...

Chinese President to Visit Tasmania

Chinese President Xi Jinping will be making a short visit to Tasmania following his participation in the G20 meeting in Brisbane and his address to a joint sitting of the Australian Parliament on 17 November. The choice of destination is unusual and certainly not one which dignitaries visiting Australia often consider. So why Tasmania? Read more...

WTO rules Chinese rare earth minerals export limits breach the GATT 1994

In March 2014 a Panel established by the Dispute Settlement Body of the World Trade Organization (WTO) ruled that export controls on rare earth mineral put in place by China contravened the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade 1994 (GATT).  Read more...

Australia, the United States and China: the debates continue

The Prime Minister’s recent visit to Washington, where he urged the Americans to continue their ‘pivot to Asia’, occurred at a time when a range of other voices across Australia is expressing diverse thoughts on how Australia might further adjust its symbiotic relationships with both the US and China. Read more...

China’s new leadership—personalities, process, politics, priorities

China’s eighteenth National Communist Party Congress has concluded with the unveiling of its new leadership team, the Politburo Standing Committee.  This is the fourth leadership transition since the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) came to power in 1949 and marks the shift to China’s ‘fifth generation’ of political leaders.  The transition takes place as China continues its ascendancy as a regional and global power and at the same time as the CCP is attempting to manage a range of social, economic, and political challenges.The personalitiesAt a press conference in Beijing on 15 November, following the week-long Party Congress, China’s new leadership was unveiled to its people and the world.  ... Read more...

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