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

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Australia’s aid to North Korea: a short history and future issues

The prospect of a new global deal to halt and reverse the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s (DPRK) nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs raises the question of what role Australia might play in supporting such an agreement. While remaining ‘cautiously optimistic’ about the likelihood of an effective and durable agreement, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has stated in the wake of the recent ‘Singapore Summit’ that the Australian Government is assessing whether it could offer expertise to assist with the verification of any future North Korean actions to dismantle its nuclear capability. Read more...

A different kind of ‘pivot’: the Trump administration’s proposed aid cuts and Australia’s region

A 24 April article in Foreign Policy magazine reports on a leaked United States Government internal budget document detailing proposed cuts to the State Department and US Agency for International Development (USAID) programs for fiscal year (FY) 2018. If these cuts are enacted, some of Australia’s closest and poorest neighbours would be among the most severely affected.  Read more...

Australian foreign policy in 2017: a year of delivery?

This year is shaping up as a big year for Australian foreign policy. This FlagPost highlights some of the key milestones expected over the coming months Read more...

The neighbours go to the polls: upcoming elections in Australia’s region

While much of the global focus in 2017 will be on the implications of a new administration in the US and political contests in countries such as Germany and France, there will also be important elections in Australia’s region. Read more...

A smaller ‘Indo-Pacific’: more detail on Australia’s 2015–16 aid cuts

In the wake of further reductions to Australia’s Official Development Assistance (ODA) programs in the 2016–17 Budget, recent government responses to Questions on Notice (QoN) from Senate Additional Estimates hearings reveal more about where previous cuts have been applied. Read more...

2016—a big year for Laos

This year will be an important year for the Lao People’s Democratic Republic (PDR).  Laos is among Asia’s smallest and poorest nations, but is also one of the world’s fastest growing economies.  In January, the communist Lao People's Revolutionary Party (LPRP), from which the country’s secretive ruling elite is drawn, completed its tenth party congress and chose Mr Bounnhang Vorachit, 78, as its new leader.   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...

Japan resurgent
Chatham House / Wikimedia Commons

Japan resurgent

This week’s visit to Australia by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe marks a further step in the resurgence of Japan as a global power. It is also a key event for both Australia and Japan in affirming new regional roles and relations. Read more...

The Thai coup amid broader concerns

The recent assumption of political control in Thailand by the military has induced concerns around the world, for diverse but not always openly-expressed reasons. Read more...

Aung San Suu Kyi and Australia’s new relationship with Myanmar

The Australian Government has confirmed that Aung San Suu Kyi will visit Australia from 27 November to 2 December. This will be Suu Kyi’s first visit to Australia and follows her visits to the US, the UK, Europe, Japan, Singapore, and Thailand over the last eighteen months.Traditionally, Western images of Suu Kyi have portrayed her as a lone heroine fighting tyrannical army generals. As Myanmar experts like Andrew Selth have argued, with her release from house arrest in late 2010 and the far-reaching reforms that are taking place in Myanmar, Suu Kyi now inhabits a much more complex set of roles in contemporary Myanmar politics.First, Suu Kyi is the leader of a political party, the National L... Read more...

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