Browsing All Posts filed under »East Asia«

North Korea’s New Light Water Nuclear Reactor: A Proliferation Risk?

September 5, 2012 by

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BY BEN HABIB. North Korea has recommenced construction of an experimental light water nuclear reactor (LWR) at its nuclear facility at Yongbyon, with completion slated for late 2013.  The Kim regime has previously stated that the new LWR and its already operational uranium enrichment facility at Yongbyon are intended for electric power generation and not […]

Women in Modern China

June 19, 2012 by

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BY JESS MARSHALL. In recent history, China and its people have undergone a remarkable change in identity. Undeniably, the role of women has been an area of rapid change and development, with women playing an integral role in the shaping of modern China. From the physical oppression of foot binding in a patriarchal world, to gendered sameness in a communist state, to the modern rhetoric of equality of the sexes, Chinese women have instigated and experienced rebellion, revolution and reform.

PODCAST: Korea — A Divided Nation

May 8, 2012 by

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BY BEN HABIB. On Monday 7th May 2012, I delivered a guest lecture entilted Korea: A Fractured Nation to second and third year students studying the subject Contemporary Politics of the Asia-Pacific Region (POL2/3CPA) at La Trobe University's Melbourne campus. The content of this lecture, along with other lectures in this subject, will form the basis for an international conflict negotiation simulation workshop structured around a hypothetical security crisis on the Korean peninsula.

TRAVEL DIARY: My 2001 Visit to Southern China

May 4, 2012 by

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BY FRANK McCLELLAND. I flew from Melbourne to Hong Kong and thence straight to the city of Nanchang in the Jiangxi province. This is my analysis of what I saw and heard while resident, principally in the city of Nanchang with a few days’ travelling – first, south to Chen Ren, then north to the city of Juijiang on the Yangtze River and to the hill resort of Lushan. I left China (after a 17 hour train journey from Nanchang) via Guangzhou and Hong Kong.

Living Lightly: Reciprocal Bonds and the Trust Horizon

April 23, 2012 by

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BY BEN HABIB. One of the exiting aspects of living lightly is the opportunity it provides for community building and connecting with other people. Strong social networks will become increasingly important as we grapple with environmental problems, energy insecurity and financial turmoil at the end of the age of growth. As a specialist in international relations, I look to Chinese culture for ideas on building social cohesion during tough times.

North Korea’s Failed Unha-3 Missile Test: Implications for Pyongyang and Northeast Asia

April 19, 2012 by

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BY BEN HABIB. The technical aspects of the failed Unha-3 rocket launch are less interesting than the political undercurrents swirling around this event. The rocket’s explosion has spared the United States and its regional allies some loss of face while for North Korea, it represents a missed opportunity for Pyongyang to maximise its diplomatic and strategic leverage, over and above any threat to Kim Jong-un’s legitimacy as leader.

The Lessons of Kwangmyongsong-3: Satellite Lauch, Missile Test, Leadership Badge or Bargaining Chip?

April 12, 2012 by

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BY BEN HABIB. The North’s Kwangmyongsong-3 rocket launch is likely to yield important insights in three areas of interest to North Korea watchers. First, the relative success of North Korea’s rocket launch is likely to yield insights into the operability of the North’s overall nuclear weapons capability and specifically its ability to deliver a nuclear payload to targets at distances beyond 1,000 kilometres. Second, it would appear to fit with a longer trend of provocations dating back to the Cheonan incident in 2010 that have been linked to the legitimisation of Kim Jong-un’s leadership credentials. Finally, with the potential restart of negotiations with Washington in the offing, the launch indicates that coercive bargaining is likely to remain Pyongyang’s modus operandi in international negotiations under the new leadership.

Peering into the Hermit Kingdom: My Experiences on the Fringes of North Korea — Presentation to the Albury Rotary Club

March 9, 2012 by

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BY BEN HABIB. On Wednesday 7th March 2012 I made a presentation to the Rotary Club of Albury entitled Peering into the Hermit Kingdom: My Experiences on the Fringes of North Korea. In this presentation I gave a brief chronology of my experiences in and around Korea, touching on some of the interesting things I learnt along the way about Korean history, culture and the North Korean state.

Mao Zedong and the Chinese Communist Party: Presentation to Victory Lutheran College VCE History Class

March 2, 2012 by

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BY BEN HABIB. On Thursday March 1st, 2012, braving torrential rain, Victory Lutheran College VCE history students, led by their teacher Logan Hayward came to La Trobe University Albury-Wodonga campus for a workshop presented by myself on Mao Zedong and the Communist Party. The workshop was a supplement to the students' VCE History studies on the Chinese revolution.

PHOTO ESSAY: The China-Korea Frontier — Yánjí and the Yanbian Korean Autonomous Prefecture

February 8, 2012 by

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BY BEN HABIB. All North Korea watchers inevitably get to Yánjí at some point in their careers. Yánjí is a small frontier city of approximately 400,000 people, capital of the Yanbian Korean Autonomous Prefecture in Jilin Province, China. It is like a "little Seoul" in northeast China, with a large ethnic Korean (Zhonguo Chaoxian minzu) population navigate dual identities as Chinese citizens of Korean heritage. Many Chaoxian minzu have relatives living in North Korea. Yanbian is nestled in the important strategic border region where the Chinese, North Korean and Russian frontiers meet.

PHOTO ESSAY: Fángchuān — Where China, North Korea and Russia Converge

February 1, 2012 by

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BY BEN HABIB. Some unusual places in the world are magnets for geopolitical intrigue. Fángchuān is one of these places, nestled at the convergence of the Chinese, Russian and North Korean borders on the Tumen River.

YOUTH VOICE: Communism or Capitalism with Chinese Characteristics?

January 23, 2012 by

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BY MARTIN DICKENS. After visiting the capital earlier in the year as a tourist, China on the surface appears to be embracing democratic governance and free market economic opportunities. However, after a more intense and academically focused journey to the capital, what I witnessed as a student came as a complete surprise. Communism with Chinese characteristics is dominating the philosophies and teachings of the people and in my view is likely to continue to do so for years to come.

What Now? North Korea after the death of Kim Jong-il

December 20, 2011 by

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BY BEN HABIB. The death of North Korea’s ‘Dear Leader’ Kim Jong-il casts a cloud over the future of the already weak North Korean state and the stability of Northeast Asian security environment. Speculation about the future of a post-Kim Jong-il North Korea has been mounting since reports about Kim’s ill-health surfaced in 2008, raising questions about leadership succession, the viability of North Korea’s unique political system and political stability on the Korean peninsula. With Kim’s passing, those questions will be answered in short order.

Hyper-nationalism, Contested Histories & the China-Japan Relationship

October 14, 2011 by

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BY SEANIAD CONROY. Both China and Japan have accused each other of encouraging fierce nationalism and the corresponding anti- Chinese and anti-Japanese feeling. Their failure to address the past has meant that it is an ongoing divisive issue in the present, though some attempts are being made to rectify this.

PHOTO ESSAY: South Korea — Land of the Long White Cloud

September 5, 2011 by

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BY BEN HABIB. South Korea, what an interesting country! I have had the opportunity to visit fascinating nation on three occasions between 2002 and 2008, spending most of my time in Daegu, South Korea's third largest city, as well as the capital Seoul and the southern port city of Busan. The following is a photographic documentary of my travels in the 'Land of the Long White Cloud'.

TRAVEL DIARY: China – A World of Difference

August 28, 2011 by

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BY MARTIN DICKENS. For a first time international traveller, arriving at Beijing International Airport at 1:00 AM in the morning felt like the most daunting experience I would ever encounter. Braving the long lines through customs to get entry approval felt like an eternity. Little did I know that the unique cultural experience I would have at the other side of the counter would change my life completely.

Conference Paper: Climate Change & International Relations Theory

August 23, 2011 by

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BY BEN HABIB. Paper presented at the World International Studies Committee Third Global International Studies Conference, 17th – 20th August 2011, University of Porto, Portugal. This paper paper and presentation explore the broader relationship between climate change and international relations theory.  A general assumption holds that the anarchic international system of competing sovereign states who […]

TRAVEL DIARY: Discovering China

August 4, 2011 by

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BY LISA TUCK. During my time in Beijing I saw live scorpions being served up as dinner, bargain hunted in small markets, almost got ripped off by a dodgy ‘art dealer’, strolled down the ancient ‘Hutongs’ (alleyways) which criss cross through the city and much more. My senses were enticed by a variety of new and exiting tastes, colours and smells and I was amazed by the sheer diversity that could be seen between rich and poor, developed and undeveloped, Asian and Western. As I first time traveller I found that my time in China has changed me in many ways and has given me a new outlook on life. It has taught me to better appreciate the differences existing between people and cultures and that wealth shouldn’t determine happiness or quality of life.

PODCAST: History Study Companion — The Chinese Revolution

July 31, 2011 by

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BY BEN HABIB. Welcome to Our Voice: Politics Albury-Wodonga's audio study companion series on the Chinese Revolution, a compliment to Units 3 & 4 of the Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE) year 12 History curriculum. The series spans the period from 1836 to the present day, introducing the important events, key players, influential ideas and central themes surrounding the Chinese revolution, along with analysis of the historical background that led to the revolution as well as its legacy today.

PHOTO ESSAY: Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival

June 27, 2011 by

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BY BEN HABIB. In February 2005 my wife and I travelled to the northern Chinese city of Harbin, Heilongjiang Province, in the region historically known as Manchuria.  Braving temperatures reaching -250C, we visited the Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival on the bank of the frozen Songhua River, which runs through the city, as well […]

Eye on the Media: The Many Faces of Adaptation to Change

May 31, 2011 by

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In this edition of Eye on the Media: SMH economic editor slams Australia's immature climate change debate, along with more on the 'Arab Spring', the European debt crisis, the US-China rivalry, and the difficulties faced by soldiers returning home from combat zones.

EVENT REVIEW: Border History Teachers’ Network Dinner Forum

May 30, 2011 by

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Border History Teachers Network Dinner Forum with keynote speaker Dr Ben Habib, on 'The North Korea Story: Confucius, Communism and the Bomb'. Includes mp3 audio of the presentation, photos from the evening and an event review by Martin Dickens.

Eye on the Media: Interesting Articles This Week — 19th March 2011

March 22, 2011 by

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We don’t have to agree with these articles, we need only think critically about the issues they raise…   Peter Hayes, David von Hippel, Richard Tanter, Takase Kae, Jungmin Kang, Wen Bo, Gordon Thompson, Yi Kiho, Arabella Imhoff, Scott Bruce and Joan Diamond ‘After the Deluge: Short and Medium-term Impacts of the Reactor Damage Caused […]

WEEKLY DISPATCH: Climate Change and Political Stability in North Korea

December 8, 2010 by

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BY BEN HABIB. The longevity of the regime has been a topic of conjecture since Kim Jong-il’s rise to power in 1994. Many analysts presumed that the primary driver of the regime’s collapse would be its economic weakness.  However, such predictions proved premature; North Korea weathered the great famine of the late-1990s and Kim Jong-il […]

PODCAST: A Snapshot of Rising China — An Interview with Dr James Leibold

November 30, 2010 by

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In this edition of the Our Voice: Politics Albury-Wodonga podcast we discuss contemporary China with Dr James Leibold, Senior Lecturer in Politics and Asian Studies at La Trobe University in Melbourne. In this discussion with Our Voice’s Martin Dickens, James takes us on a journey from China’s tumultuous republican period in the early 20th century, […]