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


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


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


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.