Korea: The Thaw Begins, Dennis Burke, International Relations and Security Network, 24 November 2008 

“There is also a lot of fear that if Obama pushes ahead with engagement with North Korea while inter-Korean relations remain stalemated, South Korea will end up being isolated in the process. But there’s a disagreement over whether that means the US should slow down or that the Lee administration should take a more proactive approach.”

Indonesia ‘crucial’ in weathering climate storm, Tom Hyland, Age, 23 November 2008

International experts meeting in Melbourne this weekend are considering how to deal with alarming scenarios created by climate change – not only on the environment and people’s lives but on national and international security.

Tokyo itches to take on pirates, Kosuke Takahashi, Asia Times, 21 November 2008

“This is a matter of criminal activities, requiring a policing role coupled with other forms of policy intervention, not a war matter, requiring a primarily military response,” Professor Richard Tanter, senior research associate at the Nautilus Institute for Security and Sustainability and co-author of About face: Japan’s remilitarization, told Asia Times Online. “Japan has the chance to gain kudos by going beyond a ‘send in the gunboats’ response, building on its long tradition in foreign policy of comprehensive security … rather than a purely militarized response.”

Japanese opposition puts stranglehold on parliament, Asia Pacific, Radio Australia, ABC, 20 November 2008

LAM: And, Richard, as you mentioned, one of the key votes is on this Japanese naval mission supporting the US-led operations in Afghanistan. The Opposition seems to think that Afghanistan is an American war. Is that a view that’s widely shared by the Japanese, do you think?

TANTER: I think it is and I think it’s a war which, although there is UN authorisation, a UN mandate for the international security assistance force in Afghanistan, I think it is widely perceived as an American war. And even many conservatives in Japan are always ambivalent about the United States, and clearly, despite the UN links to the war in Afghanistan, this is an American-led war. So there’s that kind of anxiety there. And going back to the wider issues of legislation, clearly the banking legislation, you know, is also very, very important, and the government may choose to use that to make the issue for forcing through the lower house. But there is the two together at the moment.

Karzai peace initiative rejected by Taliban leader, Paul Woodward, The National (UAE), 18 November 2008

In Japan Focus, Richard Tanter wrote: “By virtually every yardstick, the war in Afghanistan is getting much worse for both the western coalition and for the Afghani civilian population. The Afghanistan War is now the Afghanistan-Pakistan War. Unless western coalition policy changes rapidly, Pakistan as a political entity will be threatened – a matter that India cannot ignore. The survival of Pakistan now depends on a reversal of course in Afghanistan.”

North Korea to Close Southern Border, Sen Lam, Scott Bruce, Connect Asia, Radio Australia, ABC, 13 November 2008

SEN LAM: Scott, how much of a blow is this to South Korea’s attempts at improving ties with its northern cousin?

SCOTT BRUCE: Well, this is a setback but it’s not the end of North/South relations. You can think of this as a shot across the bow of inter-Korean relations, rather than an attempt to blow them out of the water. What we’re seeing is the North slowly raising the pressure on the South to try and force it to change its policy towards the North and limit the activities of South Korean civic groups that are trying to drop leaflets and pamphlets into the North. So, a few days ago, a general from the North asked how long it would take for the South to pull out of the Kaesong industrial facility. Today, the North said it would close its border on December 1st, unless actions are taken, and now it’s going to shut down the Red Cross office, a channel between the two countries. So the North is turning up the heat to let the Lee Myung-bak government know that it’s not going to bend to pressure or tolerate attempts to undermine the regime’s control. And that it’s willing to sacrifice inter-Korean economic cooperation, a very important source of funding for the North, in order to drive this point home. Now, it remains to be seen if this is actually the case. These ties are important to the North and a very important source of funding but what we’re seeing now is a stand-off between the two countries and it’s not clear who exactly is going to blink first.

Obama Foreign Policy in Asia, Worldview, Chicago Public Radio, WBEZ 91.5 FM, 5 November 2008.

“The US has the potential to end North Korea’s ability to produce plutonium to make nuclear weapons… To do this though the President-Elect will need a clear policy on how to deal with the North that will resolve the political infighting in Washington over this issue and an experienced team that knows how to negotiate with North Korea.”


A World of Possibilities, 20 October 2008 

“These [ROK and DPRK] groups are having a discussion on which way would be good for us… this is just the first step… we have to design our road map for reunification.”

Conflict of Interest, 1 October 2008 

Channel 31’s Conflict of Interests hosts Greg Barns and Peter Faris speak with Richard Tanter, Professor from RMIT on the war in Afghanistan and why Australia is still there…: episode one, episode two.


Lowy poll shows drop in Afghanistan war popularity, Ashley Hall, World Today, Radio national, ABC, 29 September 2008

“I think that the problem is that the way we are going about the so-called job to be done is making things much, much worse. So I think the question is now, what is the way out for Australia.

“I think in reality, coalition forces will leave Afghanistan. I think we are making no positive contributions to the possibility of peace there and what is really important is to foster a domestic internal Afghan peace process, and unfortunately we are no longer in the position of being an honest broker.”

Gaffe costs Japan’s transport minister his job, Sonja Heydeman, Radio Australia, ABC, 29 September 2008

“The Japanese transport minister, Nariaki Nakayama has resigned. less than a week after taking the job. He’s been criticised for a series of remarks – such as calling Japan’s largest teachers’ union “a cancer”, and referring to campaigners opposed to airport expansion as “squeaky wheels”. Mr Nakayama will be replaced as transport minister by Kazuyoshi Kaneko. It is a setback the new prime minister, Taro Aso, could do without, having been in his own job for less than a week.”

Nothing Succeeds Like Succession, Scott Bruce, Asia Times, 27 September 2008 

“As interesting as speculation on the future of North Korea may be, the real issue remains the country’s nuclear program. It is possible to end in a matter of months the country’s ability to produce plutonium. Policy-makers in the US and North Korea can either act now to make a decisive deal that will support the long-term interests of both countries or let the months of effort that have been invested in a nuclear deal go down as another in a long line of missed opportunities to improve security in Northeast Asia.”

North Korean Leader Had Surgery After Stroke, South Koreans Say, Mark Mazzetti and Choe Sang-Hun, New York Times, 11 September 2008

“If Mr. Kim dies or is incapacitated, who is going to take over the world’s most isolated and unpredictable regime, now armed with nuclear weapons?

“Peter Hayes, director at the Nautilus Institute, a research institution based in San Francisco, guessed that “a leader from the current political elite with strong ties to the military” would take over. Such a leader would stress continuity while trying to put a slow modernizing process in place. Mr. Hayes and other analysts believe there would be no change in North Korea’s nuclear strategy. Any leader or leaders would continue to cultivate the powerful national myths that permeate North Korean life and propaganda, based on xenophobic nationalism and the personality cult built around Mr. Kim’s father, the national founder revered among North Koreans, Mr. Hayes said.”

Search Begins for New Japanese PM, Jason Strother, Voice of America, 2 September 2008

Timothy Savage, deputy director of the Nautilus Institute, a regional policy research group, in Seoul, says the LDP is struggling to find a leader who can stay in office. “What you have going on is the LDP is trying to hold on to its long standing monopoly of power by shuffling in one unpopular prime minister and replacing him with another unpopular prime minister.”

With the opposition party in charge of the upper house of Parliament, Savage says the LDP will most likely have to call a general election in the next few months. Should Aso become prime minister, Savage says Japan’s relations with its neighbors will be rattled.

“Aso is defiantly aligned with the more nationalist right in Japan. I think actually the biggest problem could be is with North Korea, where there was recently some progress with the abduction issue under Fukuda,” said Savage.


Mongolia Should Be Higher on US Agenda, Tom Keene, On the Economy, Bloomberg Radio, 7 July 2008

Stephen Noerper, a senior associate at the Nautilus Institute at the University of San Francisco, talks with Bloomberg’s Tom Keene about the state of Mongolia’s democracy, Japan-China relations and the meeting of the Group of Eight industrialized nations.


North Korea to Blow up Nuclear Reactor Tower, Rob Sharp with Peter Hayes, ABC, 27 June 2008

Commenting on recent developments in the dismantling of North Korea’s nuclear program, Hayes states: “what is really going on here is that the whole process really amounts to confirming that North Koreans have nuclear weapons at the moment, which is really in their interest and they are saying they are willing to accept a cap of roughly six weapons worth as sufficient to compel the United States and its partners to accept its terms, and to deter American attacks. So in a sense we’re conducting a virtual nuclear test for the North Koreans that saves them another weapons worth of plutonium. We’re moving parts around on the chess board at the moment, not taking them off.”

North Korea to Deliver Nuclear List Today, U.S. Says (Update2), Ed Johnson and Viola Gienger, Bloomberg, 26 June 2008

“North Korea and the U.S. are agreed on completing” the declaration and disablement phase of the disarmament accord, said Timothy Savage, deputy director at the Nautilus Institute in Seoul.

What the communist regime will do in the final phase, which involves dismantling its programs so they can’t be rebuilt, “is a completely different matter,” he said. “North Korea’s general methodology is to continually raise the ante and raise demands for every concession that it makes.”

South Korea Restricts Beef Imports, Jason Strother, The World, Public Radio International, 4 June 2008

“The real problem is actually that the Lee Myung Bak regime has lost the trust of the people, and transparency and communication are needed to resolve the Beef issue.”


Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament Commission, 3CR (Melbourne), 12 June 2008

Prof Richard Tanter, says Rudd’s proposal for a Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament Commission comes close to work of Gareth Evans and the Canberra Commission in the 1990s, which came close to an abolitionist position in a report dropped by Alexander Downer. Tanter says DFAT knows nothing about its details at the moment, but he expects it to reinvigorate the treaty review process. Tanter says this will need to involve looking at our relationship with the US, and climate change as a legitimation of expansion of nuclear power and Aust’s uranium enrichment. Tanter says Aust could push hard for the criminalisation of nuclear weapons, and use this for illuminating Japan’s nuclear activities. Tanter discusses the changing attitudes of the Japanese population to nuclear weapons after WWII.

North Korea hands over nuclear documents, Sen Lam with Peter Hayes, ABC, 15 May 2008

The United States has described as “an important first step,” the handing over of North Korean documents detailing the country’s nuclear programme.

“They will be the first primary materials supplied by the North Koreans as to the operating profile of the reactor since it was fired up in the late ’80s early ’90s. I think it will be useful for us to know whether they have two bombs worth of plutonium, one of which has been blown up or 12. From a strategic nuclear perspective, one or more is a significant amount, because you can blow up a city with one nuclear weapon. But at the end of the day, what this is really about is actually stopping the production of more plutonium. It doesn’t solve the rest of the problem, which is what enrichment capacity, if any do they have, nor does it stop all the other potential disasters that could arise from the North Korean plant, including the export of nuclear knowledge or nuclear material, however improbable that might be. But of those three elements, undoubtedly stopping the production of further plutonium was the most urgent, until we get through the next phases of negotiation and start to actual dismantle and dispose of their actual nuclear weapons.”


North Korea Accused of Helping Syria Build a Secret Nuclear Reactor, Tom Fayle, Radio Australia, ABC, 25 April 2008

BRUCE: “Well at this point in time Christopher Hill is making a hard sell to the US Congress of a declaration of North Korea’s nuclear activity. Under a February 2007 agreement North Korea was required to disclose its nuclear programs, including its ties to Syria. The US and North Korea have been wrangling over this agreement for many months, and after a recent meeting in Singapore the compromise was that the United States, not North Korea would note its concerns over the North’s ties to Syria and North Korea will have the courtesy to acknowledge those concerns. Now if you’re a member of the US Congress and you’re expecting North Korea to come clean over its nuclear programs this is not exactly what you had in mind. So while Christopher Hill is making this hard sell on the deal reached in Singapore you have these concerns coming to light that really undercuts his attempts to get Congress to buy into that agreement.”


Now for the hard part, Daniel Flitton, Age, 1 April 2008

“My guess is they frankly worked it out,” says RMIT’s Richard Tanter. “(Rudd) is going to Japan in July for a summit, and there will be side meetings there. “I’m sure some people are miffed, but frankly the Australian relationship with Japan is much deeper than with China.”

CFR.org Daily News Brief, Council of Foreign Relations, 20 March 2008

Council of Foreign Relations links to Tanter’s report examining how a recent coup attempt in East Timor might affect the country’s democracy project.

(Maybe) denuclearizing North Korea, Axel Berkofsky, ISN Security Watch, 19 March 2008

“North Korea expects manna to flow from heaven when they are removed from the (2007 Country Reports on Terrorism) list, but that is very unrealistic. With the list removed, then it’s only their reputation blocking international investors, which means most investors will still stay away due to risk and higher earning potential elsewhere.”

Beijing says Pentagon has ‘cold war mentality’, Sen Lam with Richard Tanter, ABC, 5 March 2008

“What’s happened in the past year is Washington moving to balance India against China, and Australia of course being somewhat caught in between there. Hence Foreign Minister Smith’s remarks earlier this year that Australia would no long take part in the four party India, United States, Japan, China talks- this to balance Chinese concerns. But its certainly true the United States has moved in a very realist international way to balance rising Chinese power with the openness from India.”


Asia’s tigers eye nuclear future, Geoffrey Gunn, Asia Times, 14 February 2008

As Richard Tanter has summarized, “The consequences of Indonesia and Australia pursuing their somewhat non-rational approaches to the nuclear fuel cycle could have very negative consequences for people who are already suspicious of each other.”

East Timor: The Crisis Beyond the Coup Attempt, Richard Tanter, Japan Focus, 11 February 2008

“The failed military coup attempt in Dili led by Alfredo Reinado led to his own death, the wounding of a number of his colleagues, and the wounding of one of the two targets of the coup, President Jose Ramos Horta. The violence of the attempted coup, while shocking, should not be a surprise. East Timor has been moving into multi-dimensional crisis for several years. For a variety of reasons, most foreign observers have been averting their eyes from this crisis, leaving their audience surprised when violence finally broke out again.”


New Foreign Minister in mission to US and Japan, Sen Lam with Richard Tanter, ABC, 24 January 2008

“I think that the Bush administration is well aware of the political realities of its allies around the world. On the other hand Mr Smith will be at pains to point out to the Bush administration that Australia is really only removing one part of its really quite broad deployment in Iraq. Both Australia and Japan have nuclear cooperation agreements with the Indonesian government and high on (Foreign Minister Smith’s Tokyo) agenda there will be the two government’s approaches to the Indonesian government’s proposal about a Muria peninsula nuclear power station in central Java. ”

Indonesia’s Ailing Suharto Eludes Court, Anthony Deutsch, AP,  18 January 2008

“There is enough evidence against Suharto to try him under international law for crimes against humanity and genocide”, said Richard Tanter, a professor of international relations at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology. “The idea of pursuing old, sick men is unattractive, but the basic deterrence function of such prosecutions largely outweighs” the drawbacks, Tanter countered. “For the ghosts of all the slaughtered and tortured, I’d like to see justice.”