November 20, 2012

In January 2015, Australia will host the Asian Cup. It is a prospect that has not only excited thousands of Australian football fans, it also offers opportunities for the commercial, cultural and diplomatic communities of Australia.

Malaysia has emerged third among the “Future 15” countries that are on course to transform the global landscape economically, politically and culturally in the coming years. In a global survey by brand consultancy FutureBrand, Malaysia's inclusion in the list was attributed to its strengths in governance, investment, human capital, growth, sustainability and influence.

The most significant management shake-up in Apple Inc's recent history, including this week's forced departure of the technology company's top mobile software and retail executives, will do little to undercut the "soft power" of iconic American companies in Southeast Asia.

Tune in to the main television channel of our national broadcaster on many nights of the week and you could be forgiven for thinking that you’re in the home counties of the United Kingdom. Sitting as I am, in the middle of a conference of Asia-Pacific arts centres in Taipei, it is encouraging for me and my Asian counterparts to see that the White Paper on Australia in the Asian Century recognises the value of cultural engagement in a comprehensive approach to our relations in the region.

An exhibition titled ‘World of KIRIGAMI: A Hundred Flowers & Words’ featuring art works by Japanese artist Kanako Yaguchi will be held at the Japan Foundation Center for Cultural Exchange in Hanoi from September 22 to October 21.

Japan and Russia are working to set up the participation of their leaders in a judo-related event in Vladivostok, as part of an initiative to strengthen bilateral ties through "judo diplomacy," it was learned Saturday.

Recent conflicts in North Africa have demonstrated Europe's capacity and willingness to project military power, and these build on a growing European tendency toward consolidation of hard power. The UK and France have put aside historical enmities to develop an ever-closer defense relationship, and over time this tendency will only increase.

Having myself fired a few arrows at Dr Singh and the ruling Congress Party last month, I thought I would turn to an area where India is enjoying success: the projection of its soft power abroad. Here, arguably, it is outstripping China, its Asian Century rival.