ASPI suggests
6 Dec 2013|

Prime Minister of Timor-Leste Xanana Gusmao

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has travelled to Jakarta to meet with her counterpart Marty Natalegawa to help mend a rift in Australia–Indonesia relations, which has come in the wake of a recent spying scandal that led to Indonesia suspending some areas of cooperation. Both sides have now agreed to establish a special communications channel (a ‘hotline’) to resolve misunderstandings.

For those interested in the latest spying dispute between Timor-Leste and Australia, here’s a useful backgrounder on the Timor Gap Treaty.

Speaking of intelligence, here’s a Washington Post primer on how metadata from mobile phones can be used to locate intelligence targets of interest, and to track people—including working out who is travelling together. Includes graphics and videos.

Turning back to Southeast Asia, Thailand’s political situation has been heating up of late, with ANU’s Andrew Walker writing that the country could be headed for civil conflict. According to Walker, ‘Unfortunately for Thailand, a rush to confrontation on the streets of Bangkok is now more attractive to opposition forces than a long-term process of electoral rebuilding’. There doesn’t seem to be an easy resolution on the horizon without a strong statement from the King that democracy is the only way forward.

Looking now at regional strategic relations, Strategist contributor Carlyle A. Thayer examines India–Vietnam ties over on The Diplomat. Of interest to Australians is his observation:

India and Vietnam have convergent security interests, including maximizing their room for maneuver in dealing with China and other major powers within their respective regions. India’s relations with Vietnam provide a basis for a larger Indian role in East Asia, particularly in the maritime domain.

Lastly, if you’re into all things international and social media, international relations blog e-IR is currently recruiting a social media editor.

Update: two next reports from the Institute for Policy Analysis of Conflict—one on recent patterns of Indonesian extremist groups and another on special autonomy in Papua.

Image courtesy of Flickr user rtppt.