Regional roundup spotlights Australia’s key relationships | Asia-Pacific College of Diplomacy
It also serves as an introduction to Australia's relations with Asia which will be of interest major bilateral and multilateral relationships in the Asia-Pacific region. Successive Australian governments have placed heavy emphasis on the development of both bilateral relations and multilateral engagements in East Asia and. Australia in a Dynamic Asia Pacific Region . Strengthening relations with Japan , India and Indonesia. prosperity and safety of the Asia Pacific region.
For Japan, a Pacific maritime nation, reliant on the ocean for the import of resources and the delivery of exports, the dynamics of Chinese relations with Taiwan are crucial. The Taiwan issue has become more complex since Taiwan became a democracy in which unpredictable rivals use their attitude to mainland China as a means to demonstrate differences in policy. At the same time these rivals use the US as a security blanket under which they can retreat if their posturing elicits the wrong response from China.
While China, in particular, remains subject to an authoritarian government and culture, the dominant but self-restrained strategic presence of the United States in the Asia-Pacific remains an important constraint on the emergence of China as a potential contributor to strategic instability.
We simply do not know, and cannot accurately foresee, what will happen in our wider region over the next half century. Their strong recommendation that Australia maintain the important relationships it has developed with both countries as a tool able to reduce future disagreement best sums up the position taken in a number of submissions. There is clearly a risk that, over the longer term, US-China relationships could become more adversarial.
That could pose Australia quite an acute choice. But that would be much less a generalised choice between the US and the region and more a specific choice between supporting the US and supporting China on a particular point. I think there is a policy implication from that—that is, that we should work very hard both with the US and with China to prevent that from happening.
Clearly China continues to emerge economically and also militarily. However, China has also, historically and today, not really demonstrated any hegemonic tendencies in the way some others have. China has been very clear about what it sees as its own territorial sovereignty, which of course includes the South China Sea, Taiwan and other places like that, but it has never seriously indicated any strategic hegemonic aspirations beyond that.
China will continue to become stronger. Its current incredible economic growth may well plateau for all sorts of reasons. It is really outstripping its capacity, and that will be a factor. This is in turn putting increasing strategic pressure on India and of course on Japan.
Chapter 6 Australia US relations in Asia Pacific
Australian dialogue and trade with China and our close relationship with the US are unlikely to be in conflict. A Griffith University submission summarises this position: Barring any such contingency, the core interests that have served as the glue for sustained alliance ties between Australia and the US remain in place. At the same time the US military have restructured their posture on the peninsula. The US military justification for these changes is an increase in the technological capabilities of US forces in the region but it is reasonable to surmise that pressure from the Roh Government is also a factor in adjustments of the disposition of US forces on the peninsula.
Were the DPRK to develop or gain access to long range missiles, parts of Australia could be subject to the threat of nuclear attack, a prospect discussed in more detail in Chapter Five. While air and maritime contributions would be valued it is likely such a coalition would also seek a significant contribution of ground forces, with a commensurate increase in the risk of casualties given the possible involvement of Nuclear, Biological and Chemical weapons.
Tow and Trood state: ANZUS would be effectively terminated. While these talks have recently been suspended as a result of North Korean intransigence they continue to offer the best path toward the possible future denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula.
The drug interdiction activities focus on the movement of illicit drugs from North Korea which give indications of being a state sponsored means of raising foreign currency. Counter proliferation activities are designed to thwart prospects of WMD or related delivery systems transfers by Pyongyang to rogue states or international terrorists.
Japan remains risk-averse, but is increasingly self—confident in its international responsibilities. Security policy changes will continue to be made in small, but cumulative steps toward a more self reliant position.
These two great powers of East Asia have never hitherto been strong at the same time. And whereas China has strategic ambition, Japan has strategic anxieties.
Both could have consequences for Australian security. The incident involved the passage of a Chinese submarine through a Japanese strait while still submerged.
General Abizaid expressed his admiration for the ability of the Australian Government and people to now establish strong ties with Japan to the extent that the Australian Army was currently protecting Japanese troops in the Al Muthanna Province of Southern Iraq. The next obvious step for the three countries is to consider whether a closer degree of strategic cooperation is appropriate, particularly in relation to the emerging China.
There really is not yet a US-Japan security alliance. There is a relationship where Japan agrees to be protected by the United States, and the United States agrees to protect Japan. Anything further than that is extremely difficult to organise and often requires specific, ad hoc legislation—even, for example, for Japanese participation in Iraq.
So the possibilities of turning that kind of relationship into anything broader are, I think, small. And given the uncertainties of the future trends in China and the Korean Peninsula, the alliance will continue to form the basis of Japanese and US interests for the foreseeable future.
Australian interests are well served by the current US-Japan alliance.
The steady move to a more even distribution of defence responsibility between the two global economic powers is not seen as a concern by those making submissions to the inquiry. Indian conflict with its neighbours Pakistan and China has been a source of instability in Asia for much of the second half of the 20 th Century.
During this period perceived Indian alignment with the Soviet block caused some tension between India and the US. Despite this tension, relations between India and Australia have been sound, reflecting shared Commonwealth values. A brief suspension of military exchanges resulting from the nuclear tests has since been lifted. While progress has been made, most officials in the US regard the establishment of this balance as a work in progress.
US economic interests in both India and China were acknowledged as being too important for overt or military containment, but subtle and less militant shaping were assessed as offering significant long term benefit. The Chinese invasion of India across the shared Himalayan border was a humiliating defeat for India and is likely to be a factor in the Indian view of Chinese strategic expansion.
India, with its highly educated work-force, regards itself as better placed to compete in the global market place than most sectors of the Chinese economy. Broadly it sought to codify the benefits and risks to Australia of US engagement in the Asia Pacific region and similarly report the benefits and risks to Australia of perceptions of our alliance with the US.
Groups such as the MAPW and the WILPF argue that increased emphasis on the creation of multi-lateral organisations could provide the same level of security for the region and balance the emergence of any single regional power. The modernisation of the Chinese military exacerbates these concerns, particularly as more modern Chinese forces are able to threaten Taiwan and potentially delay or disrupt US defence of the island.
The two views of China expressed to the inquiry describe China as either the great threat to regional security or the great economic prize for the region and the world. Evidence to the inquiry, and informed comment amongst regional strategists, is divided on which view should take precedence. The Committee however has formed the view that conflict with China is not likely.
The relationship between China and the US differs markedly from the examples of clashing powers in the last century. The emergence of competing powers in Europe for example, shared common borders and had centuries of competition over disputed territory. China and the US are separated by an ocean and have little shared history. On the other hand each stand to share in the benefits of continued economic prosperity should peaceful coexistence continue.
The Committee accepts the views of those who gave evidence to the inquiry stating that Australia has the potential to act as a mediator in any future periods of tension between its long term ally and its regional trading partner. While this may sound simple, global strategic realities are such that periods of tensions between powers rarely have simple solutions. Given that tension is most likely to arise over a dispute involving the future of a free and democratic Taiwan, Australia may be drawn closer to one side of the argument than the other by shared values and history, as well as by the formal terms of our alliance with the US.
Australian influence with both major powers has the potential to be of more use in maintaining peace in the region than the direct offer of any particular military capability to the potential deterrent package aimed at preventing Chinese aggression toward Taiwan.
As a result, the US values the relationship Australia has established with the Government of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, and ongoing practical measures between Australia and Indonesia, particularly at the military level. The Australian leadership and facilitation of western access to Aceh in the aftermath of the Boxing Day Tsunami have demonstrated this regional leadership position to a wide audience in the US and highlighted the retarding effect of US restrictions on interaction with Indonesia.
Such engagement allows the transfer of Australian understanding of the primacy of Government over the security forces and in turn allows the Australian agencies to enhance their understanding of Indonesia, its people and culture. The Committee notes that the increased US military access to Indonesia is based on a waiver by the Secretary of State: In resuming Foreign Military Financing, the Administration plans to provide assistance for specific military programs and units that will help modernize the Indonesian military, provide further incentives for reform of the Indonesian military, and support U.
Training interaction will also continue the transfer of democratic standards of civilian control and accountability for the military. Back 2 US Government, Submission 7, p. Our pool of funds under management is the world's fourth largest. In defence and peacekeeping expenditure, we are in the top dozen. We are a robust parliamentary democracy.
Australia and the Asia-Pacific Century
We respect the rule of law and human rights. We are a successful and prosperous economy with a dynamic, diverse and multicultural society. Our approach to foreign policy is defined by those qualities and our national interests. While our foreign policy priorities are regional, in the modern world our focus, our interests and the reach of our diplomacy are necessarily global.
Engagement with Asia is not a recent invention of Australian foreign policy. What the Government is effecting today builds on the finest traditions of Labor Governments and Australian foreign policy, extending back to Curtin and Chifley.
Curtin played the fundamental role of turning Australia's focus towards Asia during World War II, understanding the importance of the Asia Pacific and the United States to Australia's strategic future, not just its immediate defence. InChifley inaugurated planning for a comprehensive international aid program for South and Southeast Asia, which came to fruition in as the Colombo Plan, one of Australia's most influential public and foreign policy achievements.
InWhitlam recognised China, with a one China policy, a watershed in Australia's diplomatic history at a time when it was not necessarily fashionable to be so focused on China. That one China policy endures on a bipartisan basis to this day.
Chapter 6 Australia US relations in Asia Pacific – Parliament of Australia
The current Government is building on that legacy of pragmatic, innovative, and effective action, geared for outcomes now but with an eye for the strategic future. We are accomplishing this through intensified bilateral dialogues, bilateral security arrangements, frequent high-level contacts with and through regional institutions, and targeted development assistance as an intergral part of foreign policy.
Not only does this help discharge our obligation to be a good international citizen, but it makes foreign policy and strategic sense to help build the economic, social and security capacity of our region. We are also intensifying the negotiation of bilateral and regional Free Trade Agreements with and in the region.
This is a high quality free trade agreement, the largest free trade agreement Australia has negotiated to date and the most comprehensive ever negotiated by ASEAN. Its economic and strategic importance has been considerably underappreciated.
In some respects it was the most important new regional agreement entered into last year. Australia is looking forward to the negotiation of a comprehensive and forward looking Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership TPP agreement with Brunei, Chile, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States and potentially Vietnam, which will further strengthen economic integration and liberalisation in the Asia Pacific region.
Bilateral Relationships North Asia is an appropriate place to start a discussion about Australian bilateral relationships. Vital, enduring and long term Australian economic, security and strategic interests are concentrated there.
Japan and China are two of the world's three largest economies. Together with South Korea they represent Australia's top three merchandise export markets. At the same time, North Asia is home to some of the world's largest armed forces and a number of its potential flashpoints. Our relations with Japan are strong and continue to grow. Japan has been our closest and most consistent partner in East Asia for many years and central to the Government's foreign policy priorities.
I've visited Japan five times as Foreign Minister which reflects the breadth and depth of our shared interests. For over 40 years, Japan has been Australia's largest export market.
It was our largest trading partner in Japanese investment in Australia has continued to grow, notwithstanding the global economic crisis and Japan's domestic economic difficulties. We look forward to enhancing our economic relationship further through the conclusion of a comprehensive Free Trade Agreement.
Australia is committed to strengthening relations with Japan, not only by intensifying high level relations, but by building on our respective Alliances with the United States through the Trilateral Security Dialogue.
We are working to enhance defence and security cooperation in maritime security and combating organised crime. Former foreign ministers of both Australia and Japan co-chair the International Commission on Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament.
Australia has been successfully building a balanced and productive relationship with China, commencing with our early recognition and an early focus on trade links, particularly minerals and petroleum resources from my own state of Western Australia.
The Government is strongly committed to strengthening it even further. China was Australia's second largest trading partner in In recent times, it has become an increasingly important foreign investor in Australia. The Government remains committed to a comprehensive and mutually beneficial FTA with China to facilitate even closer economic integration in the future, although that will require hard work and patience. Our bilateral relationship is more than just economic.
It is comprehensive, covering all aspects of a bilateral relationship. Australia's long-term commitment to the China relationship is reflected in the Government's investment in a striking exhibition and pavilion for the World Expo Shanghai For over six months, Australia's pavilion will provide a unique opportunity for millions of Chinese visitors to experience authentic sights, sounds and flavours of Australia. Given our different socio-political systems, differences will inevitably arise from time to time.
Stern Hu and Rebiya Kadeer's visit to Australia are current cases in point. Both countries have an interest in successfully managing these issues and differences, and focusing on the much wider range of issues where our interests coincide.
Australia is expanding a long standing close relationship, forged in the aftermath of the Korean War, with South Korea.
Australia and South Korea are firm friends and close regional partners. South Korea is Australia's third-largest export market and our sixth-largest trading partner.
We have commenced negotiations for a comprehensive bilateral FTA. We are working together to advance a broad agenda, including in the World Trade Organisation and the G The relationship, though, still has great untapped potential. In March, Prime Minister Rudd and South Korean President Lee issued the joint statement for closer cooperation in areas such as border security, disarmament, non-proliferation, disaster response and peacekeeping. The bilateral relationship is underpinned by growing people-to-people links.
South Korea is Australia's second largest source of working holiday makers and our third largest source of overseas students. A key challenge in the North Asia region is North Korea. Australia is very concerned about North Korea's nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs, which threaten stability on the Korean Peninsula and in North Asia. It poses a major challenge to global counter-proliferation efforts.
Australia supports international efforts to achieve a peaceful resolution of Korean peninsula security issues, especially through the Six Party Talks. These include a visa ban on all North Korean nationals and a ban on North Korean-flagged ships entering Australian ports.
Although our bilateral aid program has been suspended, Australia continues to provide emergency humanitarian aid to the North through UN agencies and the International Committee of the Red Cross. South Asia is increasingly important for Australia's strategic and economic interests.
Australia is committed to taking its relationship with India to the front rank of our bilateral partnerships.
Today, the world is beginning to see India, the largest parliamentary democracy, assume the global influence to which its economic size and strength, its strategic weight and its rich history entitle it. The Government is determined to seize upon an historic opportunity to take our relationship with India to a new economic and strategic level. This momentum has occurred despite, not because of, any concerted Australian governmental effort over the past thirty years or so.
Australia and India are bound ever closer by a truly remarkable growth in trade. Trade with India has grown faster than any of our other top markets over the past five years. Resources, which form the bulk of Australia's merchandise exports, are helping to fuel India's growth.
Australia and India are looking to cement our excellent trade relations through a possible FTA. But there is certainly much more than an economic complementarity between our two countries. There are ties of language, parliamentary democracy and respect for the rule of law, the law of contract and intellectual property and of, course, sporting traditions.
We have profound values and interests in common and we cooperate both regionally and multilaterally to advance those common interests, whether that is climate change, energy, food security, nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation or counter-terrorism. It underwrites cooperation in areas such as climate change, water conservation and information technology security, where Australia and India have a great deal to offer each other in terms of expertise and innovation.
In addition our defence cooperation with India is growing rapidly, encompassing regular senior-level talks. I will again travel to India in October and the Prime Minister is planning to travel there by the end of the year. Regional Groupings The importance of fostering regional cooperation both in the economic and security spheres is a key priority for the Government. The Asia-Pacific region, by harnessing its collective strategic and economic weight through enhanced cooperation, can exert considerable influence in international fora.
This is one important area of different emphasis between the policies of this Government and the past.