Strategic partnerships: helping or hindering security?

The Japanese Maritime Self-Defence Force have brought two Asagiri class destroyers and a Soryu class submarine to Australia and will take part in the bilateral Exercise Nichi Gou Trident with the Royal Australian Navy until 26 April 2016. (Photo: AAP).

Authors: H. D. P. Envall, ANU, and Ian Hall, Griffith University

Strategic partnerships are becoming central to the management of international security in the Asia-Pacific region. All the major powers and many of the minor ones have entered into multiple partnerships with both friends and potential strategic rivals. China, for instance, has cultivated close to 50 strategic partnerships across the region and beyond, with nations as diverse as Afghanistan, Australia and India. By contrast, India has about 20 or so partnerships and Japan around 10.

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Will Australia’s election make any difference to its foreign policy?

Minister for Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop and Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull during Question Time at Parliament House in Canberra on 2 May 2016. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Editors, East Asia Forum

The traditional conception of foreign policy choice is that it is embedded in the DNA of nation states, where they sit in the international community and how they calculate their interests in international affairs. Read more…

Australian election offers few choices on foreign policy

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Leader of the Opposition Bill Shorten arrive during the reopening of Parliament in the Senate chamber at Parliament House in Canberra on 18 April 2016. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Russell Trood, Griffith University

Australians will go to a federal election on 2 July 2016. At first glance the 19 seats in the House of Representatives that the Labor Party — the current Opposition — needs to win to take government seems a heroic undertaking. Yet, if the early polls are any indication, this may not be too far beyond its reach.
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Australia–Singapore defence deal is smart, but not risk-free

Royal Australian Air Force Roulettes perform aerobatic displays during a preview ahead of the Singapore Airshow in Singapore, 18 February 2008. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Michael Barr, Flinders University

Let there be no doubt about who is the main winner from the Australia–Singapore Comprehensive Strategic Partnership (CSP) signed on 6 May. It is Singapore. This tiny country is a quarter the size of the Australian city of Melbourne by land mass and it lacks space more than anything else. Read more…

Unravelling Timor-Leste’s Greater Sunrise strategy


Author: Bec Strating, La Trobe University

Disputes over the resource-rich Timor Sea have consumed bilateral relations between Timor-Leste and Australia. In 2006, Timor-Leste’s then foreign minister José Ramos-Horta and his Australian counterpart, Alexander Downer, signed the Treaty of Certain Maritime Arrangements in the Timor Sea (CMATS). The treaty aimed to distribute revenues derived from the lucrative but disputed Greater Sunrise oil and gas field.

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Asian integration a key part of Australia’s economic transition

Author: Shiro Armstrong, ANU

Australia, as in the past, has the potential to play a role in shaping the Asian economic cooperation agenda in a way that deepens regional economic linkages and lifts the growth potential of Asian economies. Read more…

Chinese investment and national security: what Australians think

A patrol boat docking at Darwin Port, 17 May 2016. (Photo: AAP).

Authors: James Laurenceson and Hannah Bretherton, ACRI

In response to recent Chinese interest in infrastructure assets, the Australian government is under pressure to tighten its foreign investment review framework on national security grounds. Read more…