Japan and Australia ramp up defence engagement in the South China Sea

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his Australian counterpart Malcolm Turnbull hold a joint press conference in Tokyo. The two leaders vowed to accelerate negotiations over an agreement aimed at facilitating joint operations and exercises as part of increased defense cooperation, 18 December 2015. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Tomohiko Satake, NIDS

Amid the increasing tensions in the South China Sea the United States has called for its regional allies to more actively support its freedom of navigation (FON) operations. But despite their political support for the operations, it seems that neither Tokyo nor Canberra are willing to put their support into direct action. Read more…

Need to face the facts in Asia

President Barack Obama listens to Chinese President Xi Jinping's opening remarks during their joint news conference in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington on 25 September 2015. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Hugh White, ANU

The Obama administration has never plainly acknowledged that it faces a major challenge from China to the US-led order in Asia, and it has therefore never clearly explained its strategy to deal with that challenge. Because it has never been clearly explained, the strategy has never been carefully scrutinised to see whether it has a credible chance of working. Read more…

Australia’s fraught decision on submarines

Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop and Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida listen to a reporter’s question during a joint press conference in Tokyo, on 11 June 2014. A submarine deal would fundamentally change the Australia–Japan security relationship. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Editors, East Asia Forum

Australia is about to embark on its single biggest ever military acquisition. The Future Submarine Program (SEA1000) will see Australia purchase 12 submarines to replace its ageing Collins-class fleet.

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There’s more to Japan–Australia security ties than submarines

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe bow to Australian and Japanese national flags as they review a guard of honor in Tokyo on 18 December 2015. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Yuki Tatsumi, Stimson Center

Australia’s selection of a replacement for its Collins-Class submarine, termed the SEA1000 program, is entering its final stages. The competitive evaluation process set up by Australian government is nearing completion as the five-person Advisory Expert Panel finishes up its consideration of French, German and Japanese bids. Read more…

Strategy under the surface of the Australia–Japan sub deal


Author: H. D. P. Envall, ANU

The ‘competitive evaluation process’ Australia is now applying to decide who manufactures the country’s future submarines looms as a potential tipping point for the Japan–Australia strategic partnership. If the two countries were to enter into a long term relationship to build these submarines, a closer strategic partnership across the board becomes more likely. Read more…

Trade policy lessons from Australia

Author: Bill Carmichael, Canberra

The goal of trade policy is not limited to increasing export opportunities. Nor is it just about improving trade balances. Rather trade policy is about taking opportunities to improve the economy’s productive base. Read more…

Australian leaders’ conceptions of Asia

Australian former prime minister Kevin Rudd speaks to Chinese students at Peking University, 9 April 2008. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Frank Bongiorno, ANU

As the China boom passes into history and Australians are left to rethink their relationship with that vast country, politicians will seek to craft a new ‘Asia’ in the Australian imagination in response to new circumstances. That has, after all, long been the pattern. Read more…