Australia and the Asia-Pacific Century
Significantly, six of the G20 members are from the Asian region. Australia is committed to strengthening relations with Japan, not only by. Geographically, Australia is part of the region known as the Asia-Pacific Region. It also explores the close relationship Australia has with New Zealand. 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.
Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC)
In this climate of reassessment and change, ASEAN is moving to adapt its cooperation efforts in two potentially important ways—and Australia will be involved in both. The EAS has evolved cautiously since as a forum for leadership dialogue and broad declarations of purpose, but its profile may rise.
It is now expected that the US along with Russia will gain entry and that President Obama will attend his first annual Summit in Jakarta in This will bring together the same 18 states which will be members of an expanded EAS, and it will be the first such forum specifically for defence ministers.
The Meeting will initially convene once every three years and will need to reach agreement on cooperation agendas. As it develops, the Defence Ministers Meeting could facilitate useful cooperation in areas such as humanitarian and disaster relief as well as security policy dialogue. 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. 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.
ASIA - Australia and the Asia-Pacific | Course Outlines
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. So they do not quite give us a message that they want to go through. We are not really in the message-carrying business. But they have an understanding when they are talking to us that it is quite likely that we will talk to our ally about them, and I think in so doing our frank relationship with them works. It is also understood that Australia has the potential to shape US policies to better serve regional needs and interests.
While we can never hope to avoid all criticism that we have failed one side or the other, our longer term credibility is clearly dependent above all on the perception as well as reality that our policies, while reflecting a uniquely broad mix of interests and affiliations, are home grown. Defence, gave us an insight into this deeper layer of cooperation: The US has had a number of security initiatives.
In recent years, in the context of the global war on terror, it has been promoting the counter-terrorism capabilities in the region—in places like Malaysia and elsewhere. It is also very interested in helping the Philippines resolve things like the Abu Sayyaf terrorism problem.
Chapter 6 Australia US relations in Asia Pacific
It has also been on proliferation, and cooperation with everybody, including us, on proliferation security. The first was there that has been a clear modification of the pre-emption doctrine in Washington over the last year, given the negative experiences of the occupation of Iraq by the coalition of the willing. Second, some specific formulas were conveyed to Australia, particularly by South Korea but also by Japan, whereby there could be written understandings exchanged between Australia and ASEAN that would guarantee that adherence to the TAC would not compromise alliance responsibilities… whereby there was a softening of Australian concern about this initial conflict of interest problem.
However China polarises opinion, both in the region and within the US where two conflicting views underpin US strategic discussion on China. These can be broadly summarised as viewing China as either the great threat of the future or the great prize of the future. This view is based on American observations of the early decades of the 20th Century when Germany and Japan emerged or re-emerged on the scene, in which great powers inevitably clash when a rising power seeks to impose its will on the established power.
The island of Taiwan screens the maritime approaches from the east to both China and Japan. For China, who sees itself as a continental power, the issue of Taiwan is largely symbolic. 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.
- Australia’s regional engagements in East Asia and the Asia Pacific
- Australia and the Asia-Pacific Century
- Fitting in or falling out? Australia’s place in the Asia-Pacific regional economy
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. 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.