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China's Strategic Engagement with East Asia: Australian Views and Responses

John Lee

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

  • Under the current Tony Abbott government, Australia’s views of China’s strategic engagement and motivations in the region do not differ substantially from many of the predominant views held in Southeast Asian capitals.
  • Similarly, Australia’s strategic response to deepen its alliance with the U.S., forge new security partnerships with like-minded countries such as Japan, and strengthen the U.S.-led strategic order in a number of bilateral and multilateral approaches is reflective of regional trends, even though Canberra (as a formal U.S. ally) is more committed to balancing with the U.S. vis-à-vis China than many other countries at this stage.
  • Australia’s geo-strategic depth, lack of territorial and maritime disputes with other Asian countries, and alliance with the U.S. has offered the country’s non-governmental strategists and influential thinkers a degree of ‘freedom’ in speculating about strategic policy for the future. This has allowed some unconventional ideas to emanate from respected Australian experts and commentators about strategic policy

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