Japan turns to Australia in search for friends

April 17, 2016

Calibrated to take advantage of Japan’s rapidly changing political and security landscape Foreign Minister Julie Bishop’s call this week for a deeper, closer strategic and defence partnership with Japan is a water shed moment in the bilateral relationship which promises to deliver significant benefits for both countries, although it won’t be risk free.

The culmination of 26 years of patient Australian diplomacy, dating back to former Chief of the Defence Force, General Peter Gration’s, ground-breaking first defence visit to Japan in 1989, Bishop has timed her initiative well. It dovetails neatly with the Abe government’s more outward looking security stance, a response to the burgeoning foreign policy and strategic challenges Japan confronts.
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East Asia’s Maritime Disputes: Fishing in Troubled Waters

March 12, 2014

Few doubt that China’s rise is this era’s principal driver of strategic change, just as the United States’ equally influential ascendancy shaped the last. But earlier optimism that the Middle Kingdom’s re-emergence as a major power would be largely benign is fading as evidence mounts that Beijing is determined to press its territorial and resource claims in the vitally important seas of the Western Pacific. In barely the blink of a geopolitical eye, China’s once lauded charm offensive has given way to exactly the kind of coercive behavior its critics have long predicted. In a 3,000-mile maritime arc running from the East China Sea to the southern reaches of the South China Sea, Beijing is at loggerheads with many of its neighbors, including erstwhile friends, over several linked territorial and resource disputes. If not wisely managed, these disputes could bring East Asia’s long peace to a premature and bloody end.
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