The US pivot to Asia and the implications for Australia

22 Apr 2013

Australia’s geopolitical distance from the South China Sea and the East China Sea and China’s limited naval capabilities in distant waters allows Australia to distance itself from the region’s territorial conflicts without jeopardising its national security or alliance cooperation with the United States. The conflicts involve insignificant islands that possess minimal economic and strategic value for both the United States and Australia. The leadership transition at the US Department of State presents Canberra with the opportunity to support and encourage US reconsideration of the pivot in an effort to restore regional stability Equally important, Australia’s cooperative relationship with China positions Canberra well to encourage the new Chinese leadership to reconsider China’s hard-line position on East Asian territorial disputes. Rather than become entangled in regional disputes, Australian foreign policy can contribute to US-China cooperation and to a restoration of regional stability.

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