fredag 16. august 2019

Decoding Australia’s Strange Silence Over China’s Transgressions in the South China Sea

Australia’s 2017 Foreign Policy White Paper strongly advocates the geostrategic concept of the Indo-Pacific and the global rules-based order. In its first comprehensive guide-book for international engagement in 14 years, Canberra makes the case for an Indo-Pacific of openness, prosperity, and inclusiveness. Of note, the term Indo-Pacific appears more than 70 times in the document. The White Paper signals the country’s increased engagement with the Southeast Asian region in the context of China’s assertive pursuit of regional influence and territorial ambitions in the South China Sea.

Australian policymakers have paid increased attention to developments in the South China Sea since the early 2010s. Canberra maintains that the country does not take sides in the dispute, though it quietly opposes China’s nine-dash line claim. As the White Paper clearly asserts, the stability of the South China Sea and the maritime rule-based order constitute part of Australia’s substantial interests.