《With China-US tensions on the rise, does Australia need a new defence strategy?》 (The Conversation）
Since the last Defence White Paper in 2016, Australian defence observers have been alarmed by four things:
1. China’s rejection of the Permanent Court of Arbitration’s ruling that deemed its nine-dash line claim in the South China Sea illegal
2. China’s conversion of its South China Sea artificial islands into military bases, which was largely complete by the end of 2016, despite a pledge President Xi Jinping gave then-President Barack Obama that China had “no intention to militarise” the islands
3. reports in April of this year that China was establishing partnerships with Pacific nations like Vanuatu for potential future military bases and other arrangements
4. the election of Donald Trump as US president and the uncertainty this has brought to the region due to his disparaging of traditional alliances and disdain for multilateral institutions
These regional shifts have also come amid growing illiberalism in China, evidence of increasing Chinese intelligence and influence operations in Australia (especially the Dastyari affair) and bullying behaviour from Chinese officials in their meetings with Australian politicians.
Andy King : I agree with that. I don’t see how China is any different to the US. Both have their own agendas and appear to be pursuing them accordingly.
Katherine Mulholland : Actually the US owns us with 27% of our foreign investment . China is number 9th with 2%.
Joan McCarthy : Neutrality is a difficult game to play when the world view of an emerging player is that all other nations essentially should pay homage to it.The behaviour of Chinese officials in PNG will give you some idea of the arrogance that we may be subject to as a so called ‘neutral’
Katherine Mulholland : I can’t agree more with your final statement, “More weaponry does not mean more peace, quite the opposite”. US propaganda against China leasing a port in Sri Lanka for its One belt, One Road initiative has more to do with sea level rise making tiny Diego Garcia redundant. Sri Lanka is an enticing alternative, not least because it is closer to the Middle East and controls Marine access to South East Asia.
Katherine Mulholland : But his focus on China without also focussing on the dangers of the US alliance does.
Jason Sexton : We’ve signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation treaty. That is a pledge to eliminate all nuclear weapons, not build more.
Greg Raymond : If you download the whole pdf the statement is there, in Section 1255. It says:(3) the United States stands unwaveringly behind its treatyobligations and assurances, including those related to defenseand extended nuclear deterrence, to South Korea, Japan, andAustralia;
Robert Davie : Could you point me to the treaty, declaration by either government or written agreement that supports your claim? The above statement indicates support for the ANZUS treaty but where is the nuclear umbrella agreement/document.between us and the US?
Jason Sexton : “China said it wouldn’t militarize the artificial islands. It did.” If the Chinese leadership didn’t militarise those islands they’d be criminally negligent.
MItchell Lennard : I am saying is that our approaches to China on this issue should be side by side with our near neighbours not the US, who have no real business being involved in our region at all.
Alan Grieve : Australia is not in a position to conduct freedom of navigation operations on its own. Which navy would you suggest we call on in the region?After US withdrawal from the region, how long do you expect it to take for Japan and South Korea to acquire their own nuclear arsenals?
Greg Raymond : Much of the reason that Australia patrols the South China Sea is grounded in international law. It is thought that if Australia provided de facto recognition of China’s claim, over time it would become likely that an international court would judge, based on state practice, that Australia recognised the nine dash line claim.