In its 2013 Defence white paper Australia is not seeing China as an adversary, but picks a position between the two power blocks, the US and China, notes military analyst Wendell Minnick in Defense News. In China it sees “a strategic partner”.
Though the report indicates that the Australian government does not believe that it “must choose” between China and the U.S., it “does not approach China as an adversary.”
“The relationship between the United States and China, the region’s and the globe’s two most powerful states, will more than any other single factor determine our strategic environment over coming decades.”
Further, “China’s continued rise as a global power, the increasing economic and strategic weight of East Asia …[is] an area of increasing strategic significance. In aggregate, these trends are shaping the emergence of the Indo-Pacific as a single strategic arc.”
The government’s policy is aimed at encouraging China’s peaceful rise and ensuring that strategic competition does not lead to conflict. China’s economic transformation is changing the regional global strategic balance and is a major contributor to global strategic weight shifting to the Indo-Pacific.
“This will inevitably affect the strategic calculations and posture of regional countries and is changing the balance of military power in the western Pacific.”
As an indicator of Australian efforts to face the blunt reality of China’s rising military machine, the report cites Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s visit to Beijing last month, when it was agreed to designate their bilateral relationship as a “strategic partnership.”
Military power is not only a matter of planes and ships, but also cyber power. The China Weekly Hangout discussed on February 28 with security consultant Mathew Hoover and reporter Charlie Custer of Tech in Asia recent hacking issues, the Sino-US relations, including some useful information on what to worry about and what not. Moderation: Fons Tuinstra of the China Speakers Bureau.
The China Weekly Hangout is holding on May 9 an open office, where you can discuss current affairs in China or suggest subjects for hangouts later this year. You can read our announcement here, orregister for the hangout here.