Australia and the South China Sea: an update


Continuity, and no willingness to run American-style freedom of navigation

Australia’s position on the South China Sea remains pragmatic, unchanged over the last few years.

There is no evidence that hawkish calls for Australia to run American-style freedom of navigation operations (FONOPs) directed at China have influenced the policy of the Turnbull Government.

Those calls had been made by three US admirals on at least three separate occasions between the dates February 22 2016 and December 14 2016.

South China Sea: What next?


With a new Philippines President, an arbitral ruling and a new US administration soon to take office, where stands the tension over competing claims in the South China Sea?

In Canberra on November 23 ACRI presented a first-rank panel: Hugh White, Professor of Strategic Studies, School of International, Political & Strategic Studies, ANU; Greg Austin, School of Engineering and Information Technology Australian Centre for Cyber Security; and Allan Gyngell, Visiting Fellow at the National Security College and an Adjunct Professor at the Crawford School of Public Policy.

Event Information
10:14 PM

Ausgrid hawks have poor record on Chinese security threats


By James Laurenceson

This article originally appeared in the Australian Financial Review, August 9 2016.

The potential sale of NSW electricity distributor Ausgrid to a Chinese company is bedevilled by questions about national security. On Sunday Treasurer Scott Morrison said those questions will be his "prime consideration" in deciding whether to allow the deal to go ahead.

Chinese investment and national security: what Australians think


By James Laurenceson and Hannah Bretherton

This article originally appeared in the East Asia Forum

John Howard on the South China Sea


The former Liberal Prime Minister lends support to a pragmatic and realist Australian policy on the South China Sea.

In an address to the Griffith Asia Institute on April 20 2016 former Australian Prime Minister John Howard said:

I think this issue should continue to be dealt with in the patient but firm manner thus far exhibited by both Australia and the United States…Principles should not be compromised, but likewise we should guard against overreaction…[1]

South China Sea: What Australia Might Do


The United States is conducting freedom of navigation patrols within 12 nautical miles of Chinese-claimed territory in the South China Sea. This fact sheet summarises Australia’s current position regarding freedom of navigation operations and spells out future options.

The Admiral Asks

South China Sea would be a lonely patrol for Australia


By Bob Carr

Note: this article appeared in the Australian Financial Review

Australia has every right to send patrols through international waters in line with our understanding of international law. In the wake of voyage of the USS Lassen on October 27, the US may expect it. Even expect that we do it bow to bow with American patrols.

South China Sea: What the Others are Doing


On October 27 a United States navy guided-missile destroyer, the USS Lassen, sailed within a 12 nautical mile zone of a Chinese-built formation in the Spratly Islands. The US is reportedly calling on allies to join such freedom of navigation operations (FONOPS). This survey shows that if Australia responded it would probably be alone.


East China Sea: What Australians Think


In January 2015 ACRI commissioned a poll on Australian opinions towards disputed territories in the East China Sea. A representative sample of 1000 people over the age of eighteen were surveyed online by UMR Strategic.

1. China and Japan are in dispute about the ownership of five islands in the East China Sea. The Chinese call them the Diaoyu islands, the Japanese call them the Senkaku islands. Are you aware of this dispute between China and Japan?

Conflict in the East China Sea: Would ANZUS Apply?


This paper starts from the premise that insufficient attention has been given to the potential ramifications for Australia of conflict in the East China Sea, particularly in terms of whether Australia’s alliance obligations with the United States could embroil Canberra in a conflict. The paper is motivated in part by Defence Minister Johnston’s June 2014 remarks stating that the ANZUS alliance would not commit Australia to a conflict where the US had sent forces to support Japan.