Australia's security interests in northeast Asia

Author/s (editor/s):

Alan Dupont

Publication year:

1991

Publication type:

Policy paper

Canberra Papers on Strategy and Defence No. 84

Australia has traditionally defined its security interests In terms of military threats to the nation's territorial integrity and sovereignty, and since the 1986 Dibb Report, Review of Australia' Defence Capabilities, Southeast Asia and the South Pacific have been accepted as Australia's 'sphere of primary strategic interest'. This monograph argues that both these assumptions are seriously flawed. In the more complex and interdependent world of the post-Cold War era, Australia must take a more holistic approach to security which recognises the linkages between the political, economic and strategic dimensions of national security, and the increasing salience of economic factors.

The monograph seeks to illustrate these linkages by identifying Australia's national security interests in the dynamic Northeast Asian states of Japan, China and the Republic of Korea (ROK), and analysing the implications for Australia of developments in, and between, these states. One of the principal conclusions reached is that the Northeast Asian sub-region is already critical to Australia's security, whether broadly or narrowly defined. Individually, and conjointly, Japan, China and the ROK have as much claim to inclusion in Australia's primary area of security interest as the more geographically proximate countries of Southeast. Asia and the South Pacific.

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