Japan or China the Most Important Strategic Relationship for Australia Among the Major Asian Powers?

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Is Japan or China the most important strategic relationship for Australia among the major Asian powers?

By Mej Amran B Mohamad RMAF
Malaysian Armed Forces Defence College Haigate
Kuala Lumpur Malaysia. 12 Nov 2009

Author can be contacted at : amran_mohd@yahoo.com.au



Australia’s credentials and place in today international system is quite significant which influence greatly her ability to position and formulating herself strategically in the global scenario especially in the Asia Pacific region.

As a nation with global interests, Australia deals with many countries in many regions and one of them is in Asian region. Australia undoubtedly and substantially engages hers interests in a wide range of aspects within the framework of the countries within this Asian region. Among the countries which are influential in shaping Australia’s strategic and defense policy within the Asia Pacific ring are China, Japan and South Korea, North Korea and Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) block countries. On the other hand significant Australian interests are also engaged in Australia’s relationships with the other states such as the European Union and its member states, and in the South Pacific, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea.

However the emerging of China and the influence of Japanese among the major power and largest economies of the Asia-Pacific region has considerably alter the region stability lately. Many new factors and balancing pointers have emerged and its impacts cannot be ignored in shaping Australia strategic relationship and its development of defense policy. Consequently new form of challenges have emerged such as North Korea nuclear proliferation issues and overlapping claimed territory in the South China Sea to mention a few. As such advertently Australia needs to revisit and review back its strategic relationship between the so called major powers in Asia region like China and Japan in order to ensure its effective implementation of strategic environment. Australia essentially need to ensure its security, trading, investment, economic, social partners towards the region continue to uphold and be beneficial to Australia in order to continue sustain and maintain its competitive advantage.


The aim of this paper is to examine and to look into some critical aspects of Australia strategic and defense planning policy framework imperatives in order to decide whether China or Japan is the most important strategic relationship for Australia among the major Asian powers.

Australia International Relations

In its international relations arena, Australia utilizes its assets such as economic, strategic and cultural to uphold its international reputation as a responsible, constructive and practical country. It can be seen that the values which Australia brings to its international relations presently are the values of a liberal democracy greatly influence by her American ally. Australia global politics undoubtedly have been shaped by national experience and given vigour through cultural diversity of the country itself. Some of the important imperatives include the rule of law, the accountability of the government to an elected parliament, freedom of the press and a commitment to a ‘fair go’.

Australia ranks eleventh in the world in terms of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita. For comparison, Australia's main export destinations[1], 2008 to Japan was 22.7% 1 and China 15.6% respectively. Australia's main import sources, 2008 China 14.6% and from Japan 9%.

Australia’s defense capability is seem to be very significant in regional terms. Australia also has a broadly based alliance relationship with the United States, whose strategic engagement and commitment underwrite the stability of East Asia as a whole.

Australia Strategic Environment...
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