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Dr. Malcolm Davis • 5 years ago

Having just spent a month in Beijing at the China Foreign Affairs University, its interesting that I was challenged numerous times over the issue of US-Australia, and Japan-Australia relations, particularly the latter as a result of news media reporting about the Soryu class submarine option for the RAN. I was told numerous times that Australia 'should correct its policy' to better reflect its interests in preserving its relationship with China. My response was that Australia seeks to be on good terms with all Asian states (minus North Korea of course, which we have no diplomatic relations with), and that our 2013 Defence White Paper makes this clear, as does the current actions of the Abbott government. I furthermore made it clear that as a sovereign nation-state we have the right to choose our own friends without enduring pressure from more powerful states to 'correct' our policies - our policies are correct in the first place. I think these multinational exercises are good, and as Rory says, they demonstrate that better ties with Washington or Tokyo need not imply worse ties with Beijing. But there are voices at quite high levels who do not see this in 'win win' terms, but see it in 'zero sum' terms - and are just as ill-informed as Mr. Fraser is.

james • 5 years ago

Japan has military agreements with only 2 countries. Obviously the US and the other is Australia. Our agreement begun in 2006 or 2007 seeks to improve the interoperability of our 2 militaries. Mainly navies I think. So we are part of a 3 way defence alliance you could say. Along with other conceptual alliances. China is the odd one out and is becoming the bully. Free trade agreements help us to influence if possible and build defence partnerships. For example with India and Japan. Everyone is watching China.

Bobby of Tara • 5 years ago

Can we assume Australian soldiers together with the US soldiers and hopefully Japanese soldiers will soon be welcomed to look over Chinese military bases whilst they exercise with the Chinese military on how to survive in the rough in China?

james • 5 years ago

Excellent point and no they won't.

Joseph • 5 years ago

Why would the Japanese soldiers be welcome to Chinese base? This exercise is not about them.
It's not that the Japanese has amicable relation with China recently. Even at RIMPAC, the US won't risk putting the two teams together.

Bobby of Tara • 5 years ago

Well Joseph, if we are to change our assumption about China as the heading of the article suggests, then it would be hoped that China would include Japan in the healing process as both Australia and the US are strong allies of Japan. The US has vowed to help defend Japan if China attacks it and Australia is supposed to be buying 10 submarines off Japan for our navy and expect to be involved in any conflict between the US and China. Lets see to what extent it allows Australian and US soldiers to view their bases and surrounding area if they offer a return visit at all.

Reality Check • 5 years ago

Should US help defend Japan, in what exact way? Japan could not figure out through the "defense guildelines", are you going to be stupid enough to clarify those things instead?

Joseph • 5 years ago

So US and Australian are running errand for the Japanese. Is it what you are trying to say? The Japanese does try desperately to open dialogue with China without making compromise.
If the US choose to defend the Japanese, it is their political choice, but it has nothing to do with China-Australia relation even if Australia is buying anything from Japan. After all, would Australia or US open their bases to Iranian military. Iran does have military exchanges with China. Would that help the healing process between Iran and the US? I don't believe so.

PDX_traveler • 5 years ago

Well, I hope you're not holding your breath while you wait. The CCP position is maximalist in all respects, it looks like - whether trade, diplomacy, or military affairs. Constructive engagement in terms of give and take seems like not on offer - for now, at least.

james • 5 years ago

Well on track is China. Nothing has changed. We need to wake up. Am sure our military and Government know this