Friday 08 Oct 2021 | 02:12 | SYDNEY
Friday 08 Oct 2021 | 02:12 | SYDNEY

White Paper: Japan and ROK like what they see


Rory Medcalf


1 May 2009 09:32

Good news for the Australian Government: indications are that at least two of North Asia’s powers will like what they see in the Defence White Paper, due to be published on Saturday.

My conversations this week with strategic analysts and former officials in Japan and South Korea suggest these two countries would see Australia’s acquisition of greater strategic weight – particularly ships and submarines – as complementing their own hedging strategies and blue-water naval development. Mistrust of China’s growing military power is palpable in these two countries, particularly under their current conservative governments.

I still hold some concern about the potential ripple effects of Australia’s new declaration of security priorities and capabilities. The China relationship is headed for a rocky patch. As for our fellow US allies and partners, they may be reassured by Australia’s increased future ability to back them up in a crisis. But it is also possible that they – and some other states in Asia – might be so taken aback by the scale of Canberra’s plans that they will wonder whether they should be feeling even more troubled about the future, and thus do even more to strengthen their forces, which in turn will help the People’s Liberation Army demand an even higher budget. 

Either way, one of the region’s most astute strategic observers, Raja Mohan, is already suggesting that the Rudd Government is about to become a regional trendsetter.

Photo by Flickr user kamoda, used under a Creative Commons license.