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30 March 2022

Budget’s cyber offensive

The Australian government’s 2022 budget has forecast a dramatic increase in the country’s cyber and intelligence capabilities, including enhancing Australia’s ability to “hack back”. The government plans to spend just under $10 billion over the next decade to double the size of the Australian Signals Directorate – creating 1900 new jobs …

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23 March 2022

Pivot to India

Over the weekend, Japanese prime minister, Fumio Kishida, made an official visit to India, where he pledged to invest 5 trillion yen (A$57 billion) in the country over the next five years, signalling Japan’s view of India as an important rising power. This follows on from a previous investment of 3.5 trillion yen (A$40 billion) that former prime …

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16 March 2022

China’s ambassador

Last week, Australia’s foreign minister, Marise Payne, met with the new Chinese ambassador to Australia, Xiao Qian. It was the first high-level contact between the two governments in years. No substantive changes came from this initial encounter – yet, in the often slow and cautious world of diplomacy, the meeting may indicate a page turning …

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9 March 2022

Pacific and Ukraine

If Russia was hoping to find the Pacific sympathetic to its invasion of Ukraine, it must now be disappointed. At the emergency special session of the United Nations General Assembly last week, realising the gravity of the Ukraine situation, all Pacific island countries voted to condemn Russia’s invasion. The Federated States of Micronesia has gone …

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2 March 2022

Ukraine and energy

Launching his invasion of Ukraine, Russian president Vladimir Putin presumably believed he would not be severely punished by Europe, which relies on Russia for its energy needs. Natural gas accounts for just over 20 per cent of the European Union’s energy consumption, and approximately 40 per cent of that is Russian gas. Current European gas stocks …

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23 February 2022

China and Ukraine

China has not been entirely silent on Ukraine, as Prime Minister Scott Morrison claimed last week, but it has been cautious. In a speech on Saturday, China’s foreign minister, Wang Yi, expressed sympathy towards Moscow’s position that NATO expanding eastwards was a threat to European stability. Yet Wang also stressed that adherence to the Minsk …

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16 February 2022

Australia and Ukraine

The build-up of Russian troops along its border with Ukraine is either an extraordinary bluff by Vladimir Putin to force the United States into negotiations for a new European security bargain or the prelude to an invasion. Either way, recent history has shown that instability in Ukraine is likely to have consequences far beyond Europe, …

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15 December

Australian Foreign Affairs Annual Index – 2021 Edition

Number of submarines in Chinese fleet: 79
Number in US fleet: 68
Number in Australian fleet: 6

Estimated cost in February 2019 of procuring twelve diesel submarines from France: A$50 billion
Estimated cost in September 2021 (when Australia cancelled the deal): A$90 billion
Estimated cost of procuring twelve nuclear …

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8 December 2021

Democracy summit

More than 100 countries will join the US-sponsored online Summit for Democracy on Thursday, which was one of the key international relations commitments made by Joe Biden during his presidential campaign last year.

In the run-up to a proposed second gathering next year, the United States is likely to place new economic sanctions on human-rights …

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1 December 2021

Pacific tensions

Australia is facing potential tensions in Melanesia over independence movements in New Caledonia and Bougainville, as well as unrest in the Solomons Islands, where Australian police and defence force personnel were deployed last week to aid peacekeeping efforts.

New Caledonia is due to hold its third and final vote on independence from France …

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