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18 May 2022

Military exercises with PNG

Last week, the Australian Defence Force concluded a two-month training exercise with the Papua New Guinea Defence Force (PNGDF), seeking to enhance PNG’s ability to respond to any unrest during next month’s election. The Australian Army’s 3rd Brigade was joined by the United Kingdom’s 2nd Battalion Royal Gurkha Rifles and the United States’ …

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11 May 2022

China’s Pacific plans

Despite being in the middle of an election campaign, Australia’s foreign minister, Marise Payne, met with her Solomon Islands counterpart in Brisbane last Friday to discuss Honiara’s security agreement with Beijing. Similarly worried, Japan’s foreign minister, Yoshimasa Hayashi, flew into Suva to meet with the Fijian prime minister, Josaia …

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4 May 2022

South Korea and the Quad

South Korea’s president-elect, Yoon Suk-yeol, has signalled plans to play a more active role in regional security, saying that he would “positively review” any invitation to join the Quad. Yoon’s statement would be well received by Australia. The two countries have forged intimate defence ties, including a recent A$1 billion deal for Australia …

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27 April 2022

What the Pacific wants

The Solomon Islands’ security agreement with China is presenting a serious Australian foreign policy crisis. Yet Australian responses driven by hawkish rhetoric that sees Pacific island countries simply as geopolitical chess pieces will risk alienating  Pacific Islanders and undermining Australia’s relationships and objectives. 

Additionally, …

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20 April 2022

Sri Lanka crisis

Sri Lanka is facing an economic crisis that has forced it to suspend debt repayments as it struggles to pay for food and fuel from abroad. The crisis could also add to tensions between India and China, which both may see this as an opportunity …

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13 April 2022

Bushmasters for Zelensky

Last week, the first three of twenty Australian-built Bushmaster armoured vehicles were shipped to Ukraine after President Volodymyr Zelensky requested them during his speech to the Australian parliament on 31 March. The request indicated that the Bushmaster, manufactured in Bendigo, had gained a reputation as a capable piece of military hardware, …

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6 April 2022

India deal

After eleven years of stop-start negotiations, Australia and India have signed an Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement. It’s not quite the comprehensive free trade deal that Australia desired, but it’s a significant act of cooperation that will benefit both countries. The agreement is projected to double trade between the two countries within …

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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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