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29 June 2022

Albanese in Europe

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese’s trip to Europe this week provides an opportunity to repair relations with France. Despite the distance between Paris and Canberra, France is one of Australia’s closest neighbours, as its exclusive economic zone (EEZ) emanating from New Caledonia meets Australia’s EEZ in the Coral Sea. Also, including its dependencies …

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22 June 2022

Wong’s latest Pacific trip

In a demonstration of the new Australian government’s priorities, Foreign Minister Penny Wong last week made her third trip to the Pacific in less than a month since taking office. Solomon Islands has become a pressing concern for Canberra due to the country’s recent security agreement with China, which threatens a pillar of Australian foreign …

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15 June 2022

China base in Cambodia

Last week, Cambodian and Chinese officials officially initiated the redevelopment of Cambodia’s Ream Naval Base. These Chinese-funded improvements have created concern that the port will be used as a Chinese military base, giving Beijing potentially greater control over the South China Sea.

The day before the ground-breaking ceremony, Australian …

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8 June 2022

Albo in Indonesia

This week, Anthony Albanese continued the convention that a new Australian PM’s first bilateral visit should be to Indonesia. This ought to be considered one of Australia’s most important relationships and there is an imperative to make the extra effort with Indonesia as no two neighbours are as culturally distinct, making understanding and …

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1 June 2022

Wang Yi tours Pacific

China’s foreign minister, Wang Yi, is wrapping up a tour of eight Pacific island countries to seek support for an economic and security deal known as the “China-Pacific Island Countries Common Development Vision”. Yet his trip didn’t go according to plan.

The proposed agreement signalled China’s desire to be a major security stakeholder …

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25 May 2022

Albanese in Tokyo

Australia’s new prime minister, Anthony Albanese, and foreign minister, Penny Wong, began their roles with an immediate trip to Tokyo to attend the Quad summit with leaders from the United States, Japan and India. The change in government will not create significant change in Australia’s foreign policy, but may provide opportunities to improve …

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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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