Australia's interests in the South China Sea

Michael Wesley

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


    This chapter presents a case to the new Australian government to change Canberra's approach to the South China Sea disputes. Australia has a great deal more at stake in the unstable dynamics of the South China Sea than the approximately 54 per cent of its trade that traverses that waterway. If there is to be a more activist approach to foreign policy, it will present a marked departure from the approach of the outgoing Labor government. It is hard to separate the Labor government's cautious approach to the South China Sea disputes from the rising risk aversion of its political culture as a result of the China boom. Asia's pyramidal power topography is intensifying over time. The result is a complex and shifting strategic picture that significantly complicates America's capacity to stabilise the region through 'hegemony-lite'. China's military build-up has been targeted precisely on the vulnerabilities presented by the American strategic posture in the Western Pacific.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationThe South China Sea Maritime Dispute: Political, legal and regional perspectives
    Editors Leszek Buszynski, Christopher B. Roberts
    Place of PublicationAbingdon and New York
    PublisherRoutledge Taylor & Francis Group
    ISBN (Print)9780415722889
    Publication statusPublished - 2015


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