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Our maxim: “understanding before action”
Our purpose is to encourage the knowledge and the debate of issues connected with art and military science. Selection of articles attempts to reflect different opinions. Beyond any ideological ascription. In order to impulse critical thought amongst our readers.

jueves, 30 de octubre de 2014

Australia: equilibrio entre China y los EE.UU.

Australia Successfully Balances Strategic Ties With China, U.S.

By ,

U.S., Australian and Chinese service members disembark from an Australian Army CH-47 Chinook helicopter at a remote landing zone in Northern Territory, Australia, Oct. 12, 2014 (DoD photo by Cpl. Jake Sims, Australian Defense Force).

Earlier this month, Australian, U.S. and Chinese troops took part in a survival training exercise in northern Australia. In an email interview, Benjamin Schreer, senior analyst at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, discussed Australia’s military and strategic partnerships.

WPR: What is the extent of Australia’s military engagement, in terms of joint exercises and dialogue, with China?

Benjamin Schreer: In recent years, Australia’s military engagement with China has gradually increased. In 2012 both countries agreed on a “strategic partnership,” which included a commitment for an annual high-level dialogue. In September, the second Australia-China Foreign and Strategic Dialogue was held in Sydney. Visits by senior defense officials of both countries have increased, underpinning the growing number of bilateral and multilateral military exercises between the two sides. For instance, Chinese soldiers just participated in the first Australia-China-U.S. trilateral land exercise, “Exercise Kowari,” in northern Australia, which focused on survival training. Australia and China have also joined the multilateral disaster relief exercise with the U.S. and New Zealand, “Exercise Phoenix Spirit.”

WPR: How successful has Australia been so far at balancing its strategic and economic interests among China, the U.S., Japan and India, and how stable a balance is it likely to strike?

Schreer: Australia has not had to make a “choice” between its most important trading partner, China, and its major ally, the U.S. Neither China nor the U.S. expects Australia to make such a choice. In fact, Australia has been able to increase its trade and security relations with China, while simultaneously strengthening its defense ties with the U.S. and Japan. Though the Chinese government has voiced some misgivings over Australia’s public condemnation of Beijing’s 2013 declaration of an East Asia Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) and its closer strategic ties with Japan, Beijing has not attempted to impose economic costs on Canberra for its actions. This is testament to the fact that China’s strategic and economic leverage over Australia is much more limited than often assumed. China also appears under no illusion that should the Indo-Pacific strategic environment become more contested, it’s reasonable to expect Australia to side with its U.S. ally and other partners such as Japan and India.

WPR: What role can Australia play in “mediating” relations between China and the U.S., as well as between other partners in Asia?

Schreer: Australia’s role as a mediator between China and the U.S. is fairly limited. Australia is an important but nevertheless medium-sized power in the Indo-Pacific region. Both the U.S. and China are likely to manage the big strategic questions bilaterally. Also, on those big strategic issues such as China’s proposed “new type of great power relations” with the U.S., Australia is not a neutral partner: It is a treaty ally of the U.S. and opposes a Sino-U.S. power-sharing arrangement, which could come at the expense of smaller powers such as itself. The same goes for the thorny Sino-Japanese relationship in which Australia sides more with Japan than with China.

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