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Australia-China Relations and Asia-Pacific Security Equations

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Although Australia is located in Oceania, it is a country with a conjunctural Western perspective. This leads to a significant struggle for influence between Canberra and Beijing in the Asia-Pacific region. The Western Alliance, led by the United States of America (USA) and the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), is currently implementing the containment policy[1] against China, which they implemented against the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) during the Cold War. Australia plays an important role in this strategy.

However, due to its strong Western perspective, Australia supports Washington’s policies not only regionally but also globally. For example, when the US alleged that China was supplying arms to Russia in the Ukraine War, Australia supported these allegations. In this context, the Canberra administration has adopted a NATO and US-based stance in the Russia-Ukraine War. It is critical that Canberra takes the Washington line against a possible China-Russia co-operation.

Japan, the United States, India and Australia are members of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (QUAD).[2] This organisation is mainly Western-based and aims to contain China. QUAD mainly aims to bring together states that have adopted democratic principles.[3] As a matter of fact, this consolidates these countries through anti-China sentiment Especially the recently increasing tension over Taiwan has also pushed these countries to hold a meeting. However, it can be said that the main goal of this alliance is to limit China’s activities in the South China Sea and to create resistance against the increasing pressure of the Beijing administration in the region. Consequently, within the framework of the geopolitical competition between the West and China, this alliance serves as an important front for Washington.

Australia is also an important pillar of the ICCPR established by the United Kingdom and the United States. [4] This pact is important in terms of strengthening the influence of two important Western actors in the region In fact, this alliance was established with the aim of containing China. This increases the tension and mistrust in the Beijing-Canberra line. The pact was announced by US President Joe Biden on 15 September 2021. This announcement was made through a press conference at the White House [5] The press conference was attended by the then British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and the then Australian Prime Minister Scott Morisson[6] The Pact provides for Washington and London to provide Canberra with nuclear-propelled submarines[7] Moreover, it is believed that this pact serves both to contain China and to increase the US military influence in the region.

In this context, it can be stated that the US has formed a bloc in the Asia-Pacific region by forming an alliance with states such as South Korea, Australia and Japan and consolidated this bloc through anti-China sentiment. However, it is clear that the US and NATO’s ability to unite the states in the region will be based on their security commitments.

The US regional allies’ desire for consolidation on the basis of anti-China sentiment is at a high level. This leads these countries to take an action plan. It can be said that the results of these issues will be manifested in regional equations in the coming period. In addition, it is a matter of curiosity how Beijing will respond to this situation. Basically, it can be inferred that the security equation of the region will become more fragile


[1] “The History of Containment Policy”, Thought co. https://www.thoughtco.com/definition-of-containment-2361022#:~:text=Containment%20was%20a%20foreign%20policy,would%20spread%20to%20neighboring%20countries., (Erişim Tarihi: 05.09.2023).

[2] “What is the Quad, and How did it Come About?”, The Guardian, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/may/24/what-is-the-quad-and-how-did-it-come-about, (Erişim Tarihi: 05.09.2023).

[3] Mustafa Cem Koyuncu, “Hint-Pasifik Bölgesinin “Yeni Yıldızı” QUAD: Zayıflıklar, Fırsatlar, Tehditler ve Avantajlar”, ANKASAM, https://www.ankasam.org/hint-pasifik-bolgesinin-yeni-yildizi-quad-zayifliklar-firsatlar-tehditler-ve-avantajlar/, (Erişim Tarihi: 05.09.2023).

[4] “What is the Aukus Alliance and What are Its Implications?”, The Guardian https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2021/sep/16/what-is-the-aukus-alliance-and-what-are-its-implications, (Erişim Tarihi: 05.09.2023).

[5] “Joint Leaders Statement on AUKUS”, The White House, https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/statements-releases/2021/09/15/joint-leaders-statement-on-aukus/, (Erişim Tarihi: 05.09.2023).

[6] Aukus Partnership Will Complement and Not Sideline Quad, The Phonom Penh Post, https://www.phnompenhpost.com/opinion/aukus-partnership-will-complement-and-not-sideline-quad, (Erişim Tarihi: 05.09.2023).

[7] “Joint Leaders Statement on AUKUS”, The White House, https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/statements-releases/2021/09/15/joint-leaders-statement-on-aukus/, (Erişim Tarihi: 05.09.2023).

Zeki Talustan GÜLTEN
Zeki Talustan GÜLTEN
Zeki Talustan Gülten graduated from Yalova University, Faculty of Economics and Administrative Sciences, Department of International Relations in 2021 with his graduation thesis titled "American Foreign Policy" and from Anadolu University, Open Education Faculty, Department of Foreign Trade in 2023. Gülten, who is currently pursuing her Master's Degree with Thesis at Marmara University Institute of Social Sciences, Department of International Relations, was a student at the Faculty of International and Political Studies at Lodz University for a semester within the framework of the Erasmus+ program during her undergraduate education. Working as an Asia-Pacific Research Assistant at ANKASAM, Gülten's main areas of interest are American Foreign Policy, Asia-Pacific and International Law. Gülten is fluent in English.