China's Rise and Australia–Japan–US Relations
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China's Rise and Australia–Japan–US Relations

Primacy and Leadership in East Asia

Edited by Michael Heazle and Andrew O’Neil

One of the most pressing policy challenges for Australia and Japan today is ensuring that China’s rise does not threaten the stability of the Asia-Pacific, while also avoiding triggering conflict with their largest trading partner. This book examines how Australian and Japanese perceptions of US primacy shape their respective views of the Asia-Pacific regional order, the robustness of Asia’s alliance system, and the future of Australia-Japan security cooperation.
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Chapter 9: Assumptions about alliances: Australia, Japan and the liberal international order

Rikki Kersten


Since 2007, Australia and Japan have steadily broadened and deepened their security relationship. When considering the drivers behind this development, analysts have argued that it is the presence of the US that makes the bilateral security relationship between Australia and Japan matter. In 2014–16, assumptions underpinning this security relationship in Australia and Japan were exposed when Japan bid unsuccessfully for Australia’s Future Submarine contract. As the competitive process unfolded, it became clear that Australia and Japan held dissonant views about each other’s worth and motivations. In particular, policy makers and commentators in each country disagreed about the desirability and rationale for upgrading their security relationship to an alliance. This chapter assesses the implications of these different perspectives and what they tell us about the actual foundations and prospects for bilateral security policy ambitions in the Asia Pacific and beyond.

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