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Should Australia form an alliance with Japan?

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Published on Dec 19, 2012

The Australian Government is increasingly looking towards Japan as a strategic partner for the Asian Century. Recent moves by both the Australian and Japanese governments suggest a deepening of ties and a mutual desire to build and strengthen the relationship. In this public lecture Professor Hugh White explores the potential benefits and risks of an alliance between Japan and Australia. Japan is one of Australia's most important economic partners, a close ally of the US and might be prepared to sell Australia a highly advanced submarine fleet.

Yet, for all the overlap of values, Professor White cautions that there is not necessarily an overlap of interests. In particular the rise of China poses difficult questions for the long term potential for the relationship, and for Australia's desire to avoid having to choose between the US and China.

Hugh White is a Professor of Strategic Studies at ANU. He is a regular columnist for The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald. From 2001 to 2004 Professor White was the first Director of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI). Before that he had served as an intelligence analyst with the Office of National Assessments, as a journalist with The Sydney Morning Herald, as a senior adviser on the staffs of Defence Minister Kim Beazley and Prime Minister Bob Hawke, and as a senior official in the Department of Defence, where from 1995 to 2000 he was Deputy Secretary for Strategy and Intelligence. He is also a visiting Fellow at the Lowy Institute for International Policy.

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