Minister for Defence – Defence and security in the Asian Century

The Australia in the Asian Century White Paper emphasises that the ongoing prosperity of Australia is irrevocably tied to the sustainable security of our diverse region.

The Australia in the Asian Century White Paper outlines a long-term strategy to position Australia to benefit from the opportunities of the Asian century, while managing future challenges.

It outlines the Government’s national objectives and pathways to building sustainable security in our region, including:

  • maintaining a comprehensive approach to security, including through the release of a new Defence White Paper in the first half of 2013;
  • promoting cooperative arrangements among major powers in the region including promoting the development of the expanded East Asia Summit as a crucial regional institution;
  • working with the United States to ensure it continues to have a strong and consistent presence in the region, including through enhanced practical cooperation between Australia and the United States (US);
  • supporting China’s full participation in the region’s strategic, political and economic development;
  • maintain Australia’s strong support for global, regional and bilateral security frameworks and norms based on the United Nations Charter, including through our membership of the UN Security Council; and
  • pursuing practical cooperation and building local capability with regional partners across a range of issues such as terrorism, people smuggling, transnational crime, counter-proliferation and disaster management.

These national objectives will be reflected in the policy goals and priorities to be set out in the 2013 Defence White Paper.

A key theme of the Australia in the Asian Century White Paper is the scale and pace of change in our region.

The Australia in the Asian Century White Paper also identifies new opportunities for Australia to pursue deeper strategic and security partnerships.

The 2013 Defence White Paper will consider in detail the implications of the changing strategic circumstances in our region for Australia’s Defence and national security, including:

  • The ongoing strategic shift to our region, the Asia Pacific and the Indian Ocean Rim, particularly the shift of economic weight to our region;
  • The US re-balance to the Asia Pacific and Australia’s enhanced practical cooperation with the US pursuant to our 60 year old Alliance relationship;
  • The ADF’s operational drawdown from Afghanistan, East Timor and Solomon Islands;
  • Australia’s own Force Posture Review – the first in a quarter of a century;
  • The ongoing adverse effects of the Global Financial Crisis, which have continued to have a significant deleterious impact on the global economy.

The Government will continue to increase its efforts in the period ahead to deepen Defence cooperation, including joint exercises and other forms of engagement, with our friends and partners in our region.  This will also be a key theme of the 2013 Defence White Paper.

Media contact:

Mr Smith’s Office: Sacha Fenton 0467 784 528


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