News / Asia

Australia Outlines Defense Roadmap

The Royal Australian Navy's Adelaide class guided-missile frigate, the HMAS Melbourne, is shown. Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard unveiled the defense white paper, a roadmap which sets out the government's long-term military priorities, May 3, 2013.
The Royal Australian Navy's Adelaide class guided-missile frigate, the HMAS Melbourne, is shown. Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard unveiled the defense white paper, a roadmap which sets out the government's long-term military priorities, May 3, 2013.
Phil Mercer
The rise of India and continued tensions between the United States and China have dominated a review of Australia’s defense capabilities.  The first government white paper on defense since 2009 acknowledges China's rise as a global power, but also states that the Indian Ocean is becoming strategically important. 
 
Australia’s defense blueprint emphasizes the importance of close military ties with the United States, but also welcomes the rise of China.  The white paper published Friday said the Chinese militarization is a "natural and legitimate outcome of its economic growth."
 
It also notes the emergence of India, which Canberra says is becoming increasingly significant both economically and diplomatically.
 
Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard said the policy document reflects changing regional realities. 

“The white paper underlines the enormous stake Australia has in managing strategic change in the Indo-Pacific region and managing it peacefully. In particular, in a U.S.-China relationship in which competition is minimized and cooperation maximized,” she stated.
 
Analysts stress that fostering closer economic ties with China and pursuing its alliance with Washington will continue to be Canberra’s biggest challenge.  
 
The last Australian defense white paper was released in 2009.  Its contents upset China, particularly when Canberra questioned the "pace, scope and structure" of Beijing's military expansion.  The latest defense review is notably softer and appears to presume that China’s rising military capabilities will be peaceful.
 
Paul Dibb, an emeritus professor of strategic studies at the Australian National University, said this white paper rightly believes that China does not pose an immediate military threat.
 
“This one says very plainly that China is not seen by Australia as an adversary, and I think that is an important affirmation that yeah, we are all concerned about the rise of China, its economic power, its developing but still not comparable with American military power but anybody who really is trying to drum up as an imminent Chinese military threat, really has got rocks in their head,” said Dibb.
 
Australia’s defense roadmap also includes a commitment of $1.53 billion to buy 12 specialized Super Hornets fighter jets and outlines plans for 12 submarines.
 
The release of the white paper comes a day after Indonesian president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono told his generals that the military should be larger than regional powers, including Australia, Malaysia and Singapore.

You May Like

Video British Fighters on Frontline of ISIS Information War

It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for Islamic State alongside other foreign jihadists More

Pakistan's Political Turmoil Again Shines Spotlight on Military

Thousands of protesters calling for PM Sharif to step down continue protests in front of parliament, as critics fear political impasse could spur another military coup More

Photogallery Ebola Quarantines Spark Anxiety in Liberian Capital

Food prices rise sharply as residents attempting purchases clash with security forces, leaving one person dead More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Native Bees May Help Save Cropsi
X
Deborah Block
August 22, 2014 12:23 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video Native Bees May Help Save Crops

U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video US Defense Officials Plan for Long-Term Strategy to Contain Islamic State

U.S. defense officials say American air strikes in Iraq have helped deter Islamic State militants for the time being, but that a broad international effort is needed to defeat the extremists permanently. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel warned Thursday that the group formerly known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, is better organized, and financially and militarily stronger than any other known terrorist group. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Drug-Resistant Malaria Spreads in Southeast Asia

On Thailand’s border with Myanmar, also known as Burma, a malaria research and treatment clinic is stepping up efforts to eliminate a drug-resistant form of the parasite - before it spreads abroad. Steve Sandford reports from Mae Sot, Thailand.
Video

Video Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbas

The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Nigeria's 'Nollywood' Movie Industry Rolls in High Gear

Twenty years after its birth in a video shop in Lagos, Nigeria's "Nollywood" is one of the most prolific film industries on earth. Despite low budgets and whirlwind production schedules, Nigerian films are wildly popular in Africa and industry professionals say they hope, in the future, their films will be as great in quality as they are in quantity. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Lagos.
Video

Video UN Launches 'Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years' in Iraq

The United Nations has launched what it describes as one of the biggest aid operations in 30 years in northern Iraq, as hundreds of thousands of refugees flee the extremist Sunni militant group calling itself the Islamic State. As Kurdish and Iraqi forces battle the Sunni insurgents, the fighting has forced more people to flee their homes. Kurdish authorities say the international community must act now to avert a humanitarian catastrophe. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Cambodian American Hip Hop Artist Sings of Personal Struggles

A growing underground movement of Cambodian American hip hop artists is rapping about the struggles of living in urban America. Most, if not all of them, are refugees or children of refugees who came to the United States from Cambodia to escape the Khmer Rouge genocide of the 1970s. Through their music, the artists hope to give voice to immigrants who have been struggling quietly for years. Elizabeth Lee reports from Long Beach, California.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid