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 One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Job-Seeking Bangladeshis Risk Lives to Find Work

The number of Bangladeshi migrants on smugglers’ boats bound for Southeast Asian countries has soared in the past two years More

Video Scientists Say We Need Softer Robots

Today’s robots are mostly hard, rigid machines, with sharp edges and forceful movements, but researchers at Carnegie Mellon University say they should be softer and therefore safer More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs