Malcom Cook: Australia’s Myth-Busting Relation with China


19 June 2019, 11:00-12:00


Trainee Center, room 3.40, Vodární 6, Olomouc


Australia’s current relations with China seriously challenge two very popular grand strategic assumptions that are frequently referred to by Chinese interlocutors. The first challenged assumption is that the more another state trade with China, the more its economic and non-economic policies will or should become aligned with those of China or risk Chinese economic retaliation. The second is that allies of the United States in Asia adopt policies opposed by China due solely or primarily to pressure from the United States. Australia is very trade-dependent on China and yet frequently adopts non-economic policies opposed by China. Australia is a very close ally of the United States yet on key policy areas from Chinese firms’ participation in Australia’s critical infrastructure to defence cooperation with China, alliance interests have not predominated.   China and the U.S. are less influential over Australia’s definition of its national interest and the policies it pursues than conventional wisdom suggests.


Dr Malcolm Cook is a Senior Fellow at ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute in Singapore. From 2003 to 2010, he was the inaugural East Asia Program Director at the Lowy Institute for International Policy in Sydney and then the inaugural Dean of the School of International Studies at Flinders University in Adelaide. Before that, he was a lecturer at Ateneo de Manila University in the Philippines. Malcolmhas worked in Japan, South Korea, the Philippines, Australia and Singapore. He was awarded a joint honours Bachelor of Arts degree by McGill University in Montreal, a Masters degree in International Relations by the International University of Japan in Niigata-ken and a PhD in International Relations by the Australian National University in Canberra. His 19 June seminar is based on a report on Australia and the U.S.-China Economic Rivalry for the Australian Strategic Policy Institute that is scheduled for release soon.