Japan’s new security Partnerships – the ‘special relationship’ with Australia

Place: UBC Institute of Asian Research Room 120 (C.K. Choi Building), 1855 West Mall
Date: Monday, March 6
Time: 12 – 1:30PM
By: Dr Thomas S. Wilkins


Australia and Japan have greatly enhanced their direct bilateral security ties to forge what they now describe as a “special strategic partnership.” This new form of security alignment is not intended to be a traditional alliance pact, but rather represents a novel and versatile mechanism for diplomatic, security, and economic cooperation. Both states seek to pragmatically advance their national interests in tandem and to multiply their capabilities to meet joint security challenges in the Asia-Pacific. In this case, however, the strength and significance of the strategic partnership is further buttressed as a consequence of their adjunct status as “quasi-allies”—through their independent defense pacts with the U.S.—and their combined participation in the Trilateral Strategic Dialogue.  This talk will focus on the purpose, drivers and dynamics of this newly enhanced security cooperation between two of America’s key allies in the Asia Pacific, and contemplate how its both reinforces US hegemony, while at the same time serving as an insurance policy for two states concerned with the staying power of the US in the region.


About the Speaker:

Dr Thomas S. Wilkins is a Senior Lecturer in International Security at the University of Sydney and Visiting Associate Professor at the University of Hong Kong.  He received his Ph.D from the University of Birmingham, UK, and completed his Post-Doctoral Studies at the University for San Francisco, and the East West Center, Honolulu.  Since then he has been Ministry of Foreign Affairs Taiwan Fellow (Taiwan National University) and Japan Foundation ‘Japan Studies’ Fellow (University of Tokyo).  He specializes in security issues in the Asia Pacific region and has published on this subject in journals such asReview of International StudiesInternational Relations of the Asia Pacific and Australian Journal of International Affairs, among others.  He is currently a Japan Society for the Promotion of Sciences (JSPS) fellow at the University of Tokyo and an Associate Editor for the journal Pacific Affairs.

See the poster for the event.