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The Australian National University

Trilateral conference



Strengthening Australia-Japan-US Strategic Cooperation: Prospects and Challenges

Held on 30 January 2017, this conference featured expert speakers and leading security policy voices from Australia, Japan, the United States, India and Southeast Asia. They discussed a range of security issues that are preoccupying governments in Australia, Japan and the US as well as from within our shared Indo-Pacific region, and explored the prospects and challenges for enhancing the Australia-Japan-US trilateral security relationship.

Recorded on the sidelines of the conference, this series of conversations between participating panelists focused on the challenges and opportunities facing two key Indo-Pacific alliances.


US alliances and partnerships in the Indo-Pacific: threats and opportunities

Former Japanese defence minister Professor Satoshi Morimoto is interviewed by Professor Rory Medcalf, Head of the ANU National Security College, about his perspectives on regional security during the Trump Administration. They discuss the future of the region’s linchpin alliances: those between the USA and Japan, and the USA and Australia, elaborating on the prospects for strengthening collaboration to deal with potential future challenges and instability.

Indo-Pacific regional security and cooperation in the age of Trump

Dr Amy Searight, Senior Adviser and Director of the Southeast Asia Program at CSIS in Washington and former senior US defense and state department official, talks to Bruce Luckham of the ANU National Security College about recent and forthcoming US policy in the region. Dr Searight discusses Obama’s ‘pivot’ to the region, the apparent demise of the Trans-Pacific Partnership and regional country perspectives. The lack of clarity on Trump’s approach and the likelihood of China stepping into the current ‘strategic vacuum’ makes stronger collaboration and development of new strategic partnerships by Australia all the more helpful in maintaining peace and stability in the region. (The College would like to thank the Embassy of the Unites States for its support in bringing Dr Searight to Australia for this conference.)

Japan’s place in the shifting world order

Professor Yuichi Hosoya from Keio University, Tokyo explains his vision of the world post-Brexit and the election of Donald Trump to Chris Farnham of the ANU National Security College. Professor Hosoya describes how the liberal international system shaped and protected by Great Britain and the United States is now being reshaped and re-envisioned after the shocks of Brexit and the election of Donald Trump. He discusses Japan’s role in the emerging international system and details how Japan may view its pacifist constitution as the US alliance system comes under pressure. 

Philippine perspectives on security in South East Asia

Prominent Filipino commentator Assistant Professor Richard Heydarian speaks with Dr Sue Thompson from the ANU National Security College on the particularity of Philippine views on regional security under maverick President Rodrigo Duterte. Professor Heydarian talks about the Philippines’ role in ASEAN, its newly complicated relationship with the Unites States, the popularity and distinctiveness of Duterte and the prospects for a new foreign policy approach under his presidency.


Trilateral cooperation and interoperability between Australia-Japan-US in the age of Trump

Colonel Grant Newsham (Ret’d), Senior Research Fellow at the Japan Forum for Strategic Studies speaks with the ANU National Security College’s Chris Farnham about Japan’s strategic environment and how the election of Donald Trump may influence the bilateral strategic relationship with the United States. Colonel Newsham details the pressing issues regarding interoperability within the Japanese Self Defence Forces (JSDF) as well as between the JSDF and US forces. He gives his perspective on defence relations between Australia and Japan since the Australian Government chose French submarine designs over Japanese, and suggests ways in which the Australian Defence Force could enhance interoperability with the JSDF in all three services.

Great power relations in the Indian Ocean

As tensions increase in the South and East China Seas, Dhruva Jaishankar of Brookings India talks to Dr David Brewster from the ANU National Security College about how these issues may play out in the neighbouring Indian Ocean. Mr Jaishankar describes the weakness of the security architecture in that body of water, Indian perspectives and the contemporary inextricability of economic and strategic concerns for all the powers involved. They discuss the possible approach of the Trump Administration towards India and the critical trade routes criss-crossing its ocean, as well as opportunities for multilateral cooperation to improve security in the region. 



This conference was hosted by the ANU National Security College as part of a wider project of research and events in partnership with the Embassy of Japan.



The National Security College is a joint initiative of the Commonwealth Government and ANU.

Updated:  7 February 2017/ Responsible Officer:  Head of College, National Security College/ Page Contact:  Web administrator, National Security College