Diversifying Australia’s Indo-Pacific infrastructure diplomacy

Jeffrey Wilson

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debate

Abstract

Infrastructure is an emerging component of Australian diplomacy. In recent years, many infrastructure and connectivity (I&C) programs have been launched in the Indo-Pacific, designed to close the ‘infrastructure gaps’ that plague the region. Competition amongst these, particularly between US and Chinese offerings, has posed a dilemma for Australian foreign policy. Australia has struggled to articulate a policy on China’s Belt and Road Initiative that balances strategic concerns against economic opportunities; while enthusiastic engagement with US alternatives risks perceptions of ‘choosing’ sides between the region’s two main powers. Yet the contemporary marketplace for Indo-Pacific I&C is much broader, with programs recently launched by many governments and regional organisations. These presents an opportunity for Australia to diversify its infrastructure diplomacy, particularly through engagement with the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, cooperation with Japan and new avenues for commercial diplomacy. By engaging with a wider range of I&C partners and institutions, Australia can better integrate itself with the emerging infrastructure systems of the Indo-Pacific.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)101-108
Number of pages8
JournalAustralian Journal of International Affairs
Volume73
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 4 Mar 2019

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