MELBOURNE, August 10, 2011 — Australia faces its most significant foreign policy decisions in more than 40 years, said Professor Hugh White in a keynote speech to more than 200 people at Asialink/Asia Society Australia Centre.
White said a key question was whether Australia "could avoid Chinese hegemony, without buying itself into a full-scale strategic competition with the U.S. and China."
He disagrees with what he believes is a belief on both sides of Australian politics that a choice will not have to be made between the two great powers.
"We do have to make some new choices," he said, "… (and) we're already making those choices as a country."
White's address focused on the dramatic developments occurring across the Asian region and what they mean to Australia.
He put forward seven propositions for what is occurring across Asia, which he conceded were all very debatable:
White said, "The further that strategic opposition escalates, the longer it lasts, the more stark the choices Australia faces and the tougher the options."
White was also joined by the following participants:
Professor Lowell Dittmer, Editor of Asian Survey, University of California at Berkeley
Professor Baogang He, Chair in International Studies, Deakin University
Professor Xia Liping, Dean of International studies, Tongji University, Shanghai
Reported by Will McCallum