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Changing Asia, rising China, and Australia's strategic choices

By Rod Lyon

This Policy Analysis examines the current debate over how Australia should react to the growth of Chinese power.

Media reports that highlight the different views of China held by Australia’s defence planners and its intelligence agencies miss a key point: we can’t know what sort of actor China will be in 2030. So Australia needs a strategy that allows for either a more cooperative China or a more uncooperative one.

That means we must be prepared to adjust our efforts as events unfold, order-building with a more benign China, hedging against a less benign China. It assesses that we have some time yet to take the big decisions on force structure.

The paper also examines the role of intelligence assessments in shaping policy, acknowledging that China’s future is more of a mystery than a secret.