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Strategic Insights 50 - Australia and South Korea: Middle power cooperation and Asian security

By Carl Ungerer, Simon Smith

This report on the future of Australia-South Korea security cooperation provides a clear-eyed assessment of the small but productive role that an expanded bilateral agenda could play in maintaining regional peace and stability. 

Until recently, Australia and South Korea have shown little interest in developing a more comprehensive strategic relationship. Each country has faced very different, largely exclusive security dilemmas that have forestalled new forms of middle power cooperation.

For both countries, a more comprehensive strategic relationship may be of increasing value given the tectonic shifts in our region. The report argues that three broad areas of security cooperation stand out for consideration: joint activism in regional security forums, assistance with post-conflict and stabilisation operations, and strengthening cooperation among the ‘spokes’ of the San Francisco alliance system.