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HomeGeopolitical CompassSouth & Southeast AsiaAsia’s Regional Security Architecture: An Australian Perspective

Asia’s Regional Security Architecture: An Australian Perspective

Author: Nick Bisley

Affiliation: La Trobe University, Melbourne, Australia

Organization/Publisher: ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute 

Date/Place: May 10, 2022/Singapore

Type of Literature: Commentary Article 

Number of Pages: 10 



Keywords: Australia, Asia-Pacific, Southeast Asia, ASEAN, Foreign Policy, the Quad, AUKUS



The security architecture in Asia has proven illusory to prevent or contain the US-China rivalry in the region. At the same time, the ASEAN centrality has weakened and is unable to respond effectively to the deteriorating regional security. Eventually this has led to the situation where states are seeking to place their security interest into their own hands and build a ‘minilateral ’grouping to drive their own interests. The author argues that Australia has shown this attitude by forming the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad) with India, Japan, and the United States, and also the Australia, United Kingdom, and US trilateral security pact (AUKUS) in response to the new security dynamic in the region. There are three important points from these two moves by Australia regarding Asia-Pacific regional security. First, both diplomatic networks are focused on military and defense affairs. Whereas in the past, the security cooperation in Asia was often focused on non-military concerns such as humanitarian or disaster relief. Second,  the collaborations are between a small number of countries, which shows Australia’s intention for an easier consensus approach and common actions. Third, there is a shift away from a liberal inspired security dynamic that was based on economic and technical cooperation and towards a more realist that is based on military and defense power. The Quad and AUKUS show that Australia is enhancing its military power on Asia-Pacific regional security. Finally, the author urges that the erosion of ASEAN centrality and lack of influence on its members’ foreign policy will cost the region an uncontrolled great power competition which could include the possibility of military competition.


By: Salman Nugraha, CIGA Research Intern



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