Peter Phipps: Australia Needs Independent Foreign Policy in Pacific

    Australia needs to develop its own independent foreign policy for Pacific countries as U.S. and Chinese engagements in the region become more complicated, a development and globalization expert argues.

    Australia, as a “middle power” in the region, needs to make long-term, principled choices, including recognizing that it is in its long-term national interest to help local communities and civil society organizations in the region become more resilient and proactive to demanding accountability from their governments, Peter Phipps, senior lecturer in global studies and researcher at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, writes in ABC News’ “The Drum Opinion.”

    “This will mean stepping out of the shadow of whichever great power we habitually attach ourselves to, and having a truly independent foreign policy,” he argues.

    Phipps’ call is in reaction to comments by Julie Bishop, deputy leader of Australia’s opposition and shadow minister for foreign affairs and trade, about the role of China in the Pacific and how Australia can work with the Asian country. Bishop’s comments, which were inspired by a recent report on Chinese engagement in the Pacific, were dismissed by some critics from the country’s conservative circle.

    >> The Good and the Bad in China’s Engagement in the Pacific

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    About the author

    • Ivy Mungcal

      As former senior staff writer, Ivy Mungcal contributed to several Devex publications. Her focus is on breaking news, and in particular on global aid reform and trends in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean, and the Americas. Before joining Devex in 2009, Ivy produced specialized content for U.S. and U.K.-based business websites.