Maritime Asia: An Australian perspective
As a maritime country with a heavy dependence on safe shipping and an extensive marine domain, Australia has much at stake in the developing situation in Asia's seas. Three successive Defence white papers have sought to explore the relationship the country should have with the region. These have pointed to the increased need to guard against the prospect of inter-state conflict in the region, confirmed the centrality of the country's strategic relationship with the United States and pointed to the need for expanded political and military engagement in the region. Opinions differ as to whether China represents a potential threat to the country, but there is general agreement that Australia should aim to reduce tensions at sea and encourage greater cooperation between China and the United States.