Japan's Ambassador to Australia @YamagamiShingo and US Chargé d'Affaires Mike Goldman speaking at the @ASPI_org conference right now. @YamagamiShingo opens very promisingly, saying "I would like to speak my mind" (journos love these words) 1/
The Ambassador starts with yesterday's 2 +2 meeting of Japanese and Australian Defence and Foreign Ministers. He says the meeting - and the subsequent statement issued by both countries - were "wide ranging and historic" 2/
The Ambassador says the joint statement shows that "Australia is not walking alone." He points directly to clause six which says both nations "commit to opposing coercion and destabilising behaviour by economic means." He does not use the C word. 3/
The Ambassador says the statement is equally forceful when it comes to destablising behaviour in the South China Sea + the East China Sea. This is interesting. He says Japan used to maintain a conceptual "dividing line" between the two seas but "that's not the case any more" 4/
Now US Chargé d'Affaires Mike Goldman. On the quad- he says the four countries are approaching the initiative with "confidence." He adds "this is not a "defensive or shrill grouping of countries" 5/
Goldman - "the quad is not NATO and it's not necessarily orientated against anyone. It's not blind to strategic challenges, but it's a grouping born of confidence and commitment" 6/
Now India's Deputy High Commissioner @pskarthigeyan - he says the Quad is not part of "a containment strategy." He says it's an "inclusive" initiative- "our vision is positive and collaborative and inclusive" 7/
The Deputy HC says "we are clear eyed about what (the Quad) is, and what is is not, more importantly." He also says the countries "need to be a little more broad-minded" about how they define "security" 8/
Now Hugh Jeffrey, a senior Defence Dept official. (I'm listening back now, about 30 mins behind events) He says there "other narratives" about the quad which frame it as a vehicle for containment, but "if you look at way quad has developed, it's not a defence first construct" 9/
Goldman says the Quad needs to tackle both climate change and COVID-19. He says "we need to show democracies have the flexibility, resilience and innate power to reinvent themselves to deal with these challenges. We can do this and leave the comparison strongly implicit" 10/
Goldman- it's crucial for the US and China to cooperate to cut emissions. "We have to find a way to work with China on climate change. I'd say the way we do it is if we get our house in order. That would then increase pressure, if you will, on China to get its house in order" 11/
Hugh Jeffrey- there are "competing narratives" about the international order. Some "rising powers" see the order as a mechanism to contain them - "if we are going to get to a point where we can manage global challenges we need to reconcile those two different narratives" 12/
Moderator asks how countries can convince (or press) China and Xi Jinping to work within the rules based order. Hugh Jeffrey wryly observes he's ignoring his own maxim about public servants not winging it and gives it a crack. In brief- work collectively 13/
Goldman- it's "endlessly fascinating" to study the Chinese leadership/elite politics, "it can be a rabbit hole you never emerge from." But he says it's more important to focus on China's actions. Identifying Xi's precise motivations/psychology is an "impossible task" 14/
Question on Dutton's comments about expanding the US military presence in Australia. Goldman plays a very straight bat: "we have an AUSMIN construct with a force posture review group. These things will all get considered in the context of that. I wouldn't get ahead of those" 15/

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More from @stephendziedzic

9 Jun
Australia and Japan issue a wide-ranging joint statement in the wake of the 2+2 meeting of Defence and Foreign Ministers. Here's the paragraph on the East China Sea - I think this is the first time there's been a direct reference to Taiwan in an Aus-Japan statement 1/
(Although worth noting that Japan has recently been more willing to reference Taiwan in joint statements, so this is not exceptional - for eg there were references to the recent Japan-US and Japan-EU statements) 2/
Point 6 also jumps out - "we commit to opposing coercion and destabilising behaviour by economic means, which undermines the rules-based international system" 3/
Read 6 tweets
9 Jun
OK. Morrison has delivered his foreign policy speech in Perth ahead of the G7. Now there's a q and a with @lgflake - I'll tweet excerpts of the exchange. Flake opens up with a question on the "hydrogen hubs" proposed by the Fed Govt 1/
Morrison calls hydrogen "one of the biggest game changers into new energy economy." He agrees there is a global shift to low emissions technology but says the commercial sector - and its technological innovations -will drive that shift 2/
Flake asks about the Quad. Morrison says the Quad "is not a group or a club seeking to compete" and (yet again) says that ASEAN remains at the heart of the Qaud's vision of the region, and "we need to keep on reassuring the region this is what it's about" 3/
Read 5 tweets
7 Apr
The Chinese Ambassador to Australia is holding a rare press conference today in Canberra. It will start at 2pm, so around 10 minutes from now. We are told it will be on Xinjiang. I won't live tweet, but will post excerpts here 1/
The Ambassador, Cheng Jingye, introduces a series of officials in Xinjiang who are being beamed live into the press conference. They are sitting under a banner reading "Xinjiang is a Wonderful Land." One of the officials is Xinjiang govt spokesman Xu Guixiang 2/
Journalists were played a 10 minute long propaganda video about Xinjiang. Now they're hearing from Vice-Governor Erkin Tuniyaz. Both the Governor and the video hit very familiar themes, saying the govt maintains "ethnic harmony" in Xinjiang while cracking down on terrorism 3/
Read 14 tweets
9 Dec 20
OK. India's External Affairs Minister @DrSJaishankar is about to speak to @mfullilove at @LowyInstitute and I'm going to live tweet. Please mute if you don't care about India's foreign policy (you should though you numpties, it's stupendously interesting) 1/
Jaishankar was previously the head of MEA (comparable to @dfat Secretary) before becoming Minister. Fullilove asks which job is more satisfying. Jaishankar doesn't quite answer but says the ministerial role gave him a "broader" view of both domestic and international politics 2/
Now to Jaishankar's new book "The India Way." He says the core ideas he's exploring in the book are "multi-polarity and re-balancing." A "new architecture" is being built as power shifts. But countries are now far more interdependent. This creates "constrained competition" 3/
Read 17 tweets
8 Dec 20
Right. We're back onto the Senate debate over the foreign relations bill. The lower house has rejected a Senate amendment which would subject ministerial decisions to judicial review. Now we'll get another vote in the Senate 1/
Looks like Jacqui Lambie has switched her vote, so the Govt has the numbers to pass the foreign relations laws in full. Labor will continue to vote in favor of the judicial review mechanism but seems likely to lose the vote (if those numbers hold) 2/
And that's done. Govt wins the vote, so the Senate does not insist on its judicial review amendment. It hits the cutting room floor. Full laws now passed. In quick time too: the bill was first proposed only in August. Quite a significant shift in policy in only a few months
Read 4 tweets
7 Dec 20
Contributions to the China debate from @DaveSharma + @TimWattsMP Both have written briefs for @ChinaMattersAUS Sharma says Aust should remain "resolved and patient." Also says security agencies should recruit more Chinese Australians which means overhauling security clearances 1/
Sharma says the Islamic community in Australia has been a "great resource" when it comes to fighting attempts by Islamic State to radicalise citizens - "we need to have the same level of cooperation with Australia's Chinese communities" 2/
Sharma says Taiwan should be invited to join the CPTPP. He also wants Australia to try and coax the Biden Administration back in 3/
Read 6 tweets

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