Our digital conference 'The Indo-Pacific Operating System' begins now. First up: Lowy Institute Executive Director @mfullilove hosts a conversation with White House Indo-Pacific Coordinator Kurt Campbell. We'll be sharing highlights from the event here.
You can still join the audience - register through the link here: …acific-lowyinstitute.expoplatform.com
.@mfullilove introduces Kurt Campbell and asks him about his concept of the 'Indo-Pacific Operating System', and the US' long-term ambition in the region.
@mfullilove Campbell: The region's achievements in weath creation, promoting democracy over 40 years are often overlooked.
@mfullilove Campbell: The operating system is a fabric of a number of different things, woven together, that has supported countries from Indonesia to Japan to benefit from the integration of the past 40 years.
@mfullilove Campbell: It's a fool's errand to say it's the role of the US to preserve or secure something from the past. Asia is about looking forward and sustaining the regional order going forward.
@mfullilove .@mfullilove asks about economic strategy: what will it take the US to 'break free' and really develop an economic strategy for the region?
@mfullilove Campbell: You're already seeing elements of that take shape now. The President has been articulating a 'cutting-edge' vision in recent summit and leader meetings.
@mfullilove Campbell: It's important for the US to demonstrate that we do understand the region; defence and security support is great but it's not enough. The region seeks our efforts in designing standards.
@mfullilove .@mfullilove asks: On #AUKUS, the centrepiece is an agreement to share nuclear submarine tech. Why did the Administration make this commitment?
@mfullilove Campbell: We're sharing nuclear sub tech because Australia is an ally like no other.
@mfullilove Campbell: White House has appointed a role to coordinate AUKUS and work with Australia and UK to set up the architecture, tech cooperation, and nuclear sub tech
@mfullilove Campbell: the goal is to provide Australia with best options to field nuclear sub technology in the 'nearest possible destination time'.
@mfullilove .@mfullilove asks: what did you mean when you talked about Aus-UK-US forces in the Indo-Pacific 'melding' - and what implications for Australia's national sovereignty?
@mfullilove Campbell: I don't want to leave any sense sovereignty and independence would be lost. This is meant to be additive and create new capacities.
@mfullilove Campbell: For Australia to master nuclear sub technology will require 'profound kinds of engagement' - it will be extraordinarily important.
@mfullilove .@mfullilove asks: what do you mean when you say AUKUS will be 'open architecture'? What other countries do you have in mind?
@mfullilove Campbell: The nuclear submarine aspect is set aside. But in new technology and military innovation, many countries have sought to participate.
@mfullilove .@mfullilove asks: what did you make of France's reaction to AUKUS announcement? Was the administration happy with Australia's handling of it?
@mfullilove Campbell: We're working as closely as possible with France. Our relationship with Europe in the Indo-Pacific will only grow stronger. And we'll look back on AUKUS as a significant achievement.
@mfullilove .@mfullilove asks: on the Quad, is it important to deepen cooperation betwen Quad members, or to expand the Quad to include more members?
@mfullilove Campbell: Quad leaders have answered that in the short term - they want to deepen the relationship; deliver on what they have committed to.
@mfullilove Campbell: Personal relationships between Quad leaders are strong - a partnership has formed, and I believe it will carry on.
@mfullilove .@mfullilove: Quad leaders would not have come together if not for China. Tell us about the US-China bilateral relationship, how it has evolved throughout the year.
@mfullilove Campbell: Anxieties about China have risen across the region. We see that manifested in the politics of the four countries involved.
@mfullilove Campbell: The US has traditionally had leading advantages in cutting edge tech, and all of them have been challenged
@mfullilove Campbell: even when the US is dealing with deep division at home, there is broad bipartisan agreement about dealing with challenges in the Indo-Pacific
@mfullilove Campbell: No accident that Biden's meeting with Xi came immediately after the signing of the largest infrastructure deal the US had undertaken since 1958
@mfullilove Campbell: We're working with allies and partners. More countries want to work constructively with us than I've ever seen before. Behind closed doors there is anxiety with China's economic, security policies.
@mfullilove Campbell: The Biden/Xi interaction was exactly what we have been looking for. Clear, articulate and precise about what the US was seeking; wanted to underscore our concerns with China's policy.
@mfullilove Campbell: Our sense is that the only way to engage and get things done with China is at the senior leader level.
@mfullilove Campbell: We believe competition can be conducted peacefullly. But there are still many areas that the US and China have disagreements on.
@mfullilove Campbell: We recognise the significance of China, we are not seeking to undermine China. But the US is not leaving the Indo-Pacific, and we're not in decline.
@mfullilove .@mfullilove: President Biden talked about establishing 'common sense guardrails'; but Pentagon believes China increasing nuclear warheads. Is China open to talks about nuclear stability?
@mfullilove Campbell: No country has undertaken such a broad-gauge military modernisation as China has over past 30 years. It has unnerved people in the region, and increasingly globally.
@mfullilove Campbell: It's potentially destabilising, it's important to have communications so that we understand what goals and ambitions are. Just as we had discussions with the former Soviet Union.
@mfullilove Campbell: Is China ready for these discussions? We don't know.
@mfullilove .@mfullilove asks about reported hypersonic weapons tests by China
@mfullilove Campbell: There are a number of technologies that China is demonstrating that we are concerned by. Some of the capabilities are destabilising, and others could trigger a misunderstanding.
@mfullilove .@mfullilove asks about Australia's Taiwan debate, and whether the US should continue to embrace strategic ambiguity on Taiwan?
@mfullilove Campbell: One of the great achievements of the US-China relationship over decades, a very complex relationship, is the development of Taiwan and the maintenance of peace and stability.
@mfullilove Campbell: The maintenance of peace and stability is in the interests of many countries, and that's why you've seen them speaking out over recent months, eg Japan, Australia, Great Britain
@mfullilove .@mfullilove asks: how do you respond to observers such as former PM Paul Keating, who say the US is unwilling to recognise the reality of China's rise, and therefore Australia is heading in the wrong direction.
@mfullilove Campbell: The US is not an observer in China's development, it has been a supporter. The biggest surprise is when I talk to other countries behind closed doors, they express concern in relation to China.
@mfullilove Campbell: If you had asked seven or eight years ago which countries might realign strategically, the UK and Australia might be near the top of that list. But look how much has changed in a short period of time - largely driven by Chinese actions.
@mfullilove .@mfullilove asks: Australia needs to solve its problems with China, how should it go about trying to re-engage?
@mfullilove Campbell: I believe China will re-engage with Australia, but will do on Australian terms. China's preference would have been to 'break' Australia, but I don't think that's how it going to play out.
@mfullilove Campbell: China is a country that respects fortitude and strength, and I can't think of a country that demonstrates that more than Australia.
@mfullilove .@mfullilove asks: reports of an ASEAN leaders meeting in early 2022 - would US seek to upgrade to a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership with ASEAN?
@mfullilove Campbell: There will be leader-to-leader engagement. We recognise the critical importance of ASEAN centrality.
@mfullilove .@mfullilove asks: what happens if 'competition with guardrails' fails - what does plan B look like?
@mfullilove Campbell: It's important to be clear-eyed, and steady. And also to be resolute in how you approach strategic circumstances.
@mfullilove .@mfullilove asks: did President Biden raise China's economic coercion of Australia in his talks with President Xi?
@mfullilove Campbell: Yes, he mentioned activities that he felt were antithetical to China's interests. Our assessment is that maybe the feedback loop is not working in China as well as it has in the past. What better way to reach the leader than have a direct conversation. @ErykBagshaw
@mfullilove @ErykBagshaw .@mfullilove asks: is there a cast-iron assurance Australia will get nuclear sub technology?
@mfullilove @ErykBagshaw Campbell: I don't think our leaders would have gotten behind it if we didn't think this was an achievable goal.
@mfullilove @ErykBagshaw @mfullilove asks: what has it been like being back in government?
@mfullilove @ErykBagshaw Campbell: I never thought I would be coming into government escorted by an armoured humvee. We are living through enormous divisiveness. But the next generation of strategists are deeply knowledgeable and capable.
@mfullilove @ErykBagshaw The conversation with Kurt Campbell is now at an end. The conference will now take a short break and return at 10.45am AEDT with @RollandNadege speaking on 'China's vision for a New World Order'. Register here to join the audience: …acific-lowyinstitute.expoplatform.com

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