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Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull addresses delegates during an emerging leaders roundtable at the ASEAN special summit, Sydney, Australia, March 16, 2018 (AP photo by Rick Rycroft).

In Deepening Ties With ASEAN, Australia Gains a ‘Strategic Hedge’

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Earlier this month, Australia hosted its first special summit with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, the 10-member regional bloc known as ASEAN. While it is not a member, Australia has developed a close working relationship with the group. Amid discussions in Sydney focused on regional security and trade issues, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull hailed ASEAN as a “strategic convener.” The two sides also unveiled a joint infrastructure initiative that looks to provide a potential alternative to China’s huge Belt and Road Initiative. In an email interview, Evan Laksmana, a senior researcher at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies in Jakarta, Indonesia, discusses how ASEAN fits into Australia’s regional foreign policy and the obstacles that could stand in the way of greater cooperation.

WPR: What is driving Australia’s closer alignment with ASEAN, and how does this fit into Australian foreign policy in Asia? ...

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