Security Challenges
Volume 12, No.1 (2016)

China in Australia’s 2016 Defence White Paper

In 2009, the release of the Defence White Paper Defending Australia in the Asia Pacific Century: Force 2030 created a domestic and regional stir. On the assumption that China will “be the strongest Asian military power … by a considerable margin”, the section on ‘The Strategic Implications of the Rise of China’ argues that if China does not do more to explain the reasons for its military build-up and modernisation which “appears potentially to be beyond the scope of what would be required for a conflict over Taiwan”, there is “likely to be a question in the minds of regional states about the long-term strategic purpose of its force development plans”. As if to suggest Australia was not prepared to wait for a Chinese answer to these questions, Force 2030 had a strong maritime focus and promised a number of new capability enhancements for the Australian Defence Force. This included the building of twelve new conventional submarines in Australia.

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