Security Challenges
Volume 11, No.2 (2015)

Some Thoughts on Australia and the Freedoms of Navigation

Freedoms of navigation and overflight issues have been attracting considerable interest in recent months with calls for Australia to support the United States in conducting freedom of navigation (FON) operations in the South China Sea to challenge China’s claims in the area. This comment discusses the importance of freedoms of navigation to Australia, including how this interest can sometimes conflict with Australia’s interests both as a coastal State and in maintaining a stable neighbourhood. It concludes by identifying the costs and benefits of possible FON operations by Australia in the South China Sea. This comment piece draws upon work previously published by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute’s The Strategist blog and the Australian National University’s East Asia Forum blog.

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