China and the United States’ cooperation in applying sanctions against North Korea does not promise a new era of cooperation around increasingly entwined economic and security issues, new research led by Victoria University of Wellington academics has concluded.
“We’re seeing much more competition than cooperation” says Robert Ayson, Victoria’s Professor of Strategic Studies and author of a study published by a prestigious Australian National University (ANU) think-tank.
“Our new report, The Economics-Security Nexus Under Trump and Xi: Policy Implications for Asia-Pacific Countries, finds that New Zealand and its regional partners should expect less reassurance and more pressure,” says Professor Ayson.
“President Trump has withdrawn the US from the Trans-Pacific Partnership process and is threatening to exit the free trade agreement with South Korea, a leading US security ally. And China has signalled to New Zealand, Australia and other regional countries that they need to consider the potential trade implications of taking a critical stance on the South China Sea. The days of separating our economic and security interests are well and truly over.”
The new study was kick-started by a symposium hosted by Victoria’s Centre for Strategic Studies, which brought together leading scholars from Victoria, the ANU and Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University.
Associate Professor David Capie, the Centre’s Director, says the symposium was an opportunity to build strong links with some of Victoria’s most important capital city university connections. “We were also thrilled with the participation of senior officials from a range of government agencies.”
Building deeper connections with scholars in the region and with the official community is a strong focus for Victoria.
“This is exactly what we had in mind when we established ‘Enabling our Asia-Pacific trading nation’ as one of Victoria’s eight areas of academic distinctiveness and strength,” says Professor Siah Hwee Ang, Victoria’s Chair in Business in Asia and Chair of the team leading this area of research collaboration.
“We’ve created research connections across the University that can bring new combinations of expertise to deal with knotty interdisciplinary questions. And we’re leading the way in outlining the policy options governments need to consider.”
That’s where the next stage of Professor Ayson’s work will head.
“We knew none of the options for governments would be easy” he says, “but we think we’ve identified some of the most fruitful ways ahead. It’s no longer about finding our comfort zone between the US and China, because that doesn’t exist. For New Zealand, we think this means working even more closely with some of our regional partners, including Australia and Singapore, to make sure none of us is alone when we face future economic and security pressures from the big powers.”
| A Victoria University release || October 3, 2017 |||