Expert Speak Raisina Debates
Published on Nov 01, 2019
Can the quad navigate the complexities of a dynamic Indo-Pacific?

The past year has seen the revival of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, a mechanism which enables dialogue between four major democracies within the Indo-Pacific region, Australia, Japan, India, and the US, on issues of regional security. Known more colloquially as “the Quad” — language that conjures images of a Marvel movie — its revival signals an important development within the Indo-Pacific, and reflects a convergence of strategic interests between four major democracies of the region.

Underscored by principles of openness, freedom of movement, and respect for the rules-based international order, the Quad builds on a complex and overlapping web of bilateral and trilateral alliances and partnerships between the four nations. Its revival, albeit at officials level only, offers a constructive platform for embedding core principles into the narrative of the emerging regional order, while building the trust and confidence needed to support cooperative initiatives between the nations involved, and others.

However, caution is warranted. The re-appearance of the Quad has prompted speculation about its strategic purpose and intent. To suggest that the Quad is an alternative to the China’s Belt and Road Initiative, or a mechanism aimed at containing China, or to conflate it with understandings of the Indo-Pacific construct assigns far too much strategic gravitas to the grouping at this stage. Furthermore, such notions obscure significant regional mechanisms already in existence, and undermine prospects for cooperation and inclusion across the breadth of the Indo-Pacific region.

The Quad first emerged as a cooperative response to the devastation of the 2004 tsunami, with the navies of India, Australia, Japan, and the US engaged in the coordinated delivery of humanitarian and disaster relief. In 2007, Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, an early advocate of the Indo-Pacific, took steps to formalise the grouping through an initial summit and joint naval exercises in the Bay of Bengal. Despite Abe’s efforts, the Quad failed to cohere as a formal group after Australia withdrew in 2008 over concerns that the group might antagonise China. Australia’s withdrawal at that time rankled some in the respective foreign and defence policy communities and raised suspicions, including within India, that Australia might be a weak link in the grouping.<1> Arguably though, formalising the Quad at that stage would have been pre-emptory, as it lacked the agreed strategic framework and purpose. Indeed, aside from Australia, India and Japan harboured their own doubts about taking the initiative forward.<2> As Indonesia’s former foreign minister, Marty Natalegawa suggests, it was “a solution looking for a problem.”<3> Nonetheless, a complex web of interwoven bilateral and trilateral security links sustained a loose coalition between the four nations,<4> allowing reconstitution some ten years later, at least at the official level, in a format that some have labelled “Quad 2.0.”<5>

As discourse surrounding the Quad has unfolded over the past twelve months, it has brought criticisms, complexities, and challenges to the fore. A vast region, the Indo-Pacific is marked by a precarious geometry of fault-lines and strategic mistrust. While the Quad offers constructive opportunities for improving dialogue and cooperation across the region, it is constrained by internal limitations. Each member of the quartet presents a slightly different view of the Quad’s role within the Indo-Pacific, with Australia and India seemingly less attached to the concept than Japan and the US, and the broad objectives of such a grouping remain unclear. While the four largely speak of the same underpinning principles, with commitment to the ‘rules-based order’ emerging as a common theme, it is not clear just which rules apply and when. Lastly, lingering suspicions between members of the Quad limit the extent of cooperation that might be achieved. India’s continued reluctance towards Australia joining the trilateral Malabar exercises offers a clear example, while US concerns over India’s relationship with Iran could emerge as another thorny issue for the group. Other challenges, including a wider uneasiness about the role and intent of the Quad, especially amongst the nations of Southeast Asia, and the need to build trust and credibility with smaller nations across the vast region, including in the South Pacific, persist.

Reviving the Quad: An Indo-Pacific focus

US President Donald Trump paved the way for the revival of the Quad against the backdrop of the Indo-Pacific region. In his keynote to the 2017 APEC Leaders’ Summit in Vietnam, Trump spoke of US aspirations for a “free and open Indo-Pacific”<6> (FOIP), a construct now embedded in the US national security strategy. At its core, US positioning towards the Indo-Pacific is a response to the changing geopolitical realities of the region. Some argue that it is simply an extension of longstanding US strategy towards the Asia-Pacific. To some degree this is true, but key differences, not least the recent labelling of China as a strategic competitor, underscore the contemporary significance of America’s Indo-Pacific shift.<7> China’s ongoing militarisation and power projections across the region have brought a new sense of urgency to US positioning. While the nature of the Indo-Pacific construct remains ambiguous, it is seen as “a new way of thinking about the region”— one that engages with major democracies, and more specifically, “dilutes the predominance of China.”<8>

The renaming of the US Indo-Pacific Command (from the US Pacific Command) reinforces this message. When announcing the change, US Defence Secretary, Jim Mattis noted its symbolism as the “recognition of the increasing connectivity of the Indian and Pacific Oceans,” where “all nations large and small are essential to the region, in order to sustain stability in ocean areas critical to global peace.”<9> Indeed, the language of America’s Indo-Pacific has raised the ire of Chinese policymakers on the basis that it smacks of strategic containment. The White House is at pains to dampen such suggestions, preferring instead the narrative of counter-balance to be achieved through deepened security engagement with Japan, India, and Australia.<10> Others provide a more blunt assessment. Outgoing commander of the former US Pacific Command Admiral Harry Harris stated recently, “I believe we are reaching an inflection point in history… A geopolitical competition between free and oppressive visions is taking place in the Indo-Pacific.”<11> For the US, this Indo-Pacific turn is significant in name and substance. It is “deeply entangled in US-led strategic maneuvering,”<12> which seeks to ensure America’s contemporary relevance in the region, provide a strategic framework for responding to China, and by drawing on key partners, offer a platform for sharing the burden of regional leadership.

US emphasis on the Indo-Pacific brought the concept to the fore of analysis and scrutiny across the region, as nations have grappled to define their own Indo-Pacific perspectives. It dominated the agenda and discussion at Delhi’s Raisina Dialogue in early 2018, and more recently at Singapore’s Shangri La Dialogue. Australia, Japan, and India have welcomed the attention that Trump drew to the concept. Bringing the Indo-Pacific to the fore of regional dialogue validates the strategic outlook that each had been promoting for the previous decade, underscores the importance of their maritime interests, and opens up opportunities to build new partnerships and alignments across the region. But their responses to the Quad are mixed.

Each partner holds a slightly different view of what the Quad might achieve. Though subtle, these differences matter, and reciprocal interests in deeper partnership-building and cooperation cannot be assumed.

Prime Minister Abe, who embedded the FOIP strategy as a framework for Japan’s foreign policy in 2016, is unsurprisingly the most receptive to Quad. It is a concept he has previously referred to in an opinion piece as “Asia’s democratic security diamond” with a clear focus on ensuring freedom of navigation underpinned by values of democracy, the rule of law, and respect for human rights.<13> For Japan, the Quad is an important step towards a collective regional security arrangement at a time when the nation faces increasing pressure from China, especially in surrounding maritime domains. While Japan’s security relationship with the US endures, Abe is clearly working to keep the Trump-led administration engaged in the region, while shoring up bilateral partnerships with Australia and India. Japan has cultivated trilateral cooperation — Japan-India-US and Japan-Australia-US — to ensure semi-regular diplomatic consultation alongside accelerated military cooperation and defence technology transfer. Abe has taken steps to enhance and extend Japan’s ability to participate in the latter.<14> Questions remain about the extent to which Japan will be able to contribute to the Quad beyond existing activities, given the constitutional limitations on the Japanese Self-Defense Forces. While Abe has signaled his interest in pursuing constitutional change to enable the military to play a more assertive role beyond “self-defence,” such a move carries significant political risk and time may be running out to secure the change.<15>

Australia’s recent defence and foreign policy white papers explicitly identify the Indo-Pacific as a more fitting descriptor of the nation’s trans-oceanic strategic outlook.<16> The 2017 Foreign Policy White Paper sets out Australia’s vision for the Indo-Pacific as a neighbourhood “in which adherence to rules delivers lasting peace, where the rights of all states are respected, and where open markets facilitate the free flow of trade, capital and ideas.”<17> Much like Japan, the US Indo-Pacific strategy provides Australia with a critical platform for engaging its strategic ally in the region at a time when the US appears more intent on withdrawal. It also offers important opportunities to consider and develop deeper partnerships across the region, including with India and Japan, as well as with other regional democracies, like Indonesia. There is much common ground, yet the idea of a US-led strategic design, with an emphasis on the Quad, brings a sense of unease. Indeed, while the Quad offers a useful mechanism for security consultation and cooperation with key partners in support of a free and open Indo-Pacific, it was never intended to define or substantiate Australia’s Indo-Pacific outlook. Former foreign minister Julie Bishop, a strong advocate for the Indo-Pacific, noted that it was “natural” for the four nations, “as like-minded democracies,” to discuss issues of regional stability and security, but made no commitment to a more formal coalition.<18> Neither Australia’s defence nor foreign policy white papers make explicit reference to the Quad, although both reflect on the importance of a range of constructive partnerships that support underpinning principles of a free and open Indo-Pacific.

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi has also promoted the Indo-Pacific as a framework that aligns to his Act East and Neighbourhood First policies. India’s own geopolitical positioning is complex. Delivering the keynote at this year’s Shangri-La Dialogue, Modi was careful to avoid discussion of the challenges confronting India in the region, not least arising from a difficult relationship with China. Instead, he focused his speech towards an inclusive Indo-Pacific underpinned by the principle of consent, commitment to the rule of law, and “faith in dialogue” as the operative rules for the region.<19> In a speech that was clearly aimed towards a Southeast Asian audience, “Modi barely mentioned the region’s major powers and other significant players on the periphery, such as Australia or Japan. He stopped well short of criticising China or any other state by name. The ‘Quad’ was not spoken of at all.”<20> India is integral to America’s shift towards the Indo-Pacific, but as Modi’s speech indicates, the feelings are not quite so mutual. While “welcoming the Quad overtures,” India is “exercising strategic caution.”<21> Dual concerns arising from an unwillingness to aggravate China and growing uncertainty about the US strategic intent in the region are likely to underpin India’s cautious engagement with the Quad for now.

Having recently engaged in their third official-level meeting, it is clear that each of the US’ key Indo-Pacific partners — Japan, Australia, and India — are generally supportive of an informal coalition of the Quad finding common agreement in the need to promote a rules-based, open, free, and inclusive Indo-Pacific. But closer examination reveals that each has limitations, and each holds a slightly different view of what the Quad might achieve. Though subtle, these differences matter, and reciprocal interests in deeper partnership-building and cooperation cannot be assumed. Continued resistance to engaging in quadrilateral military exercises underscores this challenge. In particular, it seems that Australia still has some ground to overcome deeper suspicions and build relevance and credibility within the group and with others.<22>

Similarly, while US engagement in the Indo-Pacific remains a core element of regional security, broadening that engagement beyond security terms towards economic, trade and development initiatives will diffuse significant concerns about the intent of US strategic competition. Additionally, the place of China in the Indo-Pacific is important. India and Japan have made significant moves to build dialogue with China’s President Xi. Despite recent hurdles in the relationship, Australia might also play a role in drawing Beijing into sustained and constructive dialogue about the emerging power balance of the region. Indeed, it is worth noting, as Rory Medcalf has argued, that “China is the quintessential Indo-Pacific power.”<23>

Building an inclusive Indo-Pacific

Although captivated by the Indo-Pacific concept, Southeast Asian nations have taken some time to warm to it. For some, talk of the Indo-Pacific raises uneasiness about their own positioning within the region and appears dismissive of the enduring notion of ASEAN centrality.<24> It is an uneasiness that is reinforced by perceptions of the Quad. Graeme Dobell makes the point that “ASEAN mistrusts the Indo-Pacific, and is spooked by the quad”.<25> While it is worth noting that recent research into ASEAN perceptions of the Quad suggest this view might be changing,<26> officials remain cautious. Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, in his role as 2018 ASEAN host, reflects this view, affirming ASEAN’s acceptance of the Indo-Pacific, provided the end result is “an open and inclusive regional architecture, where ASEAN member states are not forced to take sides.”<27> China’s concerns about the Quad as a form of strategic design have found resonance in Southeast Asia — a clear reflection of China’s growing regional and global influence. While most nations across the region have a “shared interest in preventing China’s domination…like Australia, they all have complex interdependent relationships with China, which they need to maintain in a reasonable state of equilibrium.”<28> An Indo-Pacific that seeks to contain China is a difficult pill for Southeast Asia to swallow. More importantly it threatens the traditional consensus and unity found within ASEAN.

Former Australian foreign minister Julie Bishop made the point that “the states of ASEAN are pivotal to any debate about the future of the Indo-Pacific.Geographically, diplomatically and strategically, ASEAN sits at the heart”<29> of the Indo-Pacific. Indonesia’s former foreign minister Marty Natalegawa concurs, suggesting that under Indonesia’s chairmanship in 2002, ASEAN broadened its Indo-Pacific outlook, pushing for stronger engagement with India, Australia, and New Zealand — engagement that ultimately culminated with the establishment of the East Asian Summit (EAS) in 2005.<30> Today the EAS, recognised as “the region’s premier forum for strategic dialogue,”<31> draws together member nations of ASEAN, plus China, Japan, Republic of Korea, India, Russia, US, Australia, and New Zealand. Although East Asian in name, it is strikingly Indo-Pacific in its geographic reach and representation. Many commentators, including Natalegawa, argue that the EAS offers the necessary and established architecture to anchor Indo-Pacific strategic dialogue and cooperation. Bringing focus to the EAS as a primary mechanism for Indo-Pacific dialogue would also address ASEAN concerns about sustained “centrality.” A more robust and effective EAS could mitigate ASEAN tensions surrounding the Quad.

Importantly, at its 2018 summit, the EAS acknowledged the Indo-Pacific, noting “the broad discussions on the various Indo-Pacific concepts” from the Belt and Road Initiative to the free and open Indo-Pacific. It went further to affirm the “ongoing discussions within ASEAN to develop collective cooperation in the Indo-Pacific” on the basis of the “principles of ASEAN Centrality, openness, transparency, inclusivity, and a rules based approach.”<32> While the statement offers welcome consideration of the Indo-Pacific, it is lacking in clarity and substance. Indeed, it appears that the EAS missed a key opportunity to offer ASEAN strategic or tactical leadership on the Indo-Pacific.

This kind of strategic drift threatens to undermine the Indo-Pacific concept, or at least open the way for alternative frameworks, that may be less suited to the interests of those advocating for a free and open Indo-Pacific — including Quad nations. For example, Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir’s revived proposal for an East Asian Economic Caucus (EAEC), a grouping based on ASEAN plus China, Korea, and Japan — but excluding India, the US, and Australia — could see ASEAN shrink away from the Indo-Pacific.<33> The proposal, which harks back to Mahathir’s earlier arguments about Asian values and identity, reflects deeper insecurities within the region about managing the China relationship while avoiding any entanglement in great power strategic rivalry. In reality, the EAEC will be unlikely to mitigate against either. From a diplomatic perspective, the four members of the Quad could play a critical role in providing the necessary reassurance to ASEAN, through the EAS, to ensure that it plays a central role in the Indo-Pacific, rather than drift away from it.

Spheres of influence

The broad scope of the Indo-Pacific geopolitical construct brings further operational challenges for Quad partners, this time in terms of how each might engage in and respond to issues within their various spheres of influence across the region. The South Pacific, where strategic Indo-Pacific interests and rivalries are now playing out, provides a useful example.<34> China’s heightened engagement, fostered mainly through infrastructure projects and loans across the region, and accompanied by rumours of more strategic military interests, has created significant unease for Australia, and other members of the Quad, notably Japan and the US.<35>

On this issue, the response has fallen squarely to Australia, with recently appointed Prime Minister Scott Morrison making the point: “This is our patch. This is our part of the world. This is where we have special responsibilities. We always have, we always will. We have their back, and they have ours. We are more than partners by choice. We are connected as members of a Pacific family.”<36> Australia’s subsequent stepped up Pacific Strategy provides for the establishment of five new diplomatic missions; A$2 (US$1.4) billion in support of a concessional finance facility to support communications, energy, transport, and water projects; increased military and policy cooperation, annual defence, police, and border security meetings, sporting and cultural links, and the re-establishment of a joint US-Australia military base at Manus Island.<37> These initiatives add to earlier announcements by former Foreign Minister Julie Bishop of an A$18 (US$12.6) million Australia Pacific Security College, and significant extensions to the Pacific labour mobility scheme.<38> The intent is clear: to send a message, particularly to China but also to the US, that when it comes to the vast Indo-Pacific region, the South Pacific sits squarely in Australia’s immediate sphere of influence. It is a message that has the backing and enables, particularly, the involvement of the US and Japan.

The challenge rests in the alignment of interests alongside allocation of responsibility. Although nothing new for Australia’s Pacific relationships, the suggestion of disconnect emerged through Australia’s recent attendance at the September Pacific Islands Forum in Nauru. While Australia’s focus was on the signing of a comprehensive regional security agreement (Biketawa Plus), incorporating contemporary focus on emerging threats including cybersecurity and transnational crime, Pacific Island leaders were keen to address issues of climate change.<39> Australia’s own poor track record on climate change action has been an ongoing cause for concern amongst Pacific neighbours, with Fiji’s Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama previously suggesting that Australia’s “selfish” stance on climate change undermined its credibility in the region.<40> The very nature of the Indo-Pacific outlook, centred on maritime issues and interests, offers a useful framework through which Australia might respond to non-traditional threat issues, most especially climate change. It may even provide the necessary lift to Australia’s lagging policy on the issue, not just in the region but also at home.

In a contested Indo-Pacific, the micro-states of the South Pacific have come to wield significant influence, which could prove useful to them in shaping a regional agenda that better addresses their own needs. Australia’s existing dialogue with South Pacific partners suggests that each of the Quad members must consult carefully to align Indo-Pacific interests with the needs and expectation of the nations that fall within its scope. It is a significant challenge, but one that must be addressed through carefully calibrated diplomacy if the shared ambition of a free and open Indo-Pacific is to be realised.

Focusing on cooperation in the face of challenge

The future of the Quad beyond its current consultative format is not certain. Any ambition to formalise the Quad as a substantive manifestation of a free and open Indo-Pacific is likely to encounter difficulties. Given the complex array of interests at play across the dynamic region, key partners are more likely to preference loose coalitions based on dialogue and cooperation over more fixed, institutionalised formats. The opportunity to discuss emerging regional issues, from piracy to maritime pollution and disaster management, through such a platform should be seen as a positive. At the same time, assuring ASEAN of its role and relevance to Indo-Pacific, including through established dialogue mechanisms like the EAS, could reinforce notions of inclusivity, build support for the key rules shaping behaviour, and mitigate against the threat of strategic drift within the region. Engaging others, including China, in dialogue about the Indo-Pacific project through such mechanisms will be integral to realising the long-term vision for a stable and inclusive region. However, there is no reason that the Quad might not continue to meet informally on the sidelines of the EAS. Each of the Quad partners has much to learn from the others, and drawing other regional democracies, like Indonesia, into the dialogue might also prove useful. Finally, learning from the recent developments in the Pacific, refocusing the diplomatic efforts of the Quad towards other smaller partners across the region, including the island nations of the South Pacific, is critical. Not only does it reinforce a sense of strategic clarity for members of the Quad outlook, it also offers an important opportunity to bring the concerns of small and micro maritime states to the fore of the Indo-Pacific diplomatic agenda.

This essay originally appeared in The Raisina Files


<1> Despite repeated requests, India continues to resist Australia’s bid to join the trilateral Malabar naval exercises conducted with Japan and the US. It is not clear whether such resistance stems from India’s suspicions of Australia’s relationship with China, or as a result of India’s own deference towards China. See: Primrose Riordan, “Australia snubbed by India over naval exercises,” The Australian, April 30, 2018. <2> Dhruva Jaishankar, “Strategic dilemma: to Quad or not to Quad?,” Deccan Herald, February 5, 2018. <3> Marty Natalegawa, “Leadership and regionalism in Southeast Asia,” Griffith Asia Lecture, Brisbane, November 28, 2018. <4> Jeff Smith, “Return of the Quad: A US Perspective,” The Diplomat, May 2018. <5> David Brewster, “Talk is not an outcome for the ‘Quad,’” Policy Forum, January 31, 2018. <6> Demetri Sevastopulo, “Trump gives glimpse of Indo-Pacific strategy to counter China,” Financial Times, November 11, 2017. <7> The US National Security Strategy delivered by Trump in late 2017 highlighted China as one of two revisionist powers, noting that it is a strategic competitor to the US. <8> Anthony Milner and Astanah Abdul Aziz, “Indo-Pacific: a challenge for ASEAN’s ‘mousedeer’ diplomacy,” Pacific Forum, October 30, 2018. <9> Tara Copp, “INDOPACOM, it is: US Pacific Command gets renamed,” Military Times, May 30, 2018. <10> Joshua Kurlantzick, “Trump’s Indo-Pacific vision: a solid idea, hard to pull off,” Aspenia Online, February 19, 2018. <11> Ibid. <12> See note 8. <13> Shinzo Abe, “Asia’s Democratic Security Diamond,” Project Syndicate, December 27, 2012. <14> Yuki Tatsumi, “Is Japan ready for the Quad? Opportunities and Challenges for Japan in a changing Indo-Pacific,” War on the Rocks, January 9, 2018. <15> John Wright, “Constitutional revision: a (tiny) step forward for Japan’s Self Defence Forces,” The Diplomat, August 16, 2018. <16> Australia’s 2016 Defence White Paper and 2017 Foreign Policy White Paper define Australia’s strategic outlook in terms of the Indo-Pacific. <17> Australian Government, 2017 Foreign Policy White Paper: Opportunity, Strength, Security (Canberra: Commonwealth of Australia, 2017), 4. <18> AAP, “Bishop non-committal on Quad forum,” Central News, October 31, 2017. <19> Ian Hall, “Modi plays by the ‘rules’ at Shangri La,” The Interpreter, 4 June 4, 2018. <20> Ibid. <21> Harsh V. Pant and Paras Ratna, “India and the Quad: Forging an innovative approach,” The Diplomat, November 21, 2018. <22> Michael Wesley, “Dangerous Proximity,” Australian Foreign Affairs (October 2018), 23. <23> Rory Medcalf, “A term whose time has come: the Indo-Pacific,” The Diplomat, December 4, 2012. <24> See Jusuf Wanandi, “Insight: ASEAN deserves central role in Indo-Pacific cooperation,” Jakarta Post, May 24, 2018. <25> Graeme Dobell, “The Indo-Pacific? The Quad? Please explain…,” The Strategist, April 9, 2018. <26> Huong Le Thu, “Support for the Quad outweighs scepticism in Southeast Asia,” The Strategist, October 23, 2018. <27> Seow Bei Yi, “Principles of Japan’s Indo-Pacific strategy align with Singapore, ASEAN priorities,” The Straits Times, November 14, 2018. <28> John McCarthy, “Correspondence,” Australian Foreign Affairs, No. 4 (October 2018), 121. <29> Julie Bishop, Address to the Asia Society, New York, March 8, 2018. <30> Marty Natalegawa, “Leadership and regionalism in Southeast Asia,” Griffith Asia Lecture, Brisbane, November 28, 2018. <31>East Asia Summit”, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Australian Government. <32> ASEAN Secretariat, Chairman’s Statement of the 13th East Asia Summit, Singapore, November 15, 2018. <33> Lockman Mansour, “Revive EAEC to deal with trade protection,” The Straits Times, 11 June 2018. <34> In another example, Jaishankar observes that India would consider dialogue on developments in Pakistan and Afghanistan as necessary for a holistic dialogue on the Indo-Pacific. See 34 3 Dhruva Jaishankar, “Strategic dilemma: to Quad or not to Quad?,” Deccan Herald, 5 February 2018. <35> Nick Bisley, “After APEC, US-China tensions leave cooperation in the cold,” The Conversation, November 19, 2018. See also: David Wroe, “China eyes Vanuatu military base in plan with global ramifications,” Sydney Morning Herald, April 9, 2018; and Fumi Matsumoto, “Australia and New Zealand chip away at China’s Pacific influence,” Nikkei Asian Review, September 3, 2018. <36> Scott Morrison, “Australia and the Pacific: A New Chapter,” Address delivered to the Lavarack Barracks, Townsville, November 8, 2018. <37> Natalie Whiting, “Joint US-Australia naval base on Manus Island a significant pushback to Chinese ambitions,” ABC News, November 18, 2018. <38> Julie Bishop, “Australia’s Pacific Partnerships,” Address delivered to Canturbury College, Logan, July 9, 2018. <39> David Wroe, “Payne heads to Pacific meeting with a nod to neighbours climate fears,” Sydney Morning Herald, September 2, 2018. <40> Michael O’Keefe, “For Pacific Island nations rising sea levels are a bigger security concern than rising Chinese influence,” The Conversation, August 31, 2018.
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