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China's rising power has complicated the strategic relationship between Australia and the US and has prompted difficult questions about the future of the alliance. It is in the interests of both Australia and the US to have a clear and open dialogue on this critical challenge so that each can understand the other's motivations and reasoning. At the same time, it is also necessary to understand Chinese views in order to accurately assess the implications of China's rise for the Australia-US relationship.
Sponsored by the Australian-American Fulbright Commission and organised by Deakin University, this high-profile event will be the first time that leading scholars and policymakers from Australia, the United States, and China have come together to discuss their views of the Australia-US alliance in the context of China's rise.
The Symposium addresses a topic that is of great significance to Australia's foreign relations. The former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's speech to the Brookings Institution in 2007 highlighted the importance of the rise of China as a strategic challenge to both Australia and the United States. This is an issue that is still highly relevant to Australia and USA, and the Symposium will be a vital contribution to the continuation of this important discussion.
The Australian-American Fulbright Commission's mission is "promoting mutual understanding between the peoples of the United States and Australia through educational and cultural exchange". It is hoped that the Symposium will improve the knowledge of policymakers, scholars, and the public about key issues for Australia-US relations in the context of China's rise. By bringing together scholars and policymakers from the three countries the Symposium aims to provoke an open and vigorous debate and focus attention on these issues. At the same time, the discussion will enable scholars to develop a more sophisticated understanding of power transition theories and their implications for the future of the region. Improving the knowledge of policymakers, scholars, and the public about how their country's alliance partner is likely to respond to changing circumstances and the reasons behind those responses will deepen mutual understanding between Australia and the US, facilitate better management of the bilateral relationship, and help to avoid potentially dangerous misunderstandings in the future.