Examining the Minilateral Security Arrangements: An Analysis of Minilateral Responses to China’s Expansionism in the Indo-Pacific

Author: Melani Upeshika Sembukutti Arachchilage

Sembukutti Arachchilage, Melani Upeshika, 2022 Examining the Minilateral Security Arrangements: An Analysis of Minilateral Responses to China’s Expansionism in the Indo-Pacific, Flinders University, College of Business, Government and Law

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As U.S.-China great power rivalry progresses, it challenges the stability of the Indo-Pacific region and the rules-based world order. In response, the U.S. not only aims to reconnect with its allies bilaterally but also to cross-brace its Pacific alliance relationships in order to sustain its regional dominance and share the security burden. With the onset of escalating power shifts in regional strategic environment from the early 2000s, minilateral initiatives have gradually populated Indo-Pacific geopolitics. This thesis utilises Miller’s (1968) analytical framework of conditions for cooperation to analyse the incentives that enhance collaboration and increase the prospects for cooperation between states in a minilateral security arrangement. Employing the case studies of the Quad, the Australia-Japan-U.S. Trilateral Cooperation, and the AUKUS trilateral defence partnership, this thesis examines the emerging minilateral responses to: China’s aggressive and coercive behaviour; to counter the China threat; and the efforts to deter China’s pursuit of regional dominance. This detailed application of the framework and the analysis of the three case studies conclude that minilateral initiatives in the Indo-Pacific are effective security arrangements to deter the China threat.

Keywords: minilateralism, minilateral diplomacy, minilateral security arrangements, minilateral initiatives, cooperation, conditions for cooperation, security cooperation, Indo-Pacific, Indo-Pacific geopolitics, China threat, Chinese expansionism, China's coercive behaviour, the Quad, Australia-Japan-U.S. Trilateral Cooperation, AUKUS, AUKUS trilateral defence pact, cultural similarity, sense of common danger, threat perception, great power pressure, economic equality, past associations, Miller framework.

Subject: International Relations thesis

Thesis type: Masters
Completed: 2022
School: College of Business, Government and Law
Supervisor: Dr Maryanne Kelton