Advertisement

An Appeased Neighbourhood: French–Australian Cooperation in the South Pacific Region

  • Paul Soyez
Chapter
Part of the Studies in Diplomacy and International Relations book series (SID)

Abstract

The South Pacific region, where both Australia and France are sovereign powers, has played a crucial role in the strategic renewal and mutual empowerment carried out by Canberra and Paris, transforming a suspicious competition into a strong cooperation. Based on important scientific collaboration, used as a continuous link despite political turmoils, French and Australian policy-makers have progressively reassessed their shared interests in the South Pacific in order to merge them and to implement a tangible military partnership for the region’s security. This strategic process has enabled the two Western powers to align their leadership in the face of new regional actors, especially China, whose increasing presence in Oceania is perceived in Canberra and Paris as natural but also threatening. However, in a context of significant aid cuts from Australia, this bilateral partnership has been ambiguously received by the PICs, as Pacific Island nations remain cautious about what they consider as a potential neo-colonialist rapprochement. The concrete collaboration of France and Australia in the South Pacific has generated positive outcomes for both countries’ global ambitions. Australia’s relatively recent support for France’s presence in the South Pacific and for the regional integration of its territories has strengthened France’s power by legitimising its influence in this part of the world, while Paris is currently engaged in the redefinition of its diplomatic narrative in Oceania. French–Australian military cooperation in the South Pacific has inspired the two countries to also collaborate in the Indian Ocean, where France and Australia are keen to defend their shared interests against the rise of new disruptive actors.

References

  1. Archives Nationales, Pierrefitte, France.Google Scholar
  2. National Archives of Australia, Canberra, Australia.Google Scholar
  3. Anderson, B 1983, Imagined Communities, Verso, London.Google Scholar
  4. Australian Department of Defence 2016, Defence White Paper, Australian Department of Defence, Canberra.Google Scholar
  5. Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade 2016, ‘Wallis and Futuna Country Brief’, viewed 17th July 2017, http://dfat.gov.au/geo/wallis-futuna/Pages/wallis-and-futuna-country-brief.aspx.
  6. Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade 2017, Foreign Policy White Paper, Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Canberra.Google Scholar
  7. Bandel, N, Blanchard, P & Lemaire, S 2005, La Fracture coloniale: la société française au prisme de l’héritage colonial, La Découverte, Paris.Google Scholar
  8. Beasley, C 2014, ‘The Breaking of the “Great Australian Silence”: How and Why the Writing of Indigenous Australian History Has Changed Over the Last 40 Years’, The ANU Undergraduate Research Journal, vol. 5, Australian National University Press, Canberra.Google Scholar
  9. Blainey, G 1983, The Tyranny of Distance, Sun Books, Sydney. Google Scholar
  10. Boyce, J 2011, 1835 the Founding of Melbourne and the Conquest of Australia, Black Inc., Carlton.Google Scholar
  11. Brown, P 2013, ‘Negotiating Postcolonial Identities in the Shadow of the EU: New Caledonia’, in R Adler-Nissen & UP Gad (eds), European Integration and Postcolonial Sovereignty Games: The EU Overseas Countries and Territories, Routledge, London, pp. 169–186.Google Scholar
  12. Coquery-Vidrovitch, C 2011, ‘Colonisation, racisme et roman national en France’, Canadian Journal of African Studies, vol. 45, no. 1, pp. 17–44.Google Scholar
  13. Crouzet, C 2009, ‘L’outre-mer coûte près de sept milliards à l’État’, Le Figaro, 11 February, viewed 17 July 2017, http://www.lefigaro.fr/economie/2009/02/11/04001-20090211ARTFIG00602-l-outre-mer-coute-pres-de-sept-milliards-a-l-etat-.php.
  14. De Montbrial, T & Gomart, T 2017, Notre intérêt national, quelle politique étrangère pour la France? Odile Jacob, Paris.Google Scholar
  15. Deutsch, K 1968, The Analysis of International Relations, Prentice Hall International, Englewood Cliffs. Google Scholar
  16. Dinnie, K 2016, Nation Branding, Concepts, Issues, Practice, Routledge, London.Google Scholar
  17. Evans, G & Grant, B 1995, Australia’s Foreign Relations, The University of Melbourne Press, Melbourne.Google Scholar
  18. Firth, S 2011, Australia in International Politics, Allen & Unwin, Sydney.Google Scholar
  19. Gyngell, A & Wesley, M 2007, Making Australian Foreign Policy, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Holm, U 2013, ‘French Concepts of State: Nation, patrie, and the Overseas’, in R Adler-Nissen & UP Gad (eds), European Integration and Postcolonial Sovereignty Games: The EU Overseas Countries and Territories, Routledge, London, pp. 145–151.Google Scholar
  21. Institut d’Emission d’Outre-Mer 2008, Wallis et Futuna en 2007, Institut d’Emission d’Outre-Mer, Paris.Google Scholar
  22. Maclellan, N 2015, ‘Transforming the Regional Architecture: New Players and Challenges for the Pacific Islands’, Asia Pacific Issues, no. 118, pp. 1–8.Google Scholar
  23. Maclellan, N 2016, ‘France and the Forum’, Inside Story, 13 October, viewed 17 July 2017, http://insidestory.org.au/france-and-the-forum.
  24. Mathew, P & Harley, T 2016, Refugees, Regionalism and Responsibility, Edward Elgar, Cheltenham.Google Scholar
  25. McDougall, D 2009, Australian Foreign Relations, Entering the 21st Century, Pearson, Sydney.Google Scholar
  26. Medcalf, R & Townshend, A 2016, ‘Shifting Water: China’s New Passive Assertiveness in Asian Maritime Security’, Lowy Institute Reports, 29 April, viewed 17 July 2017, https://www.lowyinstitute.org/publications/shifting-waters-china-s-new-passive-assertiveness-asian-maritime-security.
  27. Morgan, W 2014, ‘Regional Trade Negotiations and the Construction of Policy Choice in the Pacific Islands Forum (1994–2004)’, Thesis (Ph.D.), The University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia.Google Scholar
  28. Morgan, W 2017, ‘Coal Comfort: Pacific Islands on Collision Course with Australia Over Emissions’, The Conversation, 1 March, viewed 17 July 2017, https://theconversation.com/coal-comfort-pacific-islands-on-collision-course-with-australia-over-emissions-73662.
  29. Mrgudovic, N 2008, La France dans le Pacifique sud: les enjeux de la puissance, L’Harmattan, Paris.Google Scholar
  30. Murray, P 2016, ‘EU-Australia Relations: A Strategic Partnership in All but Name’, Cambridge Review of International Affairs, vol. 29, no. 1, pp. 171–191.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Nye, JS 2011, The Future of Power, Public Affairs, New York.Google Scholar
  32. O’Keefe, M 2007, ‘Australia and the Fragile States in the Pacific’, in J Ravenhill & J Cotton (eds), Trading on Alliance Security, Australia in World Affairs 2001–2005, Oxford University Press, Melbourne, 2007, pp 131–149.Google Scholar
  33. Pacific Islands Forum 2016, ‘Forum Communiqué’, 10 September, viewed 17 July 2017, http://www.forumsec.org/resources/uploads/embeds/file/2016-communique-working-19-09-2016.pdf.
  34. Regaud, N 2016, France and Security in the Asia-Pacific, from the End of the First Indochina Conflict to Today, ASPI Strategic Insights, Canberra.Google Scholar
  35. Reynolds, H 1999, Why Weren’t We Told? Penguin Books Australia, Ringwood.Google Scholar
  36. Schultz, J & Wallis, J 2014, ‘Australia in the Pacific’, in D Baldino, A Carr, & AJ Langlois (eds), Australian Foreign Policy, Controversies and Debates, Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp. 174–192.Google Scholar
  37. Soyez, P 2016, ‘French–Indian Relations Take Off’, ASPI The Strategist, 28 October, viewed 17 July 2017, https://www.aspistrategist.org.au/french-indian-relations-take-off/.
  38. Stanner, WEH 1968, The Boyer Lectures 1968—After the Dreaming, Australian Broadcasting Commission, Sydney.Google Scholar
  39. Steinmetz, L 2014, ‘L’État, l’Union européenne, la Nouvelle-Calédonie: leur représentation réciproque’, in I Amiot & Y Tommasini (eds), L’éducation civique en Nouvelle-Calédonie, SCÉRÉN—Vice Rectorat de la Nouvelle-Calédonie, Nouméa, pp. 53–66.Google Scholar
  40. Thibault, H & Philip, B 2016, ‘Mer de Chine: les Philippines attendent que la Chine lui rende ses bancs de sable’, Le Monde, 11 July, viewed 17th July 2017, http://www.lemonde.fr/asie-pacifique/article/2016/07/11/mer-de-chine-arbitrage-attendu-sur-le-conflit-entre-pekin-et-manille_4967793_3216.html.
  41. Toa, E 2017, ‘Bilateral Approach for Issues with Maritime Borders’, Vanuatu Independent, 17 September, viewed 17 July, https://vanuatuindependent.com/2016/09/17/bilateral-approach-for-issues-with-maritime-borders/.
  42. United Nations Development Program 2018, Human Development Report, United Nations, New York.Google Scholar
  43. Védrine, H 2001, France in an Age of Globalisation, Brookings Institution Press, Washington.Google Scholar
  44. Wolfers, A 1962, Discord and Collaboration, Essays on International Politics, The John Hopkins University Press, Baltimore.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Paul Soyez
    • 1
  1. 1.University of MelbourneParkvilleAustralia

Personalised recommendations