War in Ukraine: What does it mean for the Indo-Pacific?

By Asialink, The University of Melbourne

Join Asialink Senior Adviser John McCarthy AO and Dr Bobo Lo as they explore the impact of the war in Ukraine on the Indo-Pacific.

McCarthy, one of Australia's most experienced diplomats, and Lo, a global authority on the Russia-China relationship, answer questions such as, how the conflict will reverberate across our region, the Indo-Pacific, and what impact it will have on the big strategic trends that affect Australia’s security – especially the rise of China and China-US competition.

In their online discussion from Britain, John and Bobo cover the current state of play in the conflict; the triggers for the Russian invasion; its implications for NATO, the US and the West; and China’s role in the world as well as its recently concluded “no-limits” partnership with Russia. They also cover the broader effects on other Asian powers and institutions (India, Indonesia and ASEAN) and what to make of Putin’s threats to resort to nuclear weapons.

Dr Bobo Lo on the implications of the war on Taiwan: “it has shown the limitations of using military power to achieve strategic goals” and “any attempt to forcibly unite Taiwan with the mainland will make [the war in Ukraine] look like a small thing”.

John McCarthy AO on Australia's important strategic partners such as Vietnam, India, and Indonesia: "It’s all too easy for the Australian political class, particularly with an election coming up, to stand on up the soap box, talk about freedoms and the alliance, when these issues [around Ukraine and China] are just a lot more complicated for the countries we're seeking to influence on China questions."

Dr Bobo Lo is an independent analyst a Nonresident Fellow at the Lowy Institute. Bobo is also an Associate Research Fellow with the Russia/NIS Center at the French Institute of International Relations (IFRI). He was previously Head of the Russia and Eurasia Programme at Chatham House and Deputy Head of Mission at the Australian Embassy in Moscow. He has written extensively on Russian foreign and security policy, with a particular focus on Sino-Russian relations. His book 'Russia and the New World Disorder' was short-listed for the 2016 Pushkin House Prize and described by The Economist as the "best attempt yet to explain Russia’s unhappy relationship with the rest of the world". His latest book, 'A Wary Embrace: What the China-Russia Relationship Means for the World', was published in 2017. He has a MA from Oxford and a PhD from the University of Melbourne.

John McCarthy AO is a Senior Adviser at Asialink, and served as Ambassador to Vietnam, Mexico, Thailand, the United States, Indonesia and Japan and High Commissioner to India. His assignments in the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) in Australia included Chief of Staff to the then-Foreign Minister Andrew Peacock, Chief Legal Officer and Deputy Secretary. He is former National President of the Australian Institute of International Affairs, Chair of the Australian Australia-India Council, Co-Convenor of the Australian-Indonesia Dialogue, and Chair of the Advisory Board of the Griffith Asia Institute.

Banner image: Russian President Vladimir Putin talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping via videolink, Moscow, Russia - December 15, 2021. Credit: Kremlin.