Strategic contest in the Indo-Pacific and what it means for Europe

Webinar · 30.11.2021 09:00 - 10:00

The Indo-Pacific is a two-ocean region of connectivity and strategic contest, the global centre of gravity in wealth, population and military power. China’s ambitions are driving rivalry, with resistance from the United States and other powers including Japan, India and Australia. Europe has declared its own stakes in the Indo-Pacific, but recent tensions over the new AUKUS submarine technology partnership raise questions about whether democracies will sustain convergent visions for the security of this vital region.

In this presentation, Rory Medcalf will address those questions with the conclusions of the new edition of his book, Indo-Pacific Empire: China, America and the Contest for the World’s Pivotal Region.


Opening words

Katja Creutz

Programme Director, FIIA

Katja Creutz is the Programme Director of FIIA’s Global Security programme. Her main field of expertise is international law and especially issues of responsibility, human rights and global governance. Dr Creutz holds a Doctor of Laws degree and a Master of Laws programme degree from the University of Helsinki and a Master of Political Science from Åbo Akademi University. She has previously worked as Research Fellow at the Erik Castrén Institute of International Law and Human Rights of the University of Helsinki. Her recent publications include ‘Nordic Experiences in the UN Human Rights Council: A Tour d’Horizon of 2019 with Iceland and Denmark’ and ‘State Responsibility in the International Legal Order: A Critical Appraisal’ published by Cambridge University Press.


Rory Medcalf

Head of the National Security College, Australian National University

Rory Medcalf is the Head of the National Security College at the Australian National University, and a prominent advocate of the Indo-Pacific strategic concept. His career spans diplomacy, intelligence analysis, think tanks, academia and journalism, including as Founding Director of the Security Program at the Lowy Institute. In government, Professor Medcalf was a senior strategic analyst with the Office of National Assessments, Australia’s peak intelligence agency, and a diplomat with service in India, Japan and Papua New Guinea. He now plays a lead role in informal diplomacy among a range of Indo-Pacific powers. He has contributed to three landmark international reports on nuclear arms control and was an adviser for Australia’s 2016 Defence White Paper. Professor Medcalf is recognised globally as a thought leader on the Indo-Pacific strategic concept, as articulated in his acclaimed 2020 book ‘Contest for the Indo-Pacific’ (published internationally as Indo-Pacific Empire). He is a member of the ASEAN Regional Forum Register of Experts and Eminent Persons, the board of the National Foundation for Australia-China Relations, and the Scientific Advisory Council of FIIA.


Arto Haapea

Director, Unit for Eastern Asia and Oceania, Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland

Arto Haapea is Director of the Unit for Eastern Asia and Oceania at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland since August 2020. He was previously Deputy Director of the same Unit (2017-2019), followed by a brief posting as Deputy Head of Mission at the Finnish Embassy in New Delhi. Prior to this, he worked as Political Counsellor at the EU Delegation to China and Mongolia in Beijing, and as Deputy Consul General in Shanghai. Since joining the Foreign Ministry in 2006, he has also served as adviser to the Minister for Foreign Trade and Development, at the Finnish Embassy in The Hague, and as Legal Adviser at the Finnish Permanent Mission to the United Nations in New York. He holds a Masters degree in Law from the University in Helsinki (2004).


Bart Gaens

Leading Researcher, FIIA

Bart Gaens is Leading Researcher at the Global Security Research Programme at FIIA. He is also Adjunct Professor at the University of Helsinki. Previously he has worked as Specially-Appointed Associate Professor at the University of Osaka, Japan, and as Professor of Japanese Studies at the University of Helsinki. Dr Gaens has published widely on Europe-Asia relations; on Japan’s foreign policy; and on security-related issues and international relations in the Indo-Pacific region.