School of History, Philosophy, Political Science and International Relations

Centre for Strategic Studies: New Zealand
Te Pokapū Take Rautaki Aotearoa

Welcome to the Centre for Strategic Studies

The Centre for Strategic Studies is the New Zealand anchor for research and public dialogue on strategic and security issues. We are proud to announce that the 2014 Global Go To Think Tank Index Report, produced by the University of Pennsylvania 'Think Tanks and Civil Society Programme', ranks CSS third most effective think tank in the Southeast Asia and Pacific region. CSS has also been designated as the 35th best university-affiliated think tank worldwide and 59th in the world for foreign policy and international affairs focused think tanks.  More than 6,600 think tanks are listed in the index and thousands of international scholars, policymakers, journalists, government officials, donors and think tank executives provide peer and expert review to the rankings.

The Centre has three main streams of activity:

Recent Events:

24 March 2015

Recent paper by Roderic Alley published

CSS Senior Fellow, Rod Alley, has recently had his paper ‘Regimes that Obstruct: A Problem of Institutional Refurbishment Following Internal Conflict’ published in the Journal of Intervention and Statebuilding, 2015. The abstract can be found at: 

19 March 2015

Standing Up for Values? Why does NZ Commit to Conflict?

On 19 March 2015, Professor Robert Ayson gave an address at the National Library in Wellington, to discuss why New Zealand commits to conflict . The presentation: Standing Up for Values? Why does NZ Commit to Conflict? was the first in a series  entitled ‘Conflict: A Contemporary Conversation’ that examines issues related to conflict.  Robert Ayson is Professor of Strategic Studies at Victoria University where he works in association with the Centre for Strategic Studies.

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12 March 2015

Dr Alexander Bukh leads discussion on Dokdo/Takeshima dispute 

The Centre for Strategic Studies hosted a roundtable on 12 March with Dr Alexander Bukh, Senior Lecturer in International Relations at Victoria University. Dr Bukh discussed the territorial dispute between the Republic of Korea and Japan over rocks in the East Sea (Sea of Japan) known in the ROK as Dokdo and in Japan as Takeshima. He set out the history of the dispute and the subsequent discussion covered the symbolic and strategic significance of the rocks, the impact of the dispute on the broarder Japan-ROK relationship, a comparison of this dispute with that between China and Japan over Diaoyu/Senkaku, and the likelihhood that it will remain an issue between the two countries.

10 March 2015

CSS hosts discussion with Afghanistan Ambassador

On 10 March, the Centre for Strategic Studies hosted a roundtable for H.E. Nasir Andisha, Afghanistan’s Ambassador to New Zealand, resident in Australia. In a wide-ranging address and subsequent discussion, Ambassador Andisha covered a number of issues including the security transition in Afghanistan from ISAF to a much smaller coalition force with a focus on training; economic issues including the impact on Afghanistan’s economy of the departure of ISAF; the 2014 Presidential election; Afghanistan’s relations with India, Pakistan, China, and the United States; participation in regional organisations; the importance of an increase in development aid; the advances made in access to education for female students; the problem of narcotics; and the logistic difficulties of getting Afghanistan’s exports to overseas markets. Ambassador Andisha also expressed appreciation for New Zealand’s continued assistance in the training of the Afghan military.

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 9 March 2015

Meeting with JP Morgan

On 9 March, Centre staff met a group from JP Morgan Chase Bank to discuss New Zealand and the region’s security and risk issues. The meeting has become an annual event, providing an opportunity to share views regarding New Zealand and the region and to discuss the ways in which both the country and the region are developing.

25-27 February 2015

China and the South Pacific

Centre Director Jim Rolfe attended a conference ‘China and the Pacific: The View from Oceania’ in Samoa 25-27 February. The conference, jointly organised by the National University of Samoa, the Sun Yat-Sen University of China and Victoria University of Wellington’s New Zealand Contemporary China Research Centre focused on security, economic and social aspects of China’s relationship with the South Pacific with special emphasis on the perceptions held by actors from within the region itself. In contrast to much western and East Asian commentary about its regional role, China was seen by most conference participants as part of the solution to many regional problems rather than a part of the problem. The conference was attended by scholars, officials and analysts from across the region as well as from China, Australia and New Zealand. Dr Rolfe presented a paper ‘Regional Security and the Role of External Actors’.

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24 February 2015

EU and China as Strategic Partners

On 24 February, the Centre for Strategic Studies hosted a roundtable with four visiting Chinese scholars on the subject of the 'EU and China as strategic partners'.  The Chinese panel featured Professor Shi Zhiquin, Dean and Professor of the Department of International Relations at Tsinghua University; Professor Shi Jian, Jean Monnet Chair and Director of the European Studies Centre at Sichuan University; Professor Ding Chun, Jean Monnet Chair and the Director of European Studies at Fudan University; and Professor Song Xinning, Professor of International Relations and Director of the Centre for European Studies at Renmin University. Their presentations and subsequent discussions covered various aspects of EU-China relations, relations with NATO, China’s relations with the United States, Russia and Japan, and cyber-security.

CSS hosts the ASEAN Secretary-General

On 24 February, the Centre for Strategic Studies hosted a roundtable discussion with His Excellency Le Luong Minh, Secretary-General of ASEAN. Topics discussed included progress towards finalising the ASEAN community; ASEAN’s centrality in the regional security architecture; the South China Sea and efforts to establish a binding code of conduct; ASEAN’s relations with New Zealand, with China and with the United States; regional trade initiatives; the East Asia Summit; prospects for Timor Leste’s admission to ASEAN; and regional economic growth. The roundtable was attended by Wellington-based scholars and officials from a range of Government agencies.

ASEAN SG Roundtable at VUW

Secretary-General meets with ASEAN Award students

Following on from the roundtable, the ASEAN Secretary-General informally met with VUW ASEAN Award students at a morning tea event, hosted by Vice-Provost, Professor Roberto Rabel. Amongst the international students attending the event, were groups from Cambodia, Laos, Indonesia, Myanmar and Vietnam.

ASEAN Awars students with ASEAN Secretary-General at VUW 


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 19 February 2015

CSS hosts Roundtable with Chairman of NATO's Military Committee

On 19 February the Centre for Strategic Studies hosted a roundtable with General Knud Bartels, Chairman of NATO's Military Committee. Topics discussed included the situation in Ukraine and NATO's response in the form of increased exercises and naval and air patrols, the challenge presented by ISIL in Iraq and Syria, the deteriorating situation in parts of northern Africa, progress in Afghanistan and cyber defence. The roundtable was attended by Wellington-based scholars and officials from a range of government agencies.

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17 February 2015

Major Power Relations in the Asia-Pacific

On 17 February the Centre held a roundtable led by Senior Fellow, Stuart McMillan, on the relationships between China, Japan and Russia and what these could mean for the China-US relationship. Stuart traversed both the positive and negative factors in the various sets of relationships and concluded that while there is always the possibility that specific situations could lead to problems with the US-China relationship in the worst case leading to conflict, it is more likely that events will be managed so they don’t spiral out of control. Overall however, he argues that there is no overarching vision, strategy or mechanism to ensure regional peace and stability. The subsequent discussion canvassed the full range of the sets of relationships and looked more widely at regional security and the issues that affect it.

11 February 2015

European defence modernisation and its implications for Asia

The Centre for Strategic Studies hosted a roundtable on 11 February 2015 with Dr Simona Soare, a scientific researcher in Romania’s Institute for Political Studies of Defence and Military History. Dr Soare spoke to the topic ‘European defence modernisation and its implications for Asia’. Her address covered the challenges facing the modernisation programme including reductions in defence spending by many European countries, substantial reductions in key military platforms, the absence of power projection capabilities, and a lack of agreement about the nature of the security challenges facing Europe. She discussed the relationship between NATO and the EU’s military structure.  Dr Soare outlined the EU’s ambitions for developing a market in Asia for defence equipment manufactured in Europe, while highlighting the challenges that would have to be overcome to for these ambitions to be realised.

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Events 2014:

15 December 2014

CSCAP Study Group on Energy Security in Singapore

Centre Director Jim Rolfe represented New Zealand CSCAP at the first meeting of the new study group dealing with issues of energy security. The study group examined questions relating to the trade-offs between energy supply, economic cost and environmental protection as well as issues surrounding the safety, security and institutional safeguards within energy production chains. Ultimately the study group will make recommendations in the form of a CSCAP Policy memorandum to the ASEAN Regional Forum, for which this issue is a significant agenda item.

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9 December 2014

‘Strategies for Countering ISIS’ - Roundtable Discussion 

On 9 December the Centre for Strategic Studies held a roundtable discussion with Dr Jonathan Spyer, Senior Research Fellow at the Center for Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) at Herzliya, Israel, on strategies for countering ISIS.  The background factors discussed included the evolution of ISIS in the context of recent developments in Syria and Iraq, the competition between ISIS and other groups opposing the Assad regime, and the interactions between the situations in Syria and Lebanon. The roundtable discussion also featured a range of views on the scope and  prospects of the US-led strategy against ISIS, the relationship between the use of air power and developments on the ground in both Iraq and Syria, and the likely perspectives of neighbouring states including Iran, Turkey and Israel.

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18-24 November 2014

CSS representatives at dialogues in Kuala Lumpur & New Delhi 

Paul Sinclair, Regional Security Fellow at the Centre for Strategic Studies, and Brian Lynch, Senior Fellow at the Centre, participated in the annual Australia/New Zealand/ASEAN trilateral dialogue in Kuala Lumpur 18-20 November. The New Zealand delegation was led by the Asia New Zealand Foundation. Paul moderated the first session which discussed managing strategic dynamics in the Asia Pacific and examined such issues as the challenges ASEAN faces in maintaining its centrality, and the roles Australia and New Zealand might play as the new dynamics unfold. Brian was a lead discussant for the session that asked whether Asia-Pacific economic integration is at a crossroads and which examined progress with TPP, RCEP and the FTAAP. Other sessions discussed lessons learned from the disappearance of MH370, national security and international law in cyber space, irregular migration in a people-centred ASEAN, and lessons learned from 40 years of ASEAN-Australian relations.
Following the trilateral dialogue Paul and Brian travelled to New Delhi for two sets of dialogue with the Indian Council for World Affairs on 24 November and the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses on 25 November. The New Zealand delegation was jointly led by the Asia New Zealand Foundation and the New Zealand India Research Institute. Paul presented a paper on geopolitical trends in the Asia-Pacific for both dialogues and Brian discussed policy shifts in India and New Zealand under new governments on both days. Other subjects discussed included multilateralism in the Indo-Pacific and which featured some discussion of the Indo-Pacific concept; possible areas of cooperation between India and New Zealand, a session which generated a number of ideas for strengthening the relationship, and the role of the Indian diaspora.

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3 November 2014 

South Korean delegation visits CSS 

A Delegation from South Korea’s Ministry of Unification led by Chun Hae-Sung, assistant Minister for Inter-Korean dialogue, held discussions with the Centre for Strategic Studies on 3 December. The discussions focused on prospects for a revival of the long-stalled Six Party Talks, North Korea’s relations with China, Russia and Japan, the DPRK’s nuclear capability, and the desirability of establishing a north-east Asian security architecture.

25 November 2014

CSS presentation at Brunei Seminar 

Centre Director Jim Rolfe presented a paper on ‘Defence Diplomacy and Regional Military Cooperation’ at a seminar sponsored by the Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkia Institute of Defence and Strategic Studies in Brunei Darussalam. The seminar was intended as background for Brunei Defence officials involved in the preparation of the nation’s next Defence White Paper. Papers at the seminar were presented by a range of regional scholars. More detail on the seminar is available at the Brunei Ministry of Defence website.

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13 November 2014

CSS hosts Brunei Study Tour Group

A delegation of 22 Senior Officials from Brunei representing a range of government ministries, called on the Centre of Strategic Studies on 13 November. The visit was part of a programme arranged by MFAT for the delegation which is undertaking a professional development study tour. Dr Jim Rolfe, Director of CSS, and Paul Sinclair briefed the group on the role of the Centre; its interaction with the New Zealand Government and track two and track one and a half processes. This was followed by a wide-ranging discussion of regional security issues that included the South China Sea and maritime security, the US pivot, the challenge presented by the Islamic State, non-conventional threats and food security. 

10 November 2014

CSS hosts UN Security Council discussion

The Centre hosted a roundtable to discuss a draft paper by CSS Senior Fellow, Terence O’Brien, on issues surrounding New Zealand’s election to a term on the UN Security Council. The roundtable was attended by analysts, scholars and current practitioners. Discussion, conducted under the Chatham House rule, was both of the substantive issues the Council and New Zealand might have to address and the processes and resources necessary to address the issues. The paper is scheduled to be published in the New Zealand International Review early in 2015.

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22 October 2014

Roundtable on Indian Strategic Perspectives 

The Centre for Strategic Studies hosted a roundtable on ‘India’s Strategic Perspectives’, led by Balaji Chandramohan who directs the Asia Pacific Bureau of World News Forecast, a United States news website. Topics covered included India’s naval links with Japan, Indonesia, and Australia which he described as a strategic partnership; India-China relations; India-US relations; the significantly expanded defence relationship between Australia and India; India’s growing involvement in “out-of-area operations”; India’s objectives in securing membership of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation; and India’s strategic interests in central Asia and in the Indian Ocean. He also flagged a possible shift in Indian defence thinking towards developing an offensive land-based military capability.

15 October 2014

CSS presentation to NZDF Command and Staff College

Centre staff and senior fellows provided a panel presentation on regional security issues to the New Zealand Command and Staff College. Jim Rolfe, Paul Sinclair, Terence O’Brien and Michael Powles raised issues that ranged across regional cooperation, great power relationships, South China Sea and the evolving regional security architecture, the Pacific Islands as a component of New Zealand’s interests and, in recognition of the Staff College’s imminent visit to the country, the relationship between India and the Asia-Pacific region. The discussion following the individual presentations went into these issues in more detail and raised many more.

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9 October 2014

Presentation to Goh Keng Swee Command & Staff College, Singapore

CSS Director of Research, David Capie, gave a presentation on 'Defence diplomacy and peacekeeping' to the Goh Keng Swee Command and Staff College Seminar on 'International Security in the Asia-Pacific: Beyond ASEAN Centred-Security?' at the Singapore Armed Forces Training Institute. Capie discussed the growing interest in peacekeeping in Southeast Asia and its place in the ASEAN Political and Security Community and multilateral arrangements like the ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting (ADMM) and ADMM Plus (ADMM+). He noted that in 2013 Indonesia pledged to significantly increase its contributions to UN peacekeeping missions, with the aim of becoming a top ten troop contributing country. Cambodia and Vietnam have also begun supporting PKOs and ASEAN is taking up the issue through its plans for a Network of Peacekeeping Training Centres. He said there are still material and normative constraints on closer cooperation on peacekeeping, but the issue appears likely to only grow in importance in the region in the future.

6 October 2014

Rountable on Subnational Governance in Myanmar

The Centre for Strategic Studies held a roundtable with Dr Matthew Arnold, Assistant Director, Program Strategy, Innovation and Learning with the Asia Foundation, on sub-national governance in Myanmar. Subjects covered included decentralisation reforms, prospects for the 2015 national elections, the composition of region and state legislatures, the prevailing influence of the military on national and regional politics, the Rohingya refugee problem, and social services provided by non-state armed groups.

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12 September 2014

Rountable with Canadian Deputy Minister of Defence

CSS hosted Mr Richard Fadden, Canadian Deputy Minister (Secretary, in New Zealand terms) of National Defence to a round table discussion. Mr Fadden opened  the discussion by talking about Canada’s interests in the Arctic, in global terrorism and in the Asia-Pacific region. The wider conversation then traversed the roles of China and the United States in the region, events in Ukraine, NATO’s role and tensions in Northeast Asia. Overall, a useful exchange of views which allowed New Zealand participants to get an informal sense of Canada’s thinking on issues that are also of considerable interest to New Zealand.

4 September 2014

CSS presentations to NZIIA Napier & Havelock North

CSS Director of Research, David Capie, gave two public talks to the New Zealand Institute of International Affairs branches in Napier and Havelock North. The talks, entitled “Southeast Asia in the Changing Regional Order: Towards Conflict or Community?” discussed ASEAN’s ambitious plans for forging an economic, social-cultural and political-security community in 2015. Capie argued that while Southeast Asia faces a number of challenges, not least divisive territorial disputes in the South China Sea, ASEAN continues to be seen as an important vehicle for cooperation by all regional states. Although some of the goals for the ASEAN Community might not be achieved by next year, he said ASEAN has taken important steps towards creating a more integrated region and remains a key partner for New Zealand.

1-3 September 2014

Regional Security Architecture Workshop - Beijing

CSS Director Jim Rolfe attended a workshop on ‘Regional Security Architecture’ and presented a paper on the changing dynamics of regional security in Beijing 1-3 September. The Workshop, co-hosted by the China Institute of International Studies and CSCAP China, attracted participants from across the region, and from North America and Europe.  Issues discussed ranged across the current regional security situation, the effectiveness of regional security mechanisms, the roles of the major powers and how best to ensure that security mechanisms did, in practice, contribute to regional security. The discussion was extremely open, more so than in many such events held in China, but the conclusions ranged from a desire to make the current system work to the thought that there should be a hierarchical approach to regional security, with the East Asia Summit as the apex of a descending grouping of regional mechanisms, each focusing on a specific area of regional activity or concern. This is an issue that will continue to engage regional attention, but there should be no expectation of an early resolution as to the ‘best’ way ahead.

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28 August 2014

CSS represented at Third Expanded ASEAN Maritime Forum

Paul Sinclair, Regional Security Fellow at the Centre for Strategic Studies, participated in the Third Expanded ASEAN Maritime Forum (EAMF) held in Da Nang, Vietnam under the auspices of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Global Security Fund. The forum is unique in the region in that while there are several regional forums that focus on maritime security issues, the EAMF is the only one that provides an opportunity for think tank representatives to join officials in discussing the key issues. The forum discussed the need for progress in implementing the Declaration of Conduct in the South China Sea, recent developments in maritime cooperation including proposals for maritime environmental awareness seafarers training and fisheries management workshops, strengthening cooperation in rapid responses to disasters, incidents at sea and for search and rescue, the implementation of maritime confidence building measures and the future direction of the EAMF. Paul presented a paper on strengthening regional search and rescue cooperation in the wake of the disappearance of MH 370.

11 August 2014

Middle East issues Roundtable with Dr Abul Aziz Aluwaisheg

On 11 August the Centre for Strategic Studies hosted a roundtable discussion with Dr Abdul Aziz Aluwaisheg, Assistant Secretary General for Negotiations and Strategic Dialogue at the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). Dr Aluwaisheg was accompanied by his wife, Dr Hatoon Al Fassi, Assistant Professor of History at King Saud University. Topics discussed included GCC relations with the Arab League, defence cooperation among GCC members, the GCC’s relationship with Saudi Arabia, relations with Iran, the rise of jihadism, the need for political change In Baghdad, Israel and Hamas, US-Israel relations, Iran’s nuclear programme, gender issues in Saudi Arabia, and the possibility of developing a dialogue between the GCC and CSS.

7 August 2014

Roundtable with Australian Defence Force Commander

The Centre for Strategic Studies hosted a roundtable, on 7th August, for Maj Gen Stuart Smith, Commander of the Australian Defence Force’s (ADF) 1st Division/Deployable Joint Force Headquarters.  Maj Gen Smith discussed ADF joint and amphibious operations for crisis and contingency response. Topics covered included the very close and efective cooperation with New Zealand’s counterpart Joint Force Headquarters, the importance of inter-agency cooperation, the challenges of operating in a heavily populated and urbanised environment, the utility of including non-governmental agencies in relevant exercises, and the important role of Police officers in many overseas operations.

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4 - 6 August 2014

US Asia-Pacific Centre for Security Studies workshop in Vanuatu

In the first week of August, Centre Senior Fellow Michael Powles represented CSS at a US Asia-Pacific Centre for Security Studies workshop on Pacific security in Vanuatu. The workshop brought some 60 participants from across the Pacific Islands region to discuss the current security environment and regional security architecture. The dominant opinion at the workshop was that there was currently no serious external threat to security in the region and therefore no need to consider changing the "architecture" which rests principally with the processes and procedures created by the Biketawa Declaration (2000). The workshop made recommendations to improve regional cooperation in customs, law enforcement and related fields. (Michael Powles’ speaking notes).

1 August 2014

Roundtable on Australia-New Zealand Defence and Security Relations

A robust roundtable discussion on the recent Australia-New Zealand Track 1.5 Dialogue on security issues (see separate entry below) was held on 1 August. A large group of current and recent academics and officials discussed possible divergences in the two countries’ approaches, whether this mattered, if indeed divergence is occurring, and then went on to discuss how and where New Zealand should position itself in the world on security matters. Overall, there was a thought that the countries had a general agreement on the desired overall regional security outcomes, that they might well differ on the most appropriate means to achieve those outcomes, but that at the day-to-day operating level the armed forces continued to be capable of working not only with its traditional military partners, but also with a wide range of newer partners.

25 July 2014

Roundtable with Prof Loch K Johnson

The Centre for Strategic Studies in conjunction with Massey University’s Centre for Defence and Security Studies, hosted a roundtable with Loch K Johnson, Regents Professor of Public and International Affairs at the University of Georgia and a Meigs Distinguished Professor. Professor Johnson’s address was titled the Anglo-American Intelligence Agencies and the Defence of the Democracies. The address and ensuing discussion focussed on the problem of determining intelligence priorities in the United States given the varying interests of no fewer than 17 separate intelligence agencies, issues of connectivity among the agencies, intelligence agency accountability, and the role of intelligence in foreign poIicy.

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22 July 2014

India following the 2014 election - Roundtable with Prof Sumit Ganguly

The Centre for Strategic Studies hosted a roundtable discussion with Professor Sumit Ganguly, who holds the Rabindranath chair in Indian Cultures and Civilisations at Indiana University and is also a senior fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute in Philadelphia. In a very wide-ranging talk, Professor Ganguly discussed the key issues that dominated the recent Indian election, the Modi Government’s first budget, the direction of defence foreign policy under PM Modi, social issues and problems besetting India’s defence industry. A theme of much of the seminar was the need for the Modi Government to represent all India, as the ruling BJP party is not currently seen as a party with national roots but as a party of northern and western India with a narrow party-political agenda rather than a national one.

3 July 2014

Track 1.5 Dialogue with Australian Colleagues

The Centre partnered with the Ministry of Defence to host a Track 1.5 dialogue with Australian colleagues from the Department of Defence and the non-government analytical community. The dialogue, held under the Chatham House rule, covered regional security issues such as drivers of change, inter-state tensions and non-traditional threats, and drivers of regional cooperation. The dialogue was valuable in that it allowed official and non-official views to be aired and it revealed a substantial common understanding of regional security issues but less agreement as to what those meant in terms of appropriate strategic policy settings for the two countries.

1 July 2014

Chinese foreign policy roundtable discussion with Prof Zhai Kun

The Centre for Strategic Studies hosted a roundtable on 1 July with Professor Zhai Kun, Director of the Institute of World Political Studies at the China Institute for Contemporary International Relations in Beijing. The discussion focused on the apparent dichotomy in Chinese foreign policy with the growing employment of soft power alongside a more assertive stance and broader definition of China's core interests.

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25 June 2014

Roundtable with former Fiji Prime Minister, Laisenia Qarase

The Centre for Strategic Studies held a very well-attended roundtable with Laisenia Qarase, the last-elected prime minister of Fiji who was deposed by the Commander of the Fiji Military Forces in December 2006. Topics discussed included prospects for the forthcoming elections which will be held in September; key election issues; the new Constitution; Fiji’s relations with the Pacific Islands Forum, the Melanesian Spearhead Group and with New Zealand.

24 June 2014

Roundtable on Northeast Asian issues

A large group of regional scholars, officials with an interest in Northeast Asia and diplomats gathered for a roundtable led by Professor of Strategic Studies, Rob Ayson, CSS Director, Jim Rolfe and CSS Regional Security Fellow, Paul Sinclair. They had separately attended a range of conferences and seminars in East Asia (in Singapore, Beijing, Seoul, Taipei and Kuala Lumpur) in late May and early June and this was an opportunity to report back on the issues raised at the events and examine some of the implications for New Zealand and the region. Discussion revolved mainly around China’s approach to regional stability, relations between China, Japan and Korea, and the perspectives held by different actors of the United States’ role in the region. A secondary but related line of discussion centred on regional order and the most effective ways of ensuring stability.

16 June 2014

Roundtable with VP from NBR Washington

The Centre for Strategic Studies hosted a roundtable with Abe Denmark, Vice President for Political and Security Affairs at the National Bureau of Asian Research in Washington DC. Mr Denmark is engaged in a research project examining the future of United States alliances and partnerships in the Asia-Pacific region and was visiting New Zealand in the course of a programme of travel in the region as part of his research. Topics discussed included New Zealand’s relationships with the United States and China, constraints on United States power, the growth of Chinese economic and military power, Korea-Japan relations and defence engagement between China and the United States.

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5 June 2014

41st CSCAP Steering Committee Meeting

Centre Director, Jim Rolfe and Regional Security Fellow, Paul Sinclair attended the 41st CSCAP Steering Committee meeting on 5 June 2014. The meeting reviewed reports from study groups on maritime security, water resources security, countering the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction in the Asia Pacific, and regional security architecture. It then considered proposals for a series of new study groups and requested that each proposal be further refined for subsequent approval by CSCAP members. The meeting also reviewed its procedural rules, considered a report on a CSCAP delegation’s meeting with the ASEAN Secretary General as part of a discussion on enhancing ties with the ASEAN Regional Forum.

2-4 June 2014

28th Asia-Pacific Roundtable held in Kuala Lumpur

Dr Jim Rolfe Director of the Centre for Strategic Studies and Paul Sinclair, Regional Security Fellow attended the 28th Asia-Pacific Roundtable in Kuala Lumpur. The roundtable opened with a keynote address from Prime Minister Najib which was presented by Minister of Home Affairs, Zahid Hamidi. Plenary sessions included a Japanese perspective on opportunities and challenges in constructing a peaceful and prosperous region presented by Mr Norio Mitsuya, Senior Parliamentary Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs; the “new type” of major power relations; resetting Sino-Japanese relations; fostering peace and security in the Asia Pacific; Myanmar’s political and economic reforms; ASEAN’s post-2015 agenda featuring strengthening and deepening community building; managing the maritime commons in the South China Sea; the question is Japan back?; and the dynamics of India’s rise: national imperatives and international aspirations. The roundtable finished on a sombre note with a session on the future of Thai politics.

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19-22 May 2014

NATO Study Tour - 'Partners Across the Globe'

Centre Director Jim Rolfe participated in a NATO 'Partners Across the Globe' event in Brussels 19-22 May. The Partners Across the Globe grouping is one of a number of partnership programmes developed by NATO in the last 20 years and includes countries such as Australia, Japan, South Korea, Mongolia, Pakistan and Iraq as well as New Zealand. Others partnership groupings include European non-NATO countries (the Partnership for Peace), Mediterranean countries of the North African littoral (the Mediterranean Dialogue), and Gulf states The Istanbul Cooperation Initiative). The partnership programmes are designed to support Nato's mission of cooperating internationally to maintain global peace and security and are pursued in distinction to NATO's collective defence mission with its allies. The Brussels event involved briefings and discussions on the range of issues and missions important to NATO, the most prominent of which are currently the future of Afghanistan, the situation in Ukraine, the conduct of other NATO missions and the future development of the partnership programme itself. As well as the briefings, participants themselves presented national and scholarly perspectives on issues ranging from maritime security and cooperative versus collective security to lessons learned from Afghanistan and the security environment in Europe and in the Asia-Pacific.

6-8 May 2014

Pacific Forum CSIS - 'Island State Security'

Centre Director, Dr Jim Rolfe, attended a conference on 'Island State Security' in Hawaii, hosted by Pacific Forum CSIS, 6-8 May 2014 and gave a paper on New Zealand approaches to development assistance in the Pacific Island region. The conference was attended by representatives from US government agencies and from the Pacific Islands Forum, Australia, New Zealand, China and Japan as well as representatives from regional civil society. The conference examined the range of issues faced by the Pacific Island region, different national approaches to engaging with the region and the region's own perspectives on the issues.

12 May 2014

Roundtable with visiting Senior Foreign Affairs Official from Canada

The Centre for Strategic Studies held a roundtable on 12 May 2014 with Susan Gregson, Assistant Deputy Minister (Asia Pacific) in Canada’s Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development. Ms Gregson was accompanied by H.E. Caroline Chrétien, Canadian High Commissioner to New Zealand. Topics discussed included the implications of China’s emergence as a major power; recent developments on the Korean Peninsula; Canada’s interest in playing a more active role in the region’s security architecture and measures taken to step up its engagement in the Asia Pacific, and the opening up of the Arctic and the challenges this poses for Canada.

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12 April 2014

Kippenberger Chair 2014 attachment completed 

Professor Rosemary Foot’s attachment to the Centre as the 2014 Sir Howard Kippenberger Chair in Strategic Studies finished in style with an address to a large audience at the NZ Institute of International Affairs on the topic of ‘The Responsibility to Protect and its Evolution as a Global Norm’. In her ten weeks as a guest of the Centre, Professor Foot (from St Antony's College, Oxford) spoke to groups from Auckland to Dunedin in formal lectures, roundtable discussions, media appearances and classroom lectures with audiences ranging from the general public and students, through government officials and members of Wellington’s diplomatic community. Her material ranged widely over issues of current relevance to Asia-Pacific security, including discussions of the drivers and moderators of possible conflict in the region, relations between regional powers, including China and the US, and the region’s ever growing institutionalisation. A CSS Discussion Paper based on her formal Kippenberger lecture: ‘Constraints on Conflict in the Asia-Pacific: Balancing the War Ledger in the 21st Century’ will be published soon.

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Roundtable hosted by Asia New Zealand Foundation

Dr Jim Rolfe, Director of CSS and Paul Sinclair, Regional Security Fellow, took part in a roundtable hosted by the Asia New Zealand Foundation, with Professor Nick Bisley, Executive Director of La Trobe Asia at La Trobe University in Melbourne.  Professor Bisley provided an analysis of Australian foreign policy under Prime Minister Abbott.  The subsequent discussion focussed on Australia’s policy towards Asia, the indo-Pacific concept, Australia’s approach to free trade agreements and Australia’s role on the United Nations Security Council.

 27 March 2014

Roundtable with team managing Asia Pacific Country Risk for J.P. Morgan

Dr Jim Rolfe, Director of CSS and Paul Sinclair, Regional Security Fellow, met the team managing Asia Pacific country risk for J.P. Morgan on 27 March.  The Wellington visit and range of meetings with government and private sector agencies and think tanks, is part of J.P. Morgan’s annual country rating process.  Subjects discussed at our meeting focussed on geo-political risks in the Asia/Pacific region including tensions in the East and South China seas, trans-national crime, the changing regional power balance and its implications, the likely increase in illegal foreign fishing encroachments in the South Pacific EEZ’s and in the Southern ocean as fishing stocks are depleted elsewhere, and the impact of climate change.

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20-21 March 2014

Workshop on Track Two Diplomacy and Transfer

CSS Director of Research, David Capie, gave a paper on “Track two diplomacy and transfer in Southeast Asia” at a workshop on Track Two Diplomacy and Transfer held at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, 20-21 March 2014. The workshop explored how track two diplomacy contributes to conflict resolution and security cooperation, with cases including Northern Ireland, Israel-Palestine, US-Soviet relations during the Cold War as well as conceptual issues. The paper, which was co-authored with Professor Brian Job from the University of British Columbia, will be forthcoming as a chapter.

CSS Contributes to Track One ARF Workshop on Preventive Diplomacy Training

Paul Sinclair, Regional Security Fellow at CSS attended the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) roundtable on training resources for Preventive Diplomacy hosted by MFAT in Wellington 20-21 March. ARF Ministers in 2011 had endorsed a Work Plan on Preventive Diplomacy. The roundtable focussed on the capacities and capabilities of the ARF and its participants in the field of Preventive Diplomacy, and on training needs. The objective was to identify options for regional training and prospects for collaboration with international programme such as that conducted by the United Nations Institute for Training and Research.

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20 March 2014

Roundtable with Professor Akio Takahata

On 20 March the Centre for Strategic Studies hosted  a roundtable with Professor Akio Takahata, a specialist in Asia /Pacific security issues at Japan’s Hakuoh University, and a regular contributor to the Sankei Shimbun newspaper.  Professor Takahata was accompanied by Maruo Shinichi, head of the Political Section in the Japanese Embassy in Wellington. Subjects discussed included China/Japan relations, Japan/US relations, perceptions of United States leadership on global and regional issues, United States re-balancing in the Asia/Pacific region, Japan’s relationship with Russia in the wake of the annexation of Crimea, and Japan’s security relationship with New Zealand.

4 March 2014

Roundtable with the Massey Centre for Defence and Security Studies

CSS in partnership with the Massey Centre for Defence and Security Studies hosted a roundtable on 4 March with Dr Bernd Kubbig, Project Director of the Peace Research Institute Frankfurt and Adjunct Professor at Goethe University, Frankfurt.  Dr Kubbig discussed his experiences as Coordinator of the international experts group known as the Multilateral Study group on the Establishment of a Missile Free Zone in the Middle East.  Participants were drawn from both Centres' staff and stakeholders and had a wide-ranging discussion on frameworks for developing peace and security within regions.  A general conclusion was that for short term stability specific local factors are probably more important than generally applicable principles for long term peace.

27 February 2014

Discussions with the Philippines Ambassador

The Philippines Ambassador Virginia Benavidez visited the Centre for Strategic Studies on 27 February to discuss recent developments in the case the Philippines has put forward to the Arbitral Tribunal established under Annex VII to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea in respect of China’s South China Sea claims and the likely timetable for the Tribunal’s consideration of the Philippines case.  She also discussed the development of confidence building measures to reduce the risk of maritime incidents in the region, progress on the Code of Conduct in the South China Sea and the work of the ADMM+ Expert Working Group on Maritime Security which New Zealand is about to co-chair with Brunei.

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CSCAP Maritime Security Study Group Meeting - 17-19 February 2014: Paul Sinclair, Regional Security Fellow at the Centre for Strategic Studies, co-chaired with Singaporean and Indonesian counterparts the second CSCAP Maritime Security Study Group meeting.  The meeting held in Jakarta 17-19 February focussed on measures to build confidence to reduce the prospect of an incident in the maritime commons escalating to conflict.  Immediately prior to that meeting Paul Sinclair attended a CSCAP experts meeting on proposals to ensure the safety and security of vital undersea communications infrastructure for which currently there are no adequate international mechanisms.

6th East Asia Security Outlook Seminar - 18 February 2014: CSS Director, Dr Jim Rolfe, gave a paper 'Comprehensive Security and Non-Government Organisations' at the 6th East Asia Security Outlook seminar in Brunei on 18 February 2014. The seminar is an annual event organised by Brunei’s Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Institute of Defence and Strategic Studies. The themes of this year's seminar were around cooperation to achieve security outcomes. Papers were given by a range of international scholars on the development of ASEAN as a security community, ASEAN's security relationships and on regional maritime security. The audience was drawn primarily from Brunei's security community.

Roundtable with visiting Swiss MP - 11 February 2014: The Centre for Strategic Studies hosted a roundtable on 11 February 2014 with Swiss MP Thomas Aeschi. Mr Aeschi, who was accompanied by the Swiss Ambassador HE Marion Weichelt, is Chair of the Parliamentary Association Switzerland for Australia and New Zealand. A wide-ranging discussion took place covering the impact of China’s rise on the Asia Pacific region, regional security architecture; New Zealand foreign policy, European security issues and cyber security.

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Past Activities:

Asia-Pacific Integration Symposium - 13 November 2013: In partnership with the New Zealand Institute for International Affairs and the Asia: New Zealand Foundation, the Centre for Strategic Studies hosted a one-day conference on the economic and security dimensions of Asia-Pacific integration on 13 November. The conference attracted more than 100 participants and heard papers from a range of New Zealand and international analysts. Overall there was general consensus, if not complete agreement, that the region (however defined) is integrating in the economic and security spheres, that the two are linked but not necessarily correlated with each other, that the processes are different in each arena and that there are both opportunities and potential costs for New Zealand in these regional developments. New Zealand takes an active role in both the security and economic arenas and, most participants argued, should continue to do so.

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  • Sixth Japan/New Zealand Track 1.5 Dialogue: Paul Sinclair, Regional Security Fellow at the Centre for Strategic Studies, participated in the sixth track 1.5 dialogue with Japan held in Wellington on 23 September 2013. The dialogue was jointly organised by the NZIIA and the Asia New Zealand Foundation. He presented a paper: The Korean Peninsula: how much of a problem? (PDF, 417 KB) Other topics discussed during the dialogue included: China's growing influence; the regional economic architecture in the Asia Pacific; US-China relations; and the Middle East with specific reference to events in Syria.
  • Expanded ASEAN Maritime Forum: CSS Regional Security Fellow, Paul Sinclair, attended the second Expanded ASEAN Maritime Forum held in Kuala Lumpur on 3 October 2013. This 18 strong forum's membership replicates the membership of the East Asian Summit and the ASEAN Defence Ministers Plus forum. Subjects discussed included Priorities for ASEAN Dialogue Partners in Promoting Maritime Cooperation; Freedom of Navigation and Military Activities in Exclusive Economic Zones, and Future Work for this Forum. Sinclair's attendance was funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs' Asian Security Fund.
  • Roderic Alley, Senior Fellow at the Centre for Strategic Studies, has published the Centre's 14th Discussion Paper: The Drone Debate: Sudden Bullet or Slow Boomerang? Please contact for more information.
  • Centre for Strategic Studies' Regional Security Fellow, Paul Sinclair, has released the Centre's 13th Discussion Paper: Tensions on the Korean Peninsula: Implications for New Zealand. Please contact for more information.