China’s ambitions in Antarctica and their implications for Australia

Event status:

Presented in collaboration with The Australian Institute of International Affairs and China Matters

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Wednesday 03 August 2022 02:00 pm until Wednesday 03 August 2022 02:00 pm (Add to calendar)
La Trobe Asia
Presented by:
La Trobe Asia
Type of Event:
Launch; Public Lecture; Seminar/Workshop/Training; Public

In recent years, as the People’s Republic of China (PRC) has grown in economic size, military strength and international influence, it has become more active in Antarctica. This has led to worries that Beijing’s ambitions extend further than just scientific research and fishing. Concerns have been raised about the PRC wanting to exploit Antarctica’s mineral and fossil energy resources and militarise the continent. There has been speculation that the PRC is even planning to make its own territorial claims.

Ms Yun Jiang, The Australian Institute of International Affairs (AIIA) China Matters Fellow and author of a new policy research report China’s  Antarctic ambitions  - and their implications for Australia, argues that some of the popular concerns around the PRC’s activities, including militarisation and territorial claims, are overblown.

To consider the question of China’s ambitions in Antarctica and their implications for Australia, La Trobe Asia, together with the Australian Institute of International Affairs (AIIA) and China Matters, have brought together an expert panel. Ms Yun Jiang will be joined by Dr Nengye Liu and Mr Richard Maude. Professor Nick Bisley will moderate the event.

The panel will consider some of the key questions and concerns about the PRC’s Antarctica ambitions and what they mean for Australia.

  • Is the PRC militarising the region or looking to establish conditions in which they can make their own territorial claims?
  • What is the PRC’s approach to resource exploitation in Antarctica, including fishing and the potential for mining in the future?
  • How does the PRC view the current Antarctic governance processes established under the Antarctic Treaty System?
  • How do Beijing’s activities in Antarctica compare with other countries?

Author of a new report:

Ms Yun Jiang is the inaugural AIIA China Matters Fellow. She was previously co-founder and editor of the newsletter China Neican, and a managing editor of the China Story blog. She is a former researcher in geoeconomics at the Australian National University and a former policy adviser in the Australian Government.


  • Dr Nengye Liu, Associate Professor at Yong Pung How School of Law, Singapore Management University is a specialist in environmental law and has researched and published extensively on polar issues. He was previously Associate Professor at Macquarie University where he was the Director of its Centre for Environmental Law.
  • Mr Richard Maude is the Executive Director, Policy, and Senior Fellow, at the Asia Society Policy Institute. He was previously Deputy Secretary, Indo-Pacific Group in the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and Director-General of the Office of National Assessments and the senior advisor on foreign policy and national security in the Office of the Prime Minister.


Professor Nick Bisley, Dean - School of Humanities and Social Sciences and Professor of International Relations at La Trobe University, and a member of China Matters’ Advisory Council.



9th Aug 2022 7:45am

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