It is unsurprising that Australia’s 2017 foreign policy white paper says little of direct substance, and is cautious about change. The world around us is rapidly changing and increasingly uncertain, and our foreign policy boffins generally don’t like unpredictability. But that’s what they have alluded to, without providing a detailed way forward.

As the white paper notes, China is a growing superpower, in our region and in the world, in both economic and strategic terms. The paper also notes that these economic and strategic interests are linked. Neither of these facts is exactly a newsflash.