Life after the rebalance: Pyongyang and Trump’s Asia policy



30 March 2017


Boardroom, United States Studies Centre, Institute Building, City Road, University of Sydney


Public event

North Korea is likely to be the first major foreign policy crisis for the fledgling Trump Administration.

Pyongyang is steaming ahead with its nuclear weapons program and is increasing provocative missile tests, causing the US to rush through its deployment of an anti-ballistic missile battery to South Korea. Meanwhile, a power vacuum has open in Seoul in the wake of a bizarre corruption scandal that has toppled President Park Geun-hye, leaving the country in caretaker mode until elections in May. China remains an uncertain partner and Japan is eyeing greater defence spending as a way to deter North Korea’s regional instability. This comes as the Trump Administration is conducting a top-to-bottom review of its North Korea policy, with reportedly ‘all options on the table.’ A new report, America First: US Asia Policy under President Trump, by Research Fellow Ashley Townshend previews how the Trump Administration views the region.

Perth USAsia Centre CEO Gordon Flake, Associate Professor Justin Hastings from the University of Sydney, USSC Research Fellows Ashley Townshend and Brendan Thomas-Noone and Dr Danielle Chubb from Deakin University discussed the growing concern over North Korea and in the context of Trump’s Asia policy.


  • Dr Danielle Chubb
    Dr Danielle Chubb
    Senior Lecturer in International Relations, Deakin University

    Danielle Chubb is Senior Lecturer in International Relations and a member of the POLIS group in the Alfred Deakin Institute for Citizenship and Globalisation at Deakin University in Melbourne, Australia. She previously held positions at Pacific Forum CSIS, The Australian National University and Hawaii Pacific University. Danielle’s main research interests are transnational activism, the policy dynamics of the Korean peninsula, the role of non-traditional actors in security arenas, and Australian foreign policy. Her book, Contentious activism and inter-Korean relations, was published by Columbia University Press in 2014.

  • Professor Gordon Flake
    Professor Gordon Flake
    Chief Executive Officer, Perth USAsia Centre

    Professor Gordon Flake is a member of the US Studies Centre's Board of Directors. He is the founding Chief Executive Officer of the Perth USAsia Centre at The University of Western Australia.

  • Associate Professor Justin Hastings
    Associate Professor Justin Hastings
    Senior Lecturer, Department of Government and International Relations at the University of Sydney

    Justin Hastings is a Senior Lecturer in International Relations and Comparative Politics in the Department of Government and International Relations at the University of Sydney, where he is also affiliated with the Sydney Southeast Asia Centre, the China Studies Centre, and Centre of International Security Studies.

  • Brendan Thomas-Noone
    Brendan Thomas-Noone

    Brendan was formerly a Research Fellow in the Foreign Policy and Defence Program at the United States Studies Centre.

  • Ashley Townshend
    Ashley Townshend
    Non-Resident Senior Fellow, United States Studies Centre

    Ashley Townshend is a Non-Resident Senior Fellow at the United States Studies Centre and Senior Fellow for Indo-Pacific Security at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. He is the founding co-chair of the annual US-Australia Indo-Pacific Deterrence Dialogue and was the Director of Foreign Policy and Defence at the United States Studies Centre from June 2017 to June 2022.