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Linda Jakobson

In January 2014, Linda Jakobson became an independent researcher and took up the position of Visiting Professor at the United States Studies Centre at Sydney University. From 2011 to 2013 she served as East Asia Program Director at the Lowy Institute.

Before moving to Sydney in 2011 she lived and worked in China for 20 years and published six books on China and other East Asian societies. Her last position in Beijing was Director of the China and Global Security Programme and Senior Researcher at the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) 2009-2011. A Mandarin speaker, Jakobson has published extensively on China’s foreign policy, the Taiwan Straits, China’s energy security, China's Arctic aspirations, and its science & technology polices.

In 2014 Linda Jakobson co-founded China Matters Ltd, a not-for-profit company registered as a charity under Australian law. The goal of China Matters is to stimulate and sustain a nuanced and informed public discourse in Australia about China’s rise and its implications for Australia.

Her publications include “The PLA and Maritime Security Actors,“ in Phillip C. Saunders and Andrew Scobell, eds., PLA Influence on China’s National Security Policymaking (Stanford University Press, forthcoming 2015); Australia’s Relations with China in Turbulence (Asan Forum, January 2014); Australia-China ties: In search of political trust (Lowy Institute Policy Brief, June 2011); China's Arctic Aspirations (SIPRI Policy Paper, Nov. 2012, with Jingchao Peng); and New Foreign Policy Actors in China (SIPRI Policy Paper 26/2010, with Dean Knox).

Jakobson’s research focuses on China’s foreign and security policy, Northeast Asian political dynamics, maritime security in Indo-Pacific Asia, Australia-China ties, and China's Arctic activities.

Articles by Linda Jakobson (9)

  • South China Sea: Does Xi have a grand strategy?

    I am grateful to several people for commenting on my Lowy Institute Report China's Unpredictable Maritime Security Actors. To date I have received detailed and substantive feedback in over 40 emails, more than I usually do after publishing. In addition, The Interpreter has published posts by Bonnie Glaser, Julian Snelder, Jingchao Peng and Michael McDevitt. Ryan Martinson wrote a detailed critique of the report for The Diplomat.
  • The propaganda war over maritime rights

    'China will work with other countries to further promote a harmonious maritime order.' Even after years of studying the maritime tensions on China's periphery, I had to check that I had not misread the 9 December Xinhua dispatch quoting Liu Jieyi, China's Ambassador to the UN. These reassuring words come on the heels of a position paper issued just two days earlier by China regarding the Philippines' appeal to international arbitration over South China Sea disputes.
  • No circuit breaker in sight in East China Sea

    In my concluding thoughts on a report compiling four workshop papers about tensions in the East China Sea, published by the Lowy Institute on 7 January, I note that it is impossible to predict the consequences of the vicious tit-for-tat cycle which Beijing and Tokyo have fallen into over the past 16 months. Re-reading the papers by Jin Canrong, Noburo Yamaguchi and Bonnie Glaser reminded me of the step-by-step escalation in tensions between Tokyo and Beijing since the papers were presented at th
  • Obama-Xi: Not too hot, not too cold

    Many readers know the lines from the 19th century fable about Goldilocks and the three bears: 'not too hot, not too cold, just right.' Those lines come to mind when reading the mostly positive initial reports of the informal summit between presidents Obama and Xi.
  • Why has China's president forsaken protocol?

    Much has been made of the fact that the Chinese and American presidents are meeting in informal surroundings on Friday at the Sunnylands retreat, the former estate of Walter Annenberg in Rancho Mirage, California. Protocol will be kept to a minimum and the presidents will meet in short-sleeved shirts. Chinese officials are usually extremely pedantic about protocol when senior leaders travel abroad, especially when the head of state visits the US.
  • Australia-China strategic partnership: Two years of fits and starts

    The strategic partnership between Australia and China announced yesterday has been a long 24 months in the making. As with any initiative requiring the approval of senior Chinese leaders, there have been fits and starts along the way. Less than a month ago, when the countdown to Julia Gillard's departure to China had begun, the Prime Minister's Office was still in a state of suspense.