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Australia Faces Times Of 'Risk And Danger'

According to a new foreign policy blueprint, Australia must not be reliant on others for its security as it faces risky and dangerous times.

The first foreign policy white paper since 2003 will be launched by Prime Minister Turnbull, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop and Trade Minister Steve Ciobo in Canberra on Thursday.

While the previous effort was drafted in the wake of the Bali and September 11 attacks, the latest blueprint comes in the context of an "America first" US president, a historic military buildup and economic expansion in Asia, the reshaping of Europe via Brexit and the continuing threat of Islamist terrorism.

"These are the most exciting times, the times of greatest opportunity, but they are also times of uncertainty, of risk, indeed of danger," Mr Turnbull writes in the introduction to the 122-page paper.

"More than ever, Australia must be sovereign, not reliant. We must take responsibility for our own security and prosperity, while recognising we are stronger when sharing the burden of leadership with trusted partners and friends."

The Turnbull government's foreign policy will squarely focus on the Indo-Pacific region while also strengthening and building ties with nations in other regions.

The paper sets out five objectives:

* Promoting an open, inclusive and prosperous Indo-Pacific region in which the rights of all states are respected;

* Standing against protectionism and promoting business;

* Ensuring Australians are safe, secure and free in the face of threats such as terrorism;

* Promoting and protecting international rules;

* Greater support for the Pacific and Timor-Leste.

The threat from Islamist terrorism, cyber attacks and transnational crime "could worsen over the decade ahead", the paper warns, and more work will be needed to strengthen counter-terrorism cooperation in Southeast Asia as foreign fighters return from Iraq and Syria.

However, the risk from direct military threat was "low".

In the Pacific region, Australia will set three priorities: greater economic cooperation and labour mobility; maritime security; and strengthening people-to-people links, skills and leadership.

With AAP

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