Prime Minister Tony Abbott's foreign policy focus will switch from trade and economic relations to regional security concerns at the East Asia Summit (EAS) in Brunei.
It will be Mr Abbott's second regional conference of the week following his visit to Bali for the APEC discussions.
While that conference is centred around economic relations and free-trade agreements, the East Asia forum draws together the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) with major regional players such as the United States, China, Japan, Russia, India, Australia and New Zealand.
Professor of national security at the Australian National University Michael Wesley says the EAS has a different focus to APEC.
"APEC is very much about trade liberalisation, economic cooperation and the building of development and capabilities within developing countries, so it's very much an economic-focused organisation, whereas the East Asian Summit is much more a political, and increasingly, a security organisation," he said.
Professor Wesley says that means regional security issues, and predominantly the ongoing territorial dispute over the South China Sea, will be front of mind at the EAS.
"The members of ASEAN - or at least most of them - are a little bit alarmed by what they see as China's recent aggression in the South China Sea," he said.
"China is seeking to reassure them, seeking to make soothing noises towards them, so this is going to be a particular issue there."
Mr Abbott is expected to call for frank and open discussions on regional security issues, such as the South China Sea, when he addresses the summit's main session tomorrow.
Professor Wesley says he does not believe the Prime Minister will want to break any new ground on the issue, and the director of the East Asia Program at the Lowy Institute, Linda Jakobson, agrees.
"I think he's going to be cautious in his remarks," she said.
"Obviously Australia always emphasises the importance of freedom of navigation, because Australia is one of the many countries in this region which is so dependent on the free flow of goods and foreign trade."
The East Asia Summit will give Mr Abbott the opportunity to hold his first formal talks as Prime Minister with the leaders he did not meet at APEC.
Ms Jakobson says there will be added interest in Mr Abbott from other world leaders given his recent election.
"Absolutely, I think always after an election, and the change of government and the new prime minister or head of state, there is a curiosity, there is a need to find out what this new leader is all about," she said.
Unlike APEC, India is invited to the East Asia summit, and Professor Wesley says securing a meeting with prime minister Manmohan Singh will be high on Mr Abbott's agenda.
"I think the Coalition believes that the Howard government established a very good relationship with the Manmohan Singh government in India," he said.
"I think the Coalition believes that the government of Kevin Rudd was less effective in that bilateral relationship, and I think they would like to signal to the government of India that they would like to pick up where John Howard left off."
Mr Abbott will attend the East Asia Summit's gala dinner tonight before giving a short speech to the formal session tomorrow.
It is expected that in addition to calling for open discussions on security concerns, he will also highlight the need for Asian countries to cooperate on challenges like natural disasters.