//
you're reading...
Australian Current Affairs

Experts warn that China’s main motive in new deal is to prise Australia away from US


Li Keqiang and Julia Gillard

Li Keqiang and Julia Gillard

The “strategic partnership” announced this week between Australia and China is widely viewed within China and by experts internationally as a move in which Beijing hopes to start prising Canberra away from Washington on security matters.

But this is a long-term strategy, which is easier for China’s new leaders, who anticipate a 10-year term ahead, to conceive than the Australian government.

More immediately, this new arrangement, which involves annual top-level meetings, is seen as underlining Beijing’s prime focus on Australia as a source of resources, despite the emphasis by Julia Gillard during her visit on climate change and other issues.

“Ms Gillard’s visit powerfully demonstrates that economic and trading bonds prevail in today’s world over security concerns,” Zhu Feng, the deputy director of the Centre for International and Strategic Studies at Beijing University, told The Australian.

“Her engagement with China also provides a great visible hand to help shape China’s foreign policy outline.”

Australia’s global role as a member of “the liberal world order” – which Professor Zhu viewed as a benign influence on China – positions it as “a most effective tool by which Beijing can win friendships, and retain the gains we want”.

David Zweig, a professor at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, said that through the new deal Canberra was demonstrating to Beijing that the business links remain crucial, despite increasing regional tensions that are in part due to sovereignty issues over islands off east Asia.

“Gillard’s visit proves that Australia will not readily sacrifice its economic ties with China, even as it remains secure in its security ties with the US,” he said.

“But that is what the rise of China means for all US allies, particularly in Southeast Asia” where countries are still grappling with their priorities – the economy or sovereignty.

Professor Zweig said this meant “Australia must find a way to balance its security ties with the US and its economic ties with China. That is clearly in its national interest.

“It may not be able to do that in the long run, if China becomes more aggressive as Australian iron turns into Chinese guns and ships.”

In its coverage of the Gillard visit, China’s news agency Xinhua underlined the expectation that Australia would start to align its thinking and actions more with China’s.

It quoted Premier Li Keqiang as telling Ms Gillard that the two countries should enhance, in their dealings with multilateral organisations such as the G20, the UN and APEC, not only communication but also co-ordination.

It quoted Ms Gillard as agreeing that “Australia would like to step up macro policy co-ordination.”

Mr Li also called for “multiple means of co-operation in minerals and agriculture and expanded collaboration in rail, ports and telecoms”.

Su Hao, a professor at China’s Foreign Affairs University, said that “although Canberra has cooperated with Washington’s pivot to the Asia-Pacific region, it has defined itself as an Asian country, realising that China is an important nation in Asia” – as signalled by Gillard’s Asia white paper.

Australian National University professor of strategic studies Hugh White said that, for China, inaugurating the new regular meetings was “their answer to the Darwin deployment of American marines,” courting Canberra into its camp.

“It is a demonstration of China’s growing power. Beijing wants the new arrangement not because it wants to hear what Gillard has to say, but as an opportunity to make her listen to it.”

Professor White added that while the new top-level meetings were a welcome development, “what matters in such relationships is not the forum but the message conveyed.

“What has been lacking is not the forums in which conversations can take place – John Howard and Bob Hawke could always manage to speak with the Chinese leaders when they had something to say – but the content.”

He said that Ms Gillard “has to work out what she wants to say” about issues such as the access of Huawei, and Chinese direct investment, and the growing strategic competition between the Chinese and the Americans. “And she has to start talking to the Australian public about this.”

Linda Jakobson, the Lowy Institute’s East Asia program director who has been urging the creation of a top-level forum, viewed as a positive development the fact that Australian and Chinese leaders would “be forced to get to know each other a little, in different domains, too” – beyond the economics.

“Such familiarity helps us manage challenges, even in the face of two such different political systems,” she said.

“Australia is not viewed in China as a regional or strategic player but as an economic player” and only through such a platform would Australia’s greater aspirations stand a chance of being recognised.

Source: The Australian – Beijing’s goal to wean Canberra off US
 

About Craig Hill

Teacher and Writer. Writing has been cited in New York Times, BBC, Fox News, Aljazeera, Philippines Star, South China Morning Post, National Interest, news.com.au, Wikipedia and others.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

If you liked what you just read, click "Subscribe" to become a follower of the Craig Hill site. You will receive an email each time a new post is published.

Join 15,358 other followers

An archive of all my old posts

Follow me on Twitter

Most Recent Posts Post on My Blog About China: China News

United States outmanoeuvres Russia once again? 

United States outmanoeuvres Russia once again? 

In a recent briefing, the US Director of National Intelligence (DNI), Avril Haines warned, “I would characterize it as the Russians aren’t winning, and the Ukrainians aren’t winning, and we’re at a bit of a stalemate here.” So, where is the Russia-Ukraine war heading? What is Russian President Putin planning next? Is Europe ready for […]

China is defying global order to expand power, US admiral warns

China is defying global order to expand power, US admiral warns

The Chinese Communist Party and the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) are destabilizing international order in an effort to expand their global power, Adm. John Aquilino, commander of the Indo-Pacific Command, warned lawmakers during a House hearing on Tuesday. In his written testimony submitted to the House Appropriations defense subcommittee, Adm. Aquilino explained that the Department […]

China – Autocracy and decoupling technical tests

China – Autocracy and decoupling technical tests

We have noticed that the embrace with China had become suffocating in the last twenty years. The West universe of consumers and China the factory of the world. We started with modest and low value-added materials and products, to refine the trajectory and revolution to the most refined and complex technologies, such as 5G and […]

Four ways China is growing its media influence in Southeast Asia

Four ways China is growing its media influence in Southeast Asia

As President Biden welcomes leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations to a special summit this week in Washington, D.C., his administration is affirming Beijing as the U.S.’s main rival and underscoring the region’s importance in U.S.-China competition. The two-day event is part of the U.S effort to woo ASEAN members caught in a […]

Confronting Russia will deter China, says Japanese defense minister

Confronting Russia will deter China, says Japanese defense minister

A strong international response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine is critical to deterring China from embarking on territorial conquests in Taiwan or the South China Sea, said Japanese Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi. “China has been carefully observing the current situation of Russia’s aggression against Ukraine and they are paying particularly close attention to what […]

How Russia-Ukraine copied Finland war without lessons

How Russia-Ukraine copied Finland war without lessons

Finland is a unique country with a distinct language and culture. However, its possession was always contested between Sweden and Russia. Though Finland mainly remained under Swedish control in 1809, it was annexed by Russia. Using the end of World War I and the Bolshevik Revolution in late 1917, Finland declared its independence from the […]

China plans system to take out asteroids hurtling toward earth

China plans system to take out asteroids hurtling toward earth

China plans to develop a system for monitoring asteroids that pose a threat to earth, highlighting the nation’s growing ambitions for its space program. The country will also explore ways for taking out asteroids that endanger the planet, Wu Yanhua, deputy director of the China National Space Administration, said in a TV interview, according to […]

Russia-Japan tensions flare anew over the Kurils

Russia-Japan tensions flare anew over the Kurils

Formally, Russia is not at war with Ukraine, where it claims to be conducting a so-called “special military operation.” But with Japan, given that Moscow and Tokyo never signed a peace treaty officially ending World War II, the two Asian neighbors remain technically at war. And after Japan recently described four Kuril islands whose ownership […]

Solomon Islands has Washington in state of alarm after a security pact with China

Solomon Islands has Washington in state of alarm after a security pact with  China

A tiny island chain in the South Pacific has Western governments scrambling after it agreed to a security pact with China that the United States and its allies fear could enhance Beijing’s military power in this strategically important region.  The deal between China and the Solomon Islands, a nation of 700,000 people that had deadly […]

China says its ‘future helicopters’ will be equipped with ground-breaking technologies

China says its ‘future helicopters’ will be equipped with ground-breaking technologies

Militaries all around the world are looking at integrating modern technology into their military weapons. China, as usual, appears to be making serious efforts to prepare for the future battleground, this time, with plans to include artificial intelligence and high-speed features in its future choppers. During a recent public lecture, a prominent Chinese military helicopter […]

%d bloggers like this: