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 )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google 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 14,942 other followers

An archive of all my old posts

Follow me on Twitter

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

China’s trade practices come under fire

China’s trade practices come under fire

China’s trade policies have come under strong criticism during a review at the World Trade Organization (WTO). The US accused China of “skewing the playing field” by using “unfair trade practices” such as preferential treatment for state businesses. Meanwhile Australia said the country’s behaviour was “inconsistent” with its WTO commitments. China said it was committed […]

China’s economy weakens, then gets even worse and now there’s a global shipping crisis. What’s next?

China’s economy weakens, then gets even worse and now there’s a global shipping crisis. What’s next?

The world is waking up to the fact that maybe being dependent upon China for its goods is not such a good idea. In 2019 at about the same time the US was closing on the trade deals with China, COVID emerged in China. In 2019 China’s economy was also beginning to slow down. COVID […]

U.S. needs nuclear spacecraft to compete with China, NASA official tells Congress

U.S. needs nuclear spacecraft to compete with China, NASA official tells Congress

A NASA official told Congress on Wednesday that the United States needs more nuclear spacecrafts in order to compete with China. “Strategic competitors including China are aggressively investing in a wide range of space technologies, including nuclear power and propulsion,” Bhavya Lal, NASA’s senior advisor for budget and finance, told the House Science, Space, and […]

China shows off drones recycled from Soviet-era fighter jets

China shows off drones recycled from Soviet-era fighter jets

China has for the first time showed off retired 1950s era fighter jets that have been converted to unmanned drones, with satellite photos of two of its east coast bases near Taiwan showing a large number of the jets on site. The People’s Liberation Army’s Eastern Theater Command published the photos of two Shenyang J-6s […]

China’s propaganda machine is intensifying its ‘people’s war’ to catch American spies

China’s propaganda machine is intensifying its ‘people’s war’ to catch American spies

“Let’s fight a ‘people’s war’ against the spies, so that they cannot move a single step and have no place to hide!” That was the rallying cry of a Chinese military newspaper on social media over the weekend, as Beijing urges public vigilance against American espionage following the launch of a CIA mission center dedicated […]

China’s blackouts break power cutoff pledge

China’s blackouts break power cutoff pledge

As China struggles to control the latest surge of power shortages, the government seems to be hoping that the public will have short memories for how it has dealt with similar problems in the past. After months of downplaying the power crisis and recommending partial fixes, central government authorities belatedly acknowledged the spread of electricity […]

Cadence Column: Asia, October 18, 2021

Cadence Column: Asia, October 18, 2021

According to Chinese and US claims, China has a high-orbit, hypersonic missile that can hit a target within 24 miles. And, that’s why China is the new boss of the world and everyone else should hate America. The end. But, that’s not the end in the mind of Taiwan or the US Pentagon. This week, […]

China ‘making its nuclear submarines harder to detect’

China ‘making its nuclear submarines harder to detect’

China is upgrading its nuclear missile-equipped submarines to make them harder for rival powers such as the US to detect, reports suggest. The People’s Liberation Army Navy has redesigned its type 094 submarines to make them quieter, The South China Morning Post reports. Defence experts believe the Chinese 094 submarine can carry and launch the […]

Could China’s economy collapse?

Could China’s economy collapse?

For almost half a century, Chinese officials have overseen one of the greatest economic transformations in human history. The country has gone from collectivized farms and famine to world-leading tech companies and gleaming megacities connected by superfast trains. More than 800 million Chinese have been pulled out of poverty as the Communist Party and its leader […]

China’s economic crisis is much bigger than expected – its property market, the largest in the world, is collapsing

China’s economic crisis is much bigger than expected – its property market, the largest in the world, is collapsing

The situation in China is much worse than originally thought.  The largest property market in the world is set to collapse and the ramifications will impact the entire world.  We’ve been discussing China’s economic issues for years.  Recently this was even discussed with Steve Bannon on The War Room. We now have information that the […]

%d bloggers like this: