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By standing up to China, Australia may end up standing alone

beijingwalker

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By standing up to China, Australia may end up standing alone

BY JAMES LAURENCESON

October 14, 2021 8:30 AM GMT+8

Earlier this month, with great fanfare, Washington, London, and Canberra announced the AUKUS pact: a security arrangement meant to confront China. The deal was hailed as a “historic opportunity” by Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison “to protect shared values and promote security and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region.”

As the U.S.-China strategic rivalry intensifies, no other capital in the Asia-Pacific region has exceeded Canberra’s gumption in backing Washington, as well as trying to rally others to the cause. Security arrangements like the AUKUS deal might imply that these efforts are paying off, as America strongly supports Canberra’s efforts as relations with China worsen.

But the realm of trade tells a more complicated story. Canberra’s handling of superpower relations has provided a cost-free lesson for those elsewhere. Australia is the starkest example of a dilemma all countries in the region face: relying on China for economic growth, yet on the United States for security. Canberra’s choices reveal the mistakes behind a mindset that regards suffering economic repercussions for “standing up to China” as a badge of honor—and how a country that takes such an approach would likely stand alone, pundit plaudits aside.

Australia’s tilt against China began in the second half of 2016. But for the most part, Beijing limited its displeasure to the diplomatic realm. The last time a leader’s visit took place was in March 2017, and ministerial-level visits were few and far between.

This changed in April 2020 when Australian political leaders conveyed a distinct impression of coordinating with the Trump administration to attack China over the COVID-19 pandemic.

Beijing unleashed a campaign of trade disruption that now affects around a dozen Australian exports—everything from coal to wine.

Despite local boosters of Canberra’s “crazy-brave” approach emphasizing that officials in Tokyo and New Delhi have issued joint statements with Canberra “opposing coercive economic practices,” neither Tokyo nor New Delhi were prepared to even confront China by name.

Indonesia, the indisputable center of economic and strategic gravity in Southeast Asia, declined altogether to sign up to any reference to economic coercion.

The fact is that plenty of capitals have serious concerns about China’s behavior under President Xi Jinping and have far more serious direct disputes with Beijing than does Canberra. But few appear convinced that the Australian government’s approach is preferable to a strategy of cautious hedging.

And why would they be?

Australia is now an outlier in having no senior political dialogue with China and in the breadth of trade disruption it is experiencing.

In June, Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong delivered pointed remarks while standing alongside Prime Minister Morrison at a joint press conference: “There will be rough spots [with China]…and you have to deal with that…But deal with them as issues in a partnership which you want to keep going and not issues which add up to an adversary which you are trying to suppress.”

The region also hasn’t missed that while U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, insisted in May that the United States “will not leave Australia alone on the field,” Washington has yet to show any interest in bearing a cost to make good on that promise.

In March, the acting U.S. ambassador in Canberra, Mike Goldman, cheered Australia on: “I’d just say keep on doing what you’re doing but with confidence that the United States and other like-minded democracies see an interest in having Australia succeed.” Yet when presented with the latest trade data showing American companies were exporting more commodities to China, filling the gap left by barred Australian imports, the U.S. embassy declined to comment.


Six months after White House coordinator for the Indo-Pacific Kurt Campbell insisted that the U.S. was “not prepared to improve relations” with China so long as Australia was being hit with trade attacks, U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo is now talking up increased trade with China: “It’s just an economic fact. I actually think robust commercial engagement will help to mitigate any potential tensions.”

After an eight-month review of the U.S.-China trade relationship, this week the U.S. Trade Representative, Katherine Tai, announced that the Biden administration was striving for a “recoupling” rather than decoupling. She said her intention was to advance this agenda and tackle ongoing U.S. concerns through direct dialogue and negotiations with the Chinese side.

Meanwhile, Australia’s trade minister, Dan Tehan, has not been able to secure even a phone call with his counterpart in Beijing since he took on the portfolio in December last year.

Ambassador Tai also emphasized that enforcement of the Phase One deal the Trump administration struck with Beijing in January 2020 was a priority. This deal contained numerous Chinese commitments to purchase American goods, putting producers in Australia at an unfair disadvantage.

To be clear: None of this excuses or deflects attention away from Beijing’s bad behavior toward Australia. And, for its part, Washington’s support for American producers and households is exactly what one should expect.

As Michèle Flournoy, a former senior Clinton and Obama administration official, stated last month: “I’m not sure that the White House can control Napa Valley exports of wines to China.”

This complicated balance is well understood in Australia’s region. The one exception, perhaps, is Canberra.

 

Apollon

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Capitalism at work

Piss off your customers and they'll go shopping elsewhere.
The question is, what customers one wants. I would like to still be able to watch in the mirror at night.

The current regime in China is not a friend in any way and i think, that as much distance as possible should be kept to keep bad influence away.
 

S10

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The question is, what customers one wants. I would like to still be able to watch in the mirror at night.

The current regime in China is not a friend in any way and i think, that as much distance as possible should be kept to keep bad influence away.
Sure thing, but why is Australia crying about China not buying their crap then?
 

MajesticPug

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The question is, what customers one wants. I would like to still be able to watch in the mirror at night.

The current regime in China is not a friend in any way and i think, that as much distance as possible should be kept to keep bad influence away.
Just your brainwashed or brainshit thoughts. China does not export ideology and does not interfere in another country's internal affairs. Ask any fool-hardy Aussie if they think China is interested in invading Australia and manage Australia on behalf of Canberra, they'll probably look at you like you're the fool and maybe give you a finger if not a beating. So where's the threat? You're just dancing to Uncle Sam's shaft on your behind.
 

Wood

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It is unfair to say that Australia will stand alone in confronting China. US started a literal trade war during Trump administration and Biden has not exactly reversed the American stand either. Both India and Japan will do what they can to remove dependence on China. India even has an ongoing military confrontation with China.

The unique problem I see for Australia is that there is no viable consumer in sight to replace China's voracious resource appetite. Australian economy depends on China the same way that Canadian economy depends on USA. India, Japan and US cannot help Australia with this problem :undecided:
 

Apollon

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Sure thing, but why is Australia crying about China not buying their crap then?
I dont see Australia crying. It follows its way to keep a distance to the chinese regime.
Just your brainwashed or brainshit thoughts. China does not export ideology and does not interfere in another country's internal affairs. Ask any fool-hardy Aussie if they think China is interested in invading Australia and manage Australia on behalf of Canberra, they'll probably look at you like you're the fool and maybe give you a finger if not a beating. So where's the threat? You're just dancing to Uncle Sam's shaft on your behind.

Australia had several negative things going on with China. China tried to buy australian islands and wanted push the people living there away. China tried to dictate politics.

Have you ever been to Australia? I was 6 weeks in 2019 and heared alot of people talk about too much chinese involvement.
 

somsak

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It is unfair to say that Australia will stand alone in confronting China. US started a literal trade war during Trump administration and Biden has not exactly reversed the American stand either. Both India and Japan will do what they can to remove dependence on China. India even has an ongoing military confrontation with China.

The unique problem I see for Australia is that there is no viable consumer in sight to replace China's voracious resource appetite. Australian economy depends on China the same way that Canadian economy depends on USA. India, Japan and US cannot help Australia with this problem :undecided:
Anti-China team look formidable until you mention India. Do you have an experience during the childhood where it's better not to have him join the team?
 

Wood

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Anti-China team look formidable until you mention India. Do you have an experience during the childhood where it's better not to have him join the team?
Only so when there is a restriction on the number of players who can play in the team :azn:
 

S10

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I dont see Australia crying. It follows its way to keep a distance to the chinese regime.
Oh really? What was all that bitching about going to WTO and China bullying them when China ceased buying their wine and coal?

Sounds like a bitch cry.
 

Apollon

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Oh really? What was all that bitching about going to WTO and China bullying them when China ceased buying their wine and coal?

Sounds like a bitch cry.

Its not crying, Its politics plain and simple. In the end it smears Chinas image even more in the west. In Europe we are the cross roads. Nobody trusts the chinese regime here in any way. Its a trading partner but political enemy as french president Macron said. More and more countries here ban chinese corporations to be implemented in building up 5g network. The investment contract with china was cancelled by EU parliament, chinese investors are pushed out of europe because they are connected to the regime in China.

Australias diplomacy is fitting 100% into this. Also now the theory that Corona escaped the Wuhan lab is investigated more and more and seems as most plausible cause for this global desaster.

Nobody trusts the chinese regime. And that fallout grows all over the globe.
 

ZeEa5KPul

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Its not crying, Its politics plain and simple. In the end it smears Chinas image even more in the west.
You don't understand the first thing about politics. You think politics is a popularity contest, that it's about being liked. It isn't. It's about power and China has plenty of it. Hate all you want, it doesn't diminish China's power one iota.
Its a trading partner but political enemy as french president Macron said.
If you knew what you were talking about, you'd see that the first part of your sentence is the only one that mattered. The more you hate China, the more it makes you look weak and powerless. Why would you hand your money over to a political enemy if you had any choice about the matter?

You wouldn't. But you hand over your money because you have no choice.
More and more countries here ban chinese corporations to be implemented in building up 5g network.
Hungary is happily working with Huawei on 5G and more will join it. Greece can opt not to use Huawei, but then your telecommunications will consist of
 

Apollon

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You don't understand the first thing about politics. You think politics is a popularity contest, that it's about being liked. It isn't. It's about power and China has plenty of it. Hate all you want, it doesn't diminish China's power one iota.

If you knew what you were talking about, you'd see that the first part of your sentence is the only one that mattered. The more you hate China, the more it makes you look weak and powerless. Why would you hand your money over to a political enemy if you had any choice about the matter?

You wouldn't. But you hand over your money because you have no choice.

Hungary is happily working with Huawei on 5G and more will join it. Greece can opt not to use Huawei, but then your telecommunications will consist of

China is in the same position that imperial Germany was in 1914. The 2nd largest economic power in the world.

And it will end the same way as well.

All signs we see lead to war. Its same in history again and again. The pattern is always the same. Greece and Persia. Rome and Carthago, UK against Spain. Germany against UK...

China also is in the same place that Germany fullfilled in 1914.

Its most likely that Huawei will be completly cut out of European 5G networks, since more and more nations simply ban it.

In the next 5 to 10 years there will be a great war anyways, since history always repeats. If Europe is smart, it stays out as long as nots clear who wins and as soon its clear, join and smash the enemy and take whats of value. Until that happenes its good to keep China in distance and make sure it doesnt try to influence any politics here.
 

beijingwalker

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Greece will be eventually sold to China piece by piece

Greek Parliament Hands Extra Stake in Port of Piraeus to China Cosco
PUBLISHED SEP 30, 2021 10:36 PM BY THE MARITIME EXECUTIVE
Greece's parliament has approved a new contract that allows Chinese state-owned shipping giant Cosco to buy an additional 16 percent stake in the Piraeus Port Authority (PPA), taking its total share of ownership to 67 percent.

 

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