Costing Australia for its tough line on China

CANBERRA, Australia – When Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced a new “perpetual partnership” strengthening military ties with the United States, it was an important step towards his country’s perfect pressure on a more categorical China. is the step.

This month’s decision to acquire US nuclear submarines shows that although Beijing has banned sanctions and high-level talks from Australia, Australian officials are determined to maintain a sharp shift in policy and tone towards China. Despite their pedigree, their deepest cold relationship in decades.

“Australia is acting in our national interest to ensure our national security in our region,” Morrison told reporters last week during a visit to the United States. “Our job is to protect the Australian people.”

However, behind his determination on the international stage, there is fear at home. Four years after the confrontation with China, Australia is struggling with the economic and political consequences – including the erosion of democratic tolerance – and is wondering what to expect.

New laws to counter Chinese government influence have challenged Australia’s growing ethnic Chinese population, and many are afraid to discuss the matter with their own relatives. also v. A seemingly lucrative external dialogue – not just with China – with the aim of warding off covert interference is overshadowed by bureaucracy and inadequate information gathering.

Farmers and winery owners are wondering when, if anything, they will be able to sell to Chinese customers again. Investments proposed by Chinese companies in industries such as dairy farming are often blocked by the Australian government without explanation. Even promising scientific collaborations on climate change are suddenly cut short.

Allies praised Australia for allowing smaller world powers to redefine its relationship with China, and US officials praised the United States, Japan and India during Morrison’s visit to Washington last week. Praised for meeting the leaders of the so-called quad. But Australia has also warned increasingly critical critics of the dangers of losing tactical focus amid Chinese opposition.

“Learning from Australia has become an axiom,” said Andrew Chub, an Australian researcher at Lancaster University in the UK who wrote a study on Australia’s response to Chinese government activities.

“But there are a number of caveats that other countries should learn from the Australian experience,” he said, “especially the unnecessary warnings that have undermined national security legislation.”

Under Xi Jinping, China has become tougher and more punitive, and intends to never give up when challenged, and even most critics of Australia’s tough policies blame Beijing for deteriorating relations. Water fountain

The Chinese government’s militant rhetoric, including a list of 14 complaints filed with journalists late last year, marks a sharp decline in Australian public opinion about Beijing.

“If their intention is to change our public political stance, they will guarantee that they won’t,” said James Patterson, an Australian senator from the centre-right Liberal Party.

“We have to show our resilience. “It will be good not only for Australia, but also for other countries that take a closer look.”

So far, Australia has faced a major economic setback as China has yet to find a viable alternative to Australian iron ore – worth $53 billion in the first half of the year – and Australia is selling some goods. Finding new markets for

However, several former Australian officials say the loss of market share in China will only hurt more as time goes on, and the government’s commitment to its reputation as a happy candidate against Beijing’s harassment has prevented a healthy debate on the issue. Given how a middle power like Australia has to manage relations. .

A reluctance to publicly explain how Australia might deal with years of possible mutilation by China, its biggest trading partner, increases uncertainty, as does Defense Secretary Peter Dutton about the rising risk of war. Bad comments made. Australia’s new partnership with the United States and the United Kingdom, known as AUKUS, is also likely to focus on homeland security.

“All these reports will add to the distrust of China and the so-called ‘enemy among us’,” said James Curran, a former civil servant and professor of history at the university. Sydney, who is writing a study on Australia’s relations with China. “We are now seeing the government move the country to a very clear and unambiguous level of security for the 21st. This is a moment that allays Xi Jinping’s worries. ”

Less than a decade ago, Australia and China embraced each other warmly. Xi appears to have personally invested in the relationship, caring for marsupials, and signing free trade agreements.

However, in 2017, then-Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull had accepted a very dismal assessment of China’s direction and announced that his country would “resist” Chinese intervention.

Last year, Turnbull said in an interview that Australia had viewed its government as imperial and that he should protest against Beijing’s “harassment”. Like other Western powers and Asian allies, Australia is increasingly concerned about China’s territorial claims and power, including in the South China Sea.

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