The “War” between China and Australia…


Excerpts from:

The coronavirus pandemic is changing how the world sees China and has sparked “outrageous behaviour” towards Australia, say experts.

Charis Chang@CharisChang2

The behaviour of China’s diplomat in Australia this past week has been described as “outrageous” as experts contemplate whether it’s time to rethink the relationship between the two countries.

Lowy Institute executive director Michael Fullilove told Q&A on Monday night that the behaviour of Chinese diplomats in the past week had “focused a lot of minds in Australia and around the world about the kind of country we are dealing with”.

China lashed out at Prime Minister Scott Morrison last week, warning Australia’s call for an independent inquiry into the origins of the coronavirus would spark a travel and trade boycott.

“Maybe the ordinary people will say ‘Why should we drink Australian wine? Eat Australian beef?’,” Chinese Ambassador to Australia Cheng Jingye told the Australian Financial Review.

Mr Fullilove said Australia needed to keep “two things in our head at once” when considering its relationship with China.

“China is our most important economic partner, a country with which we have deep economic interests and we’re going to need those economic relationships even more as we come out of the coronavirus pandemic,” he said.

“But it’s also a super power, a country of 1.4 billion people — very different from Australia — run by a Leninist political system.”

He said Chinese diplomats were engaging more in “wolf warrior” diplomacy and pushing back hard against countries where they are based to impress Beijing and President Xi Jinping.

“I think we are seeing, the last week has seen outrageous behaviour I would say from China’s diplomatic representatives in Australia,” Mr Fullilove said.

“What if Australia’s ambassador and consul general behaved in China the way Chinese diplomats behaved in Australia? I think they’d be given short thrift.

“We have seen this kind of behaviour over the last three or four years. Wolf warrior diplomacy. Many countries are feeling this.”

Liberal MP for Wentworth, Dave Sharma, who was the former ambassador to Israel, said he thought the comments were “quite unconventional”.

“I think partly they’re speaking to a domestic audience in China, in Beijing. And only partly are they speaking to us,” he said.

But he agreed that the Chinese style of defining and putting forward its interests had changed pretty dramatically over the last several years.

“I think there is still a tendency in Australia to think if something is going wrong with the relationship it must be our fault,” he said.

“Well, I think the event of the last week have shown people that, no, it’s not necessarily Australia’s fault.

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