The intended Australia and China decoupling

Delhi Jul 09, 2020, 12.50 PM(IST) Jul 09, 2020, 12.59 PM(IST) Written By: Dr Manan Dwivedi

File photo: A Chinese flag flutters at the Tiananmen Square in Beijing, China October 25, 2019.  Photograph:( Reuters )

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Hegemony and area dominance is the true policy of the People's Republic of China. 

The People’s Republic of China has been the initiator of hegemony and domination in the present-day comity of nations and the larger system of world politics. The Chinese are opposed and allergic to any theme or political-economic system premised upon democracy, right to protest and is pitted against any respect for Human Rights as is evident with the treatment meted out to minorities in the context of Taiwan, Mongolia, Xinjiang and the most popular case of Tibetan homeland in the Himalayan heights demarcating India and China. Hegemony and area dominance is the true policy of the People's Republic of China. 

In the context of the Asiatic space, Chinese relations are based upon naval area domination and when one specifically takes up deliberations with Australia. Then it is completely premised upon economic ties and regional priorities. Australia has been under the racial scanner since the advent of racial attacks against people of Chinese origins and the Australian decision to ban the Huwawi communication giant belonging to China. In the context of the Coronavirus, the handling of the virus outbreak has been questioned by Canberra and the larger issue of conflict between both the trade partners has been over the demand of an institutional enquiry of China and its strategic intentions. China attempted to cleverly get the better of Australia as the nation down under had earlier too been targetted by the International media and the western public opinion in relation to slight race violence with immigrants in Australia. 

The American stress on the Quadrilateral grouping comprising of United States, Australia, India and Japan has been well-received now with a well defined objective to stem the tide of Chinese area domination and its arm twisting in the controversial South China Sea region. Michael Pompeo, the current Secretary of State in the United States of America too has given a clarion call to establish a new economic flock comprising of Australia, India, Japan, United States and South Korea in order to contain the so-called peaceful rise of the People’s Republic of China. 

The conceptual framework of much deliberated upon the question of sovereignty has become a central element to the China Australia debate. In the age of the China virus pandemic, aspersions are being cast globally upon the political and diplomatic intentions and the foreign policy objectives of the People’s Republic of China. One such element is the artifice of nationalism and protectionism and tariff slapping on foreign goods and services. Australians are too turning inward-looking and embarking upon a kind of singularity and isolationism based upon the coronavirus pandemic in the light of the uncontrolled global outbreak across the length and breadth of the larger region and further on in the larger international system. Still, Australia realizes that China has the economic muscle and the required regional network to tighten the screws over Australia in the light of trade war with Australia along with the passage of the Australian legislation to contain Chinese and other external interventions in the domestic geo-economics and geopolitics of Canberra. 

Australia ran a trade deficit of around $58 billion with China and it was this trade deficit which was a cause of discomfort for the country which became a reason why Australia and China parted ways. The decoupling of the Chinese from the Australians has been called as a Zombie economic idea by some observers of geo-economics which goes a long way into reflecting the excessive vulnerability and dependence which Canberra has on the Chinese economic and trade machinery. But, all is not reflected by negatives between both the nations as China too relies on the exports of iron ore to produce its steel and apart from that in the spheres of agriculture and tourism, an amalgamation has already been historically reached between the Canberra and the Beijing denomination. As China is closer to Australia than Brazil and the shipping costs are much higher with Brazil, thus making a preference for Australian iron and ore much easier for China. Its sheer business common sense that, both the nations, will resent the decoupling with each other.  

Apart from the sheer demands of trade and commerce, both nations share geographic proximity to each other. Education is another sphere of common interest which involves the outgoing students from China are more to be seen in the higher education portals of Australia rather than be found in US and UK as since the rise of the ugly pandemic, US and UK are no longer the ideal destinations for parents seeking a safe educational haven for their kith and kin. Thus, Australia because of its no pandemic complications and proximity remains a preferred destination for Chinese students despite the racist incidents which have marred the relations somewhat. China has always been a clever and vile operator in the Asia Pacific which involves the idea that China will do anything for expediency and practical gains over ideals.

This is well reflected in the Chinese foreign trade overtures in nations as far as Latin America and Africa where they enter a nation and make it completely dependent on China and harm the sovereignty prospects of the specific nation. Australia could finally broaden its network of associations with countries such as Taiwan and other South East Asian nations and it does have free trade agreements with nations such as Malaysia, Thailand and Singapore. Also, Australia can involve itself with the South East Asian Nations in relation to eco-tourism which is one of the sizeable tariff earners for the Canberra government. 

 (Disclaimer: The opinions expressed above are the personal views of the author and do not reflect the views of ZMCL) 
 

                   
 

Dr Manan Dwivedi

Dr Manan Dwivedi is Faculty, International Relations and International Organizations, IIPA 

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