Australian ambassador to the US calls on Western countries to ‘push back’ against China’s ‘aggressive’ power plays and trade wars – as largest British naval armada in a generation sets sail in show of force
- US Ambassador said Australia and its allies will continue to push back on China
- Beijing has looked to punish Australia for speaking out against the regime
- Arthur Sinodinos said situation is a function of China’s growing ‘aggression’
- British military are preparing to send a huge armada to the South China Sea
Western allies need to ‘push back’ against a more aggressive China despite the threat of further economic pain, Australia’s man in Washington warns.
Ambassador to the US Arthur Sinodinos told the Hudson Institute in an online forum that Beijing is ‘lashing out’ at countries that are in any way critical of the increasingly authoritarian regime under Present Xi Jinping.
But in a massive show of force, the British Royal Navy is preparing to send the largest naval fleet ‘in a generation’ to the South China Sea, in a move sure to infuriate the Communist Party.
the British military are preparing to send the largest naval fleet ‘in a generation’ to the South China Sea, in a move set to infuriate the Communist Party. Pictured: the HMS Queen Elizabeth
Australia and its allies will continue to ‘push back’ against a more aggressive China under Xi Jinping (pictured left), Ambassador to the US Arthur Sinodinos (right) said.
Over the past year China has slapped over $20 billion worth of arbitrary trade bans and tariffs on Australian exports as punishment for calling for an independent inquiry into the origins of the Covid pandemic – which first appeared in Wuhan in 2019.
The Communist Party is also furious at Australia for speaking out on China’s human rights abuses in Hong Kong and Xinjiang, banning Huawei from the National Broadband Network and scrapping Beijing’s Belt and Road infrastructure deal with the Victorian government on the grounds of national security concerns.
‘We’ve had a few bumps in the relationship in recent times and I think that’s a function of Beijing being more assertive and aggressive in projecting its power in the region and countries like Australia pushing back,’ Mr Sinodinos said.
‘The relationship has reached a certain equilibrium and it’s bumping along the bottom.’
Australia enjoyed a cozy relationship with China in years gone by, focusing on trade and economic cooperation while simultaneously strengthening its security and defence partnership with the US.
Shocking disparities between Australia and China’s military power shows we would struggle in a war, amid fears that tensions both nations are nearing tipping point
Pictured: A US-made F-16 jet fighter lands on a runway in Taiwan
Pictured: Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) soldiers assembling during military training at Pamir Mountains in Kashgar, northwestern China’s Xinjiang region
‘As China has become more powerful and assertive under Xi Jinping the ground rules have changed and it’s not so easy to compartmentalise things, particularly when it overlaps with our national security,’ Mr Sinodinos said.
‘So it wasn’t so much a conscious policy decision that we are going to reset our relationship with China, it was the accumulation of a series of decisions where we were elevating what was in our national interests and that antagonised China.’
Australia’s man in Washington said it was unlikely there would be a ‘reset’ in the relationship any time soon.
‘It’s now China’s attitude that if countries act this way they need to be put in their place,’ he said.
‘But allies and partners including the US by working together should push back in areas of overreach and convince China they are better off cooperating with the international system because we want them to be strong and prosperous, that’s in everyone’s interests.’
This is the route the British armada will take from next month, reaching Japan this summer after travelling via a number of hotspots that will upset Russia and China
During the voyage, the Navy will avoid the Taiwan Strait as ‘Big Lizzie’ sails towards Japan in the final leg of the trip to avoid provoking China
AUSTRALIA VS CHINA MILITARY FORCE
Place on global Military Strength Ranking 2021:
China – 3rd globally
Australia – 19th globally
China – 3.3 million people
Australia – 80,000 people
China – 1,200
Australia – 75
China – 3,205
Australia – 59
China – 2,250
Australia – 0
China – 79
Australia – 6
Fit for service population:
China – 617 million people
Australia – 8.7 million people
China – $233billion
Australia – $42billion
China – 775 million people
Australia – 12.5 million people
China – 1.4 billion
Australia – 25 million
His comments come after a tumultuous month in Canberra where the likes of Defence Minister Peter Dutton, Former Defence Minister Christopher Pyne and Home Affairs secretary Michael Pezzullo, all suggested the ‘drums of war’ in the region are getting louder.
There are grave fears Beijing will use its ever-growing military might to ‘reunify’ Taiwan with mainland China.
China-watchers say annexing the island backed by the US and Japan is a strategic goal of President-for-life Xi.
In recent weeks, China repeatedly incurred on Taipei’s airspace and maritime borders, sending 25 military aircraft into its defence ‘identification zone’.
Pressure is now mounting on Australia and fellow ‘Quad’ members – Japan, India and the US – to keep Beijing’s forces at bay as tensions escalate.
Beijing has become increasingly aggressive in disputed territories, stamping out pro-democracy groups in Hong Kong and cracking down on Muslim minorities in Xinjiang under its ‘One China’ policy.
The authoritarian state also continues to encroach on Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Vietnam, and Brunei in the South China Sea and even had a deadly border skirmish with India last year.
With tensions simmering between China and democratic nations, the UK will send the largest ‘signal of maritime and air power’ in a generation to the region.
Aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth will depart for its first operational deployment in a move set to infuriate Russia and China.
The $5 billion warship, with eight RAF F35B stealth fighter jets on board, will set off for Asia on May 24 accompanied by six Royal Navy ships including HMS Defender and HMS Diamond, a submarine, 14 naval helicopters and a company of Royal Marines.
The Carrier Strike Group will visit India, Singapore and then to Japan via the South China Sea.
HMS Defender, based at the Portsmouth Naval Base, will also sail with ‘Big Lizzie’ on its world tour
Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen (pictured) has remained staunch in the face of Chinese aggression – with many nations now at loggerheads with the communist superpower
How China’s feud with Australia has escalated
2019: Australian intelligence services conclude that China was responsible for a cyber-attack on Australia’s parliament and three largest political parties in the run-up to a May election.
April 2020: Australian PM Scott Morrison begins canvassing his fellow world leaders for an inquiry into the origins of the coronavirus pandemic. Britain and France are initially reluctant but more than 100 countries eventually back an investigation.
April 15: Morrison is one of the few leaders to voice sympathy with Donald Trump’s criticisms of the World Health Organization, which the US president accuses of bias towards China.
April 21: China’s embassy accuses Australian foreign minister Peter Dutton of ‘ignorance and bigotry’ and ‘parroting what those Americans have asserted’ after he called for China to be more transparent about the outbreak.
April 23: Australia’s agriculture minister David Littleproud calls for G20 nations to campaign against the ‘wet markets’ which are common in China and linked to the earliest coronavirus cases.
April 26: Chinese ambassador Cheng Jingye hints at a boycott of Australian wine and beef and says tourists and students might avoid Australia ‘while it’s not so friendly to China’. Canberra dismisses the threat and warns Beijing against ‘economic coercion’.
May 11: China suspends beef imports from four of Australia’s largest meat processors. These account for more than a third of Australia’s $1.1billion beef exports to China.
May 18: The World Health Organization backs a partial investigation into the pandemic, but China says it is a ‘joke’ for Australia to claim credit. The same day, China imposes an 80 per cent tariff on Australian barley. Australia says it may challenge this at the WTO.
May 21: China announces new rules for iron ore imports which could allow Australian imports – usually worth $41billion per year – to be singled out for extra bureaucratic checks.
June 5: Beijing warns tourists against travelling to Australia, alleging racism and violence against the Chinese in connection with Covid-19.
June 9: China’s Ministry of Education warns students to think carefully about studying in Australia, similarly citing alleged racist incidents.
June 19: Australia says it is under cyber-attack from a foreign state which government sources say is believed to be China. The attack has been targeting industry, schools, hospitals and government officials, Morrison says.
July 9: Australia suspends extradition treaty with Hong Kong and offers to extend the visas of 10,000 Hong Kongers who are already in Australia over China’s national security law which effectively bans protest.
August 18: China launches 12-month anti-dumping investigation into wines imported from Australia in a major threat to the $6billion industry.
August 26: Prime Minster Scott Morrison announces he will legislate to stop states and territories signing deals with foreign powers that go against Australia’s foreign policy. Analysts said it is aimed at China.
October 13: Trade Minister Simon Birmingham says he’s investigating reports that Chinese customs officials have informally told state-owned steelmakers and power plants to stop Aussie coal, leaving it in ships off-shore.
November 2: Agriculture Minister David Littleproud reveals China is holding up Aussie lobster imports by checking them for minerals.
November 3: Barley, sugar, red wine, logs, coal, lobster and copper imports from Australia unofficially banned under a directive from the government, according to reports.
November 18: China releases bizarre dossier of 14 grievances with Australia.
November 27: Australian coal exports to China have dropped 96 per cent in the first three weeks of November as 82 ships laden with 8.8million tonnes of coal are left floating off Chinese ports where they have been denied entry.
November 28: Beijing imposed a 212 per cent tariff on Australia’s $1.2 billion wine exports, claiming they were being ‘dumped’ or sold at below-cost. The claim is denied by both Australia and Chinese importers.
November 30: Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lijian Zhao posted a doctored image showing a grinning Australian soldier holding a knife to the throat of an Afghan child. The move outraged Australians.
December 12: Australian coal is added to a Chinese blacklist.
January 11, 2021: Australia blocks $300million construction deal that would have seen state-owned China State Construction Engineering Corporation takeover Probuild. The bid was blacked over national security concerns.
February 5, 2021: China confirms Melbourne journalist and single mother Cheng Lei has been formally arrested after being detained in August, 2020.
February 23, 2021: China accuses Australia of being in an ‘axis of white supremacy’ with the UK, USA, Canada and NZ in an editorial.
March 11, 2021: Australia is accused of genocide by a Communist Party newspaper editor.
March 15, 2021: Trade Minister Dan Tehan announced he wants the World Trade Organisation to help mediate discussions between the two countries over the trade dispute.
April 21, 2021: Foreign Minister Marise Payne announces Australia has scrapped Victoria’s controversial Belt and Road deal with China using new veto powers