Guardian (Aus Ed):
Morrison urged to confront Trump over concerns US-China trade deal is hurting Australia
Labor’s Penny Wong says PM should ‘pick up the phone’ to US president, and Mike Pompeo warns Victoria over cooperation in China’s Belt and Road project
Labor’s foreign affairs spokesperson, Penny Wong, said Australia’s focus should turn to resolving the dispute with China over its handling of coronavirus
Photograph: David Mariuz/AAP
Labor has called on Scott Morrison to pick up the phone to Donald Trump to pursue concerns the US president’s trade deal with China is hurting Australian farmers and exporters.
The push comes as Mike Pompeo, the US secretary of state, urges the Victorian state government to tread carefully before it embraces potential projects under China’s Belt and Road Initiative.
Both issues are a sign of potential pressure points in Australia’s relationship with the United States, at a time when most of the focus has been on trade and diplomatic tensions with Beijing.
Over the past couple of weeks, Beijing has imposed tariffs of around 80% on Australian barley imports, suspended beef imports from four abattoirs on technical grounds, and raised the possibility of further trade-related measures.
China railed against Australia for the Morrison government’s early and vocal calls for an independent inquiry into the origins and handling of coronavirus – a watered-down version of which won broad support at last week’s World Health Assembly, including from Beijing.
Labor’s foreign affairs spokesperson, Penny Wong, said it would have been better for the government to have followed “the usual diplomatic practice” of trying to secure support from other countries before publicly announcing the inquiry push.
But in an interview with the ABC’s Insiders program on Sunday, she said the focus should turn to resolving the dispute with China – along with ensuring that Australia’s interests were not undermined by the recent trade deal between Trump and Xi Jinping, the Chinese president.
“Scott Morrison is always very keen to tell us when he has spoken to President Trump,” Wong said.
“Well, I think it is time for him to pick up the phone and speak to him now and ensure that the US-China trade deal does not come at the expense of Australian exporters and Australian jobs.
“I do not accept that the government can simply ignore the effect of the US-China trade deal.”
In January, China pledged to buy an extra $US200bn of American farm products and other goods and services over two years as part of a “phase one” agreement between Trump and Xi.
China announced this month that it would immediately allow barley imports from the US – which came at a time when Australian barley exporters were trying to prevent the steep new tariffs being imposed.
In the interview on Sunday, Wong also warned the Coalition’s outspoken China hawks that talking tough was not the same as being tough when it came to Australia’s relationship with Beijing.
“Now, the escalation of anti-China rhetoric and potentially anti-Chinese sentiment … isn’t good for the Australian community, and I don’t think it does well for our standing in the world,” she said.
Wong said Australia should take a longer-term perspective on relations with China, while also acting to protect its national interest and hold to its values regardless of the potential reaction.
But she was concerned there was so much focus on the bilateral relationship with China that it was diverting attention from a range of other important foreign policy issuing, including how should Australia navigate the post-Covid-19 world.
Wong noted the pandemic was fracturing the global economy, unravelling the rules-based order, and hardening strategic competition between the US and China.
On the latter front, Pompeo waded into Australian domestic politics on Sunday by emphasising the potential risks of cooperation between Victoria and Beijing under Xi’s signature program, the Belt and Road Initiative.
Pompeo also issued a vague warning that some communication channels between Australia and the US may be put at risk – even though no projects have been locked in yet.
The Victorian state government has attracted domestic political scrutiny for signing an agreement with Beijing allowing for cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative, but that deal is still in its early stages with no projects agreed.
The state government has promised to “consider both Victoria’s and the national interest before agreeing to any specific activity”.
In an interview with Sky News Australia, Pompeo urged Victoria to scrutinise any proposals “incredibly closely” because Belt and Road projects could “build up the capacity of the Chinese Communist party to do harm”.
Pompeo said every nation had a sovereign right to make decisions for itself and Victoria also had “some rights” but he added that any Belt and Road projects needed to be looked at closely.
He said the US would “not take any risk to our telecommunications infrastructure, any risk to the national security elements of what we need to do with our Five Eyes partners”.
“We’re going to protect and preserve the security of those institutions, so I don’t know the nature of those projects precisely, but to the extent they have an adverse impact on our ability to protect telecommunications from our private citizens, or security networks for our defence and intelligence communities, we will simply disconnect, we will simply separate,” he told Sky’s Outsiders program.
“We’re going to preserve trust in networks for important information. We hope our friends and partners and allies across the world, especially our Five Eyes partners like Australia, will do the same.”
There is no mention of telecommunications-related projects in the framework agreement, signed last year, between the Victorian government and China’s National Development and Reform Commission.
And the federal government has already moved to ban the Chinese-owned Huawei and ZTE from Australia’s 5G network in response to security advice – a decision, made in 2018, that Beijing still cites as a source on ongoing diplomatic tension.
A Victorian government spokesperson said the state had not, and would not in the future, agree to telecommunications projects under the Belt and Road Initiative – and noted that telecommunications regulation was a federal responsibility.
The spokesperson said the Belt and Road framework agreement was “about creating opportunities for Victorian businesses and local jobs – opportunities that will be more important than ever as we rebuild from the coronavirus pandemic”.
China the bully will end up owning all the toys in the sand pit, and the sand pit itself, but no friends to play with.ReplyDelete
pity la australian hv to face bully no1 n bully no2 at the same time.ReplyDelete
but we know bully no1 bully everyone, bully no2 only bully the weak, especially own people like student n youth, damn ugly n coward.
As an ethnic Chinese , Penny Wong is vulnerable to accusations of being "compromised" with regards to partiality towards Beijing.ReplyDelete
It may or may not be fair. but politics is not meant to be pretty.
(I will reproduce here a letter by an Australian, a Mr Scheer )ReplyDelete
An Australian appeals to his government to practice common sense when interacting with China:
AUSTRALIA, STOP BARKING!
By David Scheer
If Australia enters a full scale trade-war with China, Australia will be dead in the water. Nothing we sell cannot be sourced elsewhere. There are alternatives for everything we sell.
1. China: $135 billion (33% of total Australian exports)
2. Japan: $36 billion (9%)
3. South Korea: $21 billion (5%)
4. United Kingdom: $16 billion (3.8%)
5. United States: $15 billion (3.7%)
We bark when the USA tells us to do so. Do you really think the USA, a dying empire, will pick up $120 billion of our exports, and what other country can? Our politicians should look after Australians and stop the stupid and senseless China bashing…. Australia IS an integral part of South East Asia like it or not, just look at a map.
After Australian government support for Trump in his war against China we receive our payback today. Trump puts thousands of Australian jobs at risk with F-35 jet threat to China.
This edit is to answer a comment from XXX.
XXX, you raise a good point and in a perfect world!.... but it is run by humans and like me if someone pisses me off in a shop I will just go somewhere else to buy.
Now, Huawei makes the best 5G technology in the world but we don't buy it simply because the USA tells us not to. Huawei has even supplied the source code of the technology and it was investigated in Europe and shown to have no spyware, hardware or software. It is also the least expensive 5G technology available but we still don't buy it so why expect China to buy our produce?
USA has just made a new trade deal with China. In that deal America did not think China can only eat so much beef and have other suppliers. They just said you have to buy x amount from USA meaning x amount less from Australia.
We have just deployed a warship to support USA over islands dispute that is going through the international court system - leave it to that.
Hong Kong which is so obviously a part of China leased to Britain for 99 years in return for Britain to stop supplying opium to the Chinese and drugging them but we are in there in complicit with the USA to try destabilize China again. Get your map out and look where Hong Kong is.
Covid-19 - Australia supporting USA for independent inquiry. This is already being done by WHO. Why the need for another American led inquiry which so obviously has an agenda…investigate WHO if you think they are doing a bad job.
Now the worst part - the world is going into a massive depression. Less of everything will be needed and I have no idea what markets can pick up $135 billion of produce from Australia that China used to buy.
China has never told us to jump off a cliff, they are simply telling us to stop barking or they will shut the door on us for some peace and quiet.
Australia should declare itself neutral rather than be a bark dog of the USA only with everything to lose.
Someone here said China is left with "no friends to play with"ReplyDelete
Maybe that's just a play of words but 'friendship' is rather an odd terms to use for nations, although much used. Until recently, US and Russia are the two countries that other nations choose between - in terms of alliance and sucking up to.
There are 'no permanent friends, no permanent enemies, just permanent interest'. Only benefits and trade offs. There are no altruistic countries. There may be some efforts at diplomacy and 'returning of favors done' sort of, but not at the expense to totally sacrifice self-interest. So what we get in the end among nations are a cycle of 'cooperation' and ' competition', although this does not apply to superpower US with its American exceptionalism, whereby if it cannot compete fairly, it will bring out its bully whip.
China's interest of becoming economic power is creating envy to the world. How dare they ! Barely out of their rags 40 years ago and communist to boot. The pandemic really bring out the knives, especially with the Orange Buffoon and his gang of goons. Their news media with headline screaming the Sick Man of Asia; and when China quarantined Wuhan, a population of 11 million, Western media called it ' a lockdown', 'draconian' and ' totalitarian'. When Italy quarantined 16 million people, these same Western media called it 'isolation', 'unprecedented', 'courageous' and 'brave' and 'flexible'. Sheer typical Western hypocrisy !
In political Machiavellian plays!
So much detached from the REAL world. Seeing what that small sparkle of light looming over the well top showing them about their worldview!
U guys r not born to understand how a real human world work her ways due to all the smartaleckies proving their cocooned doctrines of whatsoever idealism.
Mfers, eat yr heart out & staying put in yr fart filled well to croak yr egoistic jingo!
There will be listeners. But all under that same fart filled well, croaking the same tune!
Perhaps not Penny Wong, but this ethnic Chinese Australian politician is highly suspect of being compromised by CCP links.
From the Conservative Liberal Party (surprisingly).
Just to share a story sourced from the Dark Web.ReplyDelete
The war game of US to diverse home attentions about covid-19 pandemic in US.
It's also a preemptive move by US to safeguard & protect his world power hegemony.
The Indians r been instigated into border conflict with China again by US.
The India’s construction of roads and airstrips adjacent to the Line of Actual Control (LAC), which will improve connectivity and enable easier mobility for Indian troops in the area.
Thousands of Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) troops are reported to have moved into these sensitive areas along the eastern Ladakh border.
The area is a disputed territory claimed by both China & India due to the legacy of colonial British encroachment into Tibet.
This escalation is serious & isn't just a localised incident. China’s behaviour is more aggressive this time, backed up by a fairly large number of troops, which is not typical of this border where troop levels tend to be low on both sides. It could be a territorial claim or part of a wider messaging to India that they need to be more mindful of China on sensitive geopolitical issues, especially when india is playing as the US war diversion calvary.
US has been escalating the war game quietly in mobilising his pacific fleets to sail through part of the South China Sea, claimed by China, with his enactment of freedom of navigation.
However, that plan was crashed due to the proliferation of covid-19 amongst the fleets.
Not many people pay attention to the scale of covid-19 pandemic happened within the militia of the world. The extent of the covid-19 within a confined military barracks/ships/bases can be much more expansive compares with those happened in the general public environments.
Censored reports covered up these incidents, amongst the military forces of the world. These news r considered military secrets, whose disclosures r detrimental to the security of the nation.
China isn't spared with the occurrence of covid-19 within his military forces. But been the first country who has successfully stopped the spread of the SARS-CoV-2, her military infection is put under control well ahead of many others.
Based on established epidemiological estimation, the rate of spread within an enclosure is 5x to 10x the normal public open space. Within a military barrack, the rate is usually about ∼7x after the first encountered.
With 1.7M cases in public US population of 331M. The infection rate is ∼5 per 1000. With 1.3M active duty military, the estimated military personnel under vivid infection is ∼47k!
USofA has zilch ability to launch any war!
Hence, the India scheme.
India has long history of border conflicts with China.
India also currently not only is facing covid-19 but a locust plague at her northern states!
India needs external food aids & financial helps. Fast too.
That's where uncle Sam comes into play.
US promises food & financial aids in exchange for creating some border skirmishes with China.
US can also at the same time playing peace arbitrator to both India & China.
The Sino-India border skirmishes will help to create the home diversion US needs. The good cop plays by trump would help his reelection campaign.
It's also expecting that with multiple fronts of minor crises, China would have to prioritize her efforts. The defense would overwrite space/telecommunications researches & developments. Trade negotiations would be more malleable to prevailing international trade/business terms.
The India/US communion pact was negotiated under the cover of Netanyahu in Tel Aviv. It was intercepted by the Chinese intelligence in Tel Aviv. The Chinese embassador to Israel was 'terminated' while trying his best to report back to China. Who killed him remains a question !
Apparently that infos did reach China. It also explains why China dispatches such large numbers of PLA & military HW to the Line of Actual Control (LAC) along the eastern Ladakh border.
A border war is now imminent!
No thanks to US oft-used war proliferation tactic to safeguard his might & the useless presidency.
Santanyahu and ModiTrumpAss Kisser in a troika with the Orange Buffoon !Delete
Yet another CIA nefarious spree. There's no country in the world that's not been spared of its monstrous murderous hand. To hell with the decaying imperialist empire of the rotten US of A.
Kudos to Morrison and his cabinet. Together they have made numerous decisions on behalf of all Australians. The US is now Australia's ally and will provide supoort in times of need. Hence, China's boycott of Australian produce is not a problem as the US will do the needful. A good move by Morrison. Let's hope that Morrison will continue to be voted in to represent Australia for the next term.ReplyDelete