Foreign Policy Watch: India-Australia

Deterrence in Australia-China Ties


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Quad Group

Mains level : Deterrence in Australia-China Ties

Australia and China’s cordial economic ties, established over the last three decades, have been soured this year over several points of friction.

Try this question

Q. Discuss the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (or the Quad) and its purpose to establish “Asian Arc of Democracy”.

Various points of friction

 (1) Australia’s Covid-19 inquiry

  • Australia’s appeal for an independent global inquiry into the origins and initial response of Covid-19 created fury in Beijing.
  • China alleged that Australia was teaming up with the US to spread “anti-China propaganda”.

(2) Tension over journalists

  • The second diplomatic spat began with the detention of an Australian news anchor based in Beijing by the Chinese authorities after she was suspected of “criminal activities” that endangered China’s national security.
  • The Australian government said the journalist was held under “residential surveillance” at an unknown location.
  • Following this, the journalists sought refuge in Australian diplomatic missions, as they were not allowed to leave the country.

(3) Ideological issues

  • The two countries have also been at loggerheads on other ideological issues previously too.
  • After reports of China keeping Uighur Muslims in state-run detention camps surfaced, Australia was swift to respond and expressed “deep concern” over the “human rights situation.”
  • Australia also supported Hong Kong’s autonomy cause. It decided to extend visas for Hong Kong residents.
  • In both instances, China responded staunchly and asked Australia to not meddle in its “internal matters.”

(4) Economic dependence

  • China is Australia’s largest trading partner in terms of both exports and imports.
  • China’s share in Australia’s exports reached a record A$117 billion, or 38 per cent, in 2019, more than any other country.
  • Australian sectors like mining, tourism, education benefit from trade with China. China even imports products such as milk, cheese, wine and meat.
  • Over the years, it has been increasing its investment in Australian infrastructure and real estate products too.

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