Australia's Relations with China: What's the Problem? – Parliament of Australia
Will China-Australia Relations 'Return to Normal'? November 09, Foreign Donations, Local Politics: China's Australia Influence. July 18, Foreign. Containment, Engagement and Australia-China Relations Suspicious of US attitudes, China regards any pressure over political and economic reform or over . Wang expressed China's willingness to mend ties with Australia and “It is imperative for the two sides to re-establish political mutual trust,”.
Australia—Taiwan relations While Australia no longer recognises the Republic of China as the legitimate government of China or Taiwanunofficial relations are maintained between Australia and Taiwan.
The Taiwan government operates the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Australia, which fulfills most of the functions of an embassy and consulates at an unofficial level. Chinese Australian Australia has been a haven for Chinese migrants for centuries who have, in the modern day, established themselves as a significant minority group in Australian society.
His daughter is married to a Chinese man, and Mr. Rudd also speaks fluent Mandarin. William Mayers studied in China fromand was involved in negotiations to bring the first railway and steam engine to China. It was the most popular destination for Australian students undertaking short-term studies overseas, the seventh most popular destination for long-term studies, and also the seventh most popular destination for practical placements. The numbers were small initially: Inabout Chinese students entered Australia to study.
They were mostly children of residents. Several thousands Chinese were studying in Australia in Australia's trade relations were heavily geared towards the British Empireand at Federation intrade with China accounted for 0. At that time, Australia mainly imported tea and rice from China, as well as certain luxuries such as silk. Chinese imports from Australia were focused on minerals silver, gold, copper and pig leadbut also included grains. ByAustralia was exportingpounds of butter to China.
Meanwhile, Australian demand for silk and other textiles increased during the early 20th century.
In the post-war decades, wool became an important Australian commodity imported by China. From the s, however, agricultural shortages in China led to heavy imports of Australian wheat. China is Australia's biggest trading partner mainly due to China's strong demand for iron ore, coal and liquefied natural gas.
Major Issues Australia's relations with China are amongst our most important foreign policy issues. China is maintaining rapid economic growth even while entering a period of political uncertainty. Economic growth is making the country a key trading and investment partner for Australia and its success is increasing Beijing confidence in asserting its position in regional and global affairs.
At the same time, however, the decline of Maoist ideology, the growth of regional and social inequality and the decline of the Communist Party's control over people's daily life is throwing the legitimacy of the Party into question.
The death of Deng Xiaoping will exacerbate divisions within the Party and might see a difficult period of succession. A more aggressive Chinese foreign policy could develop if a disruptive succession led to the emergence of a weak leadership appealing to virulent nationalism to shore up its position, especially in order to win the support of the armed forces.
The Australia-China relationship has traditionally been dominated by global geopolitical and strategic concerns, but since the s the two countries have built up a range of common bilateral and regional interests, including strong economic ties. Nevertheless, as a growing world power, China still views individual bilateral relations in the context of wider global issues.
In particular, Australia's alliance with the US means that Australia's relations with China are directly linked to health of the US-China relationship. The relationship deteriorated severely during and Australia's policies on China and the US were subjected to unusual and strident public criticism by the Chinese Government. Using the metaphors beloved of Chinese commentary, a Chinese publication compared Australia to a bat which gave its allegiance to the mammals when they triumphed, but showed its wings and declared itself a bird when the birds were victorious - in other words Australia was torn between its connections with Asia and its traditional allegiances.
The tensions were reduced by the end of the year, but the issues at stake were an indication of the underlying sensitivities in Australia-China relations which will continue to be a challenge for Australia in the future. A number of actions by the new Australian Government, elected in Marchled China to believe that Australia was changing its China policy to one which was more pro-US and less friendly to China.
Australia's support for the US dispatch of naval forces into the Taiwan Straits in response to Chinese missile tests during the Taiwanese elections was strongly criticised by China.
China began to react with increased sensitivity to any official Australian dealings with the Taipei government. The Australian Government's abolition of the Development Import Finance Facility DIFF aid scheme was attacked by China as being 'against accepted practice' and may have been seen as supporting US efforts to reduce China's access to concessional development finance.
The increased emphasis on the US-Australia alliance by the Howard government was criticised in the Chinese press as part of US anti-China strategy and as a move away from Australia's previous engagement with Asia. The visit of the Dalai Lama to Australia was also attacked as hostile to China.
Chinese perceptions of how it is regarded in international affairs are still strongly influenced by suspicions that the US harbours a desire to prevent China from taking its place amongst the major players on the world stage. These feelings came to a head during a number of disputes between China and the US from onwards, including trade issues and China's membership of the World Trade Organisation, human rights, nuclear weapons proliferation and US relations with Taiwan, especially the visit of the Taiwanese President to the US.
Given the key role of the US alliance in Australia's foreign policy, China often interprets Australian actions in the context of US policy objectives. Australia is appreciated for the occasions in the recent and more distant past when it has acted independently of the US, but China remains very sensitive to perceived changes in Australia's policies which suggest a return to policies of the past. Along with managing a growing Australia-China bilateral relationship, a key challenge for Australian policymakers will be to balance the demands of the Chinese connection while maintaining close ties with the US.
The ambiguous status of the US and Australian relationship with Taiwan will be a continuing issue and the reunification of Hong Kong with China in July has potential for political and economic problems. China is an emerging great power which has not yet been fully integrated into the established norms and institutions of international relations. Suspicious of US attitudes, China regards any pressure over political and economic reform or over issues such as Taiwan, Hong Kong or Tibet as incursions into Chinese sovereignty.
The problems which plagued Australia-China relations during were an indication of the sensitive nature of the relationship. In particular, Australia's relations with China will be strongly influenced by the course of US-China relations during the second Clinton administration. Preface - Implications of the Death of Deng Xiaoping This paper was completed just before the announcement of the death of China's 'paramount leader' Deng Xiaoping on 19 February As Deng became increasingly old and fragile in the years before his death, international commentators devoted much discussion to the political implications of the succession from Deng's leadership.
The paper includes a discussion of the growing political uncertainty in China with the decline of the Communist Party's Maoist legitimacy and the Party's loss of direct control over the economy and over people's daily lives, together with problems developing with social and regional disparities and the suppressed popular desire for democratisation.
The death of Deng Xiaoping is discussed as a factor which will contribute to this uncertainty, but the paper argues from the position that his death is unlikely to have an immediate impact on events. Had Deng's death occurred before the policies of economic openness and liberalisation which he championed from the late s were fully established, elements in the Party still influenced by Maoist economic ideas might have been encouraged to attempt to regain ascendancy.
Australia's Relations with China: What's the Problem?
Equally, had he died before his designated successor, Jiang Zemin, had consolidated his position, Deng's departure from the scene would have been more destabilising. From information currently available, it seems unlikely that Jiang's authority will be challenged in the immediate future and even less likely that there would be any serious discussion of returning to the economic policies of the past. On the issue of economic policy, Jiang has recently been associated with a 'neo-conservative' approach designed to dampen the effects of popular resentment about corruption, crime, unemployment and the continuing underdevelopment of interior regions.
These negative aspects of the growth of recent years have come to be identified with the freewheeling economic policies of 'Dengism', but it is significant that while attempting to tackle such problems, Jiang's leadership has never suggested that there would be any reversal of the fundamentals of Deng's economic strategy. Rather there has been an effort largely successful to bring the economy to a 'soft landing' after a period of overheating and the resultant high inflation which eroded many people's incomes.
Beijing has also attempted to direct a portion of new investment into the interior to facilitate more even development. As far as the leadership is concerned, there seems little doubt that Jiang Zemin is in firm control and has strengthened his position in recent years. Jiang has sponsored a range of proteges into influential posts in the Party, government and military and has established himself 'at the core' of a collective leadership.
This allows him to act as a broker in the event of conflicting views between the conservative and moderates in the Party. Jiang has also made efforts to build up a body of thought in the tradition of 'Mao Zedong Thought' and 'Deng Xiaoping Thought'. Focusing on the need to reaffirm cultural and family values as well as the drive for prosperity, Jiang's ideas are designed not only to heighten his own stature but to reinforce the idea of the Party as a moral and political leader of the Chinese people.
Jiang's efforts to reinforce his political and ideological position is important in the lead-up to the 15th Party conference to be held in October where he will wish to cement and formalise his dominant role. Jiang's main weakness is that he does not have the military background which could reinforce his support within the politically powerful People's Liberation Army.
On the other hand, any other likely contenders for power, principally Prime Minister Li Peng, have the same disadvantage. Li Peng also suffers from his strong popular identification with the suppression of the pro-democracy demonstrations in June It should be stressed that even if factional divisions were to emerge in coming months or years, the terms of debate would not be about the basics of economic philosophy such as those which marked the transition from Mao's rule to that of Deng Xiaoping.
The great legacy of Deng's incumbency is the hegemony of an economic strategy based on opening China to the world market and greatly reducing the role of bureaucratic planning and direction in the allocation of resources for investment.
The paradox which Deng also bestowed on his successors, however, is that while expanding wealth has provided new strength for the regime after the chaos of the Mao years, social change and social problems accompanying this growth have shown their potential to undermine support for the Party.
Jiang's Zemin's efforts to restore the Party's legitimacy and ideological leadership are unlikely to see it return to the position it held during the post-revolutionary years. With social discontent in the cities and growing dissatisfaction in the interior, particularly amongst ethnic minorities in Tibet and Xinjiang, the Party may have to rely increasingly on the Army to assert its control. Introduction Relations with China are one of the most important aspects of Australia's foreign policy.
As an emerging great power in our region with whom Australia is developing a major economic relationship, good relations with China will become an increasingly prominent feature of Australia's international interests. But maintaining good relations with China is also one of the most difficult challenges for Australian policymakers.
The recurring friction in Australia-China relations which marked much of was a sign of the sensitive nature of dealing with China and a good indicator of the range of issues which can arise in managing the relationship. Problems began to emerge in when China criticised Australia's policy on China and Taiwan which it perceived was becoming too closely tied with US policy and which it interpreted as throwing doubts on Australia's commitment to a one-China policy. This perception grew out of the new Australian Government's quick expressions of support for US actions in response to China's military exercises in the Taiwan Straits during the March Taiwanese presidential election, as well as the upgrading of Australia's defence ties with the US in July China also criticised the visit to Taiwan by the Primary Industries Minister, Mr Anderson, and the discussion about the possibility of Australia selling uranium to Taiwan.
Adding to the ill-feeling was the decision by the Australian Government, in Aprilto cut part of Australia's aid program to China. Concerned to prevent any further deterioration in relations, Mr Howard moved, in Novemberto reassure the Chinese Government that Australia had not altered its China policy following the election of a Coalition Government.
He took the opportunity of the APEC summit in Manila to meet with the Chinese President, Ziang Zemin, to discuss the issues which had placed a cloud over the relationship between the two countries. The meeting was reportedly very successful and the Chinese Foreign Ministry issued a statement saying: The Chinese Government attaches importance to the statements of the Australian Coalition Government on placing emphasis on Sino-Australian relations, adhering to a one-China policy [and] being against containment We would like to develop a long, stable relationship with Australia on the basis of mutual respect, non-interference in each other's internal affairs, and seeking common ground while reserving our differences.
Following the meeting with the Chinese President, some observers suggested that the problems affecting Sino-Australian relations had been overcome. Certainly, the meeting between the two leaders, together with other contacts at ministerial and official level during the final months ofhelped reduce misunderstandings which had developed in Beijing about the direction of Australian policy. The whole affair, however, underscored the inherently touchy nature of the relationship with China.
Despite the apparent passing of tensions, Australia's relations with China will continue to have potential for friction for many years into the future. This paper outlines the recent problems in Sino-Australian relations and the light they shed on the challenges which confront Australian policymakers. It provides a background against which to understand the development of Australia-China relations and discusses the nature of sensitivities in the relationship in the context of China's relations with the United States and the country's recent economic growth and political problems.
Australia-China Relations in Retrospect Australia's relations with China and Chinese at a non-government level have been controversial for most of Australia's European history. Anti-Chinese feeling, occasionally erupting into violence, was a feature of Australian goldfields from the s and a desire to prevent Chinese immigration was one of the first motivations for the White Australia policy instituted after Federation in At an official level, Australia-China relations were, from their foundation during WWII until recently, dominated by the concerns of wider strategic relationships.
InChina under the Nationalist government of Chiang Kai-shek became one of the first countries with which Australia established independent diplomatic relations.
Australia needs to reset the relationship with China and stay cool
But there wasn't a flicker of warmth in Beijing's account of the meeting. In fact, he was so unhappy that he delivered a brief lecture to Ms Bishop about our shortcomings. The China-Australia relationship had encountered "difficulties" in recent months, said Wang Yi. The source of blame though was clear. It was, "due to the Australian side". Beijing takes Australia to task It's not hard to guess what he's talking about. Beijing has been angered by the Government's legislation to crack down on foreign interference — legislation which is largely aimed at China's increasingly sophisticated attempts to flex its muscles within Australia's borders.
There are also longstanding tensions over Australia's stance on Beijing's militarisation of the South China Sea, as well as Canberra's attempts to hedge against China's meteoric rise in our region.
But Wang Yi had a solution. Australia "must break away from traditional thinking," he said: The tabloid mused about a range of punishments which could be inflicted on Australia, each more horrible than the last. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is due to visit China later this year, but the trip "will not be necessary", the paper declared blithely. Malcolm Turnbull insists he has a good relationship with China and its leader, President Xi Jinping centre.