Jul 10, 2020, 14:54
Australia has repeatedly ignored China's warnings that its moves are pushing bilateral ties to breaking point. If it continues to do so, it should be prepared to reap what it has sown.
In just the past few days, Canberra has taken several steps that have further poisoned the atmosphere for bilateral cooperation. Australia's travel advisory on China, which alleges that Australian visitors could be at risk of arbitrary detention, for one, has drawn the ire of the Chinese Foreign Ministry which condemned it as defamation.
The Aussie travel alert on China is ridiculous: Foreigners in China have no need to worry as long as they obey the law, and their legitimate rights and interests are guaranteed in accordance with the law. Not to mention that China has virtually contained the coronavirus pandemic on its soil, making it a safe destination for international travelers. Of course, international travelers still need to observe virus prevention and control measures when traveling in China, but this is a requirement of all countries given the virus is still raging in many parts of the world.
Apart from issuing its unwarranted travel alert for China, Australia also chose to take a tough stance over the East China Sea and South China Sea issues in a recent virtual trilateral strategic summit with the United States and Japan, despite it not being party to the maritime disputes.
Canberra's meddling solely serves its purpose of joining the US bandwagon of containing China's rise and development. That is true of its meddling in Hong Kong affairs as well.
Canberra has joined the US in trying to distort China's justified moves to strengthen national security and improve law enforcement in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region by suspending its extradition treaty with Hong Kong and extending the visas for Hong Kong residents from two to five years offering a pathway to a permanent residency visa.
As a key US ally, Australia has always looked to the US for leadership at the expense of an independent foreign policy. There are some in the country who still covet the role of it being the "deputy sheriff" of the US in the latter's strategic maneuvering in the Asia-Pacific region.
As a result, with anti-China sentiment running high in Washington, politicians in Canberra have been more than happy to join the US chorus.
Yet if they are speculating that China has no choice but to accept Australia as a politically hostile partner for economic reasons, that is a losing bet. Australia is not irreplaceable, as it will find out to its cost if it persists with its adversarial stance.