The Albanese government’s ‘stabilisation’ objective for China-Australia ties has now been achieved in just nine short months, with high-level meetings and the easing of trade and travel restrictions.
Chinese sanctions on Australian goods remain in place, and the new government in Canberra is sticking to the same policy position as its predecessor – yet bilateral trade remains strong. Despite the China threat being hyped up politically, Australian businesses are leaning into engagement rather than decoupling.
Washington encourages Canberra not to back away from the increasingly adversarial stance it has taken towards Beijing. Yet, nearly 200 days into the Biden administration, there’s still no concrete evidence that US support extends beyond rhetoric.
The fallout from Covid-19 has accelerated the trend of China’s economic might in the world and political influence in the Asia-Pacific.
While some in Australia have suggested that the country should form an economic alliance with like-minded democracies, in the world of international commerce, democratic and strategic friends are often the fiercest rivals.
Journalists, academics and businesspeople alike are getting caught up in rising bilateral tensions, which threaten two-way trade, academic exchanges and people-to-people ties.
Canberra has expressed a willingness to work with Beijing on much needed infrastructure in the region. However, concerns abound, ranging from standards to security threats, which have made the country hesitant to dive in.
The Australian prime minister’s rhetoric has worsened tensions with China.