Fri. Nov 18th, 2022

“We’re seven years down the path of this government and there’s not a single personal relationship with substance that exists between anybody in this government and anyone in the Chinese government,” said deputy Labor leader Richard Marles.
“I mean, that is a situation which is completely hopeless.”
Already, hundreds of Australian exporters are bracing to see if China implements a ban on more than $6 billion in commodities on Friday after state-controlled media acknowledged the existence of a list of seven items that could be turned away from Chinese ports and airports.
The China Daily threatened more was to come.
It said Scott Morrison’s approach to China of “strategic patience and consistency”, as outlined in a recent interview with The Australian Financial Review, was inconsistent “with his government’s rash participation in the US administration’s attempts to contain China”.
It claims Canberra has undermined the relationship by “fueling anti-China sentiment at home, baselessly sanctioning Chinese companies and aggressively sending warships to China’s doorsteps”.
These are references to foreign investment applications blocked by the government, and Australia sailing ships in international waters that Beijing illegally claims as Chinese territory.
“If this is Canberra’s “strategic patience”, how will it act in a fit of pique?
“Canberra should realise it will get nothing from Washington in return for its collusion in its schemes, while Australia will pay tremendously for its misjudgment.”
It claims its threats to block lobster imports, for example, are based on legitimate customs concerns and are not “economic coercion” or “retribution” for such acts as banning Huawei from the 5G contract or implementing foreign interference laws, as is widely believed in Australia.
It claims the hold up of shipments of lobster was motivated by concerns that imported seafood has been a source of coronavirus outbreaks in China. This is despite China being the original source of the virus.
“Unlike Washington, Beijing is not offering Canberra an either-or choice, but just reminding it to maintain its diplomatic independence and follow the norms of international relations. To be an ally of the US does not necessarily mean it has to be a roughneck in its gang,” it said.
Mr Marles said “there are obviously difficulties and complexities in the relationship with China, which is exactly why you need personal relationships to add ballast to the situation”.
“But right now, they can’t speak to a single person in China. There are hundreds of thousands of jobs at stake. And really, I think people in those jobs would be looking to our government today and saying, what are you going to do about this?”