‘Disturbing’: China feud goes global

 

The growing trade war between China and Australia has made global headlines, being labelled "disturbing" and a consequence of our "addiction" to trading with the authoritarian giant.

Washington Post columnist Henry Olsen said China's murky role in the spread of COVID-19 has "disturbed the entire world", adding that its "attempts to economically coerce Australia … should disturb the world even more".

"The message is clear: If a country takes Chinese money, it must toe China's line," he wrote.

He warned Beijing's latest trade strikes on Australia are "highly threatening" to our relationship with the US, urging Western countries to "unite" and decrease their reliance on China as the pandemic eases.

"The change cannot happen overnight, but it must happen if China's rising influence is to be curtailed," he said.

Former US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley made a similar point, saying the growing trade war is a warning for every country to "become less dependent on China so that actions like these won't matter".

The Wall Street Journal published an editorial backing Prime Minister Scott Morrison's push for an independent inquiry into COVID-19.

It criticised the actions of the Chinese government, saying it only makes them look more guilty.

"China's use of coercive economic diplomacy to stop an independent coronavirus investigation will make the world wonder what it has to hide.

"It should also encourage Australia's friends, not least the US, to support its entirely reasonable requests into the origins of the virus so we can better stop the next one."

Foreign Policy, a magazine based in Washington DC, published a piece called "Why China is punishing Australia", arguing the threats have emboldened Australian politicians and pundits who see our relationship with China as a potential threat.

"Australia once saw the so-called Asian century as an opportunity but is increasingly uncomfortable with China's regression into autocracy and geopolitical belligerence," wrote senior editor James Palmer. "The country has a long - and often racist - history of unease with its physical proximity to Asia, but today it shares close ties with many Southeast Asian and Pacific nations that feel threatened by an emboldened China."

Global news outlets have backed Scott Morrison’s push for an inquiry into the origins of COVID-19. Picture: Sam Mooy/Getty Images
Global news outlets have backed Scott Morrison’s push for an inquiry into the origins of COVID-19. Picture: Sam Mooy/Getty Images

 

An analysis by Bloomberg said Australia's "addiction" to China has left us vulnerable to a trade spat, noting we are the most China-reliant economy in the developed world.

The Chinese government has most recently threatened to cut off Australia's $63 billion iron ore export pipeline to Beijing following the Morrison Government's calls for an international inquiry into the origins of COVID-19.

 

 

This comes after they targeted beef and barley producers this week, sending panic through other Australian industries fearing they could be next on the line.

China has suspended meat imports from at least four Australian abattoirs amid souring relations between the two nations.

It's also given the nation's barley producers 10 days to respond to an anti-dumping investigation that's been conducted into Australian grain imports since 2010, threatening to slap them with tariffs of up to 80 per cent.

One third of Australia's exports - including iron ore, gas, coal and food - are exported to our largest trading partner, bringing in around $135 billion per year.


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