A defence expert has said that Australia–China trade is strong because Chinas economy needs Australian resources, and not, as the deputy prime minister asserted, because “we have a great relationship” with the communist nation.
After the Morrison government offered a pathway to residency for skilled Hongkongers, Beijing accused Australia of “gross interference” in its domestic affairs. However, Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack downplayed the situation, asserting that the two countries share a “great relationship.”
“Its giving people choice. Im sure China understands that,” he told ABC radio on July 10.
McCormack said Australia would use diplomatic channels to work through issues with China, conceding relations were “a bit fractious” after being pressed.
“There is always going to be hiccups. At the moment, times are a little bit difficult,” McCormack said. “Well work through those in the proper ways.”
McCormack pointed to the over $150 billion worth of Australian goods exported to China last year—a growth of 23.9 percent from the previous year.
“Weve got a great relationship with China and that will continue,” he said.
Michael Shoebridge, the director of defence, strategy, and national security at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, told The Epoch Times on July 10 that McCormack was right that the Chinese regime understands Australias decision to offer Hongkongers extended visas.
“Its just that they dont like Australias decision because it opposes Beijings breach of the international commitments China made in the 1984 [Sino-British] Joint Declaration,” he said.
Despite Beijings threats and its economic coercion over Australian barley imports, Shoebridge agreed that Australias trade with China was in a strong position.
“But thats not because we have a great relationship,” he said. “Its because Chinas economy needs Australian resources. That shows limits to Beijings coercion.”
Before the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) imposed its national security law on Hong Kong, the city enjoyed a “high degree” of autonomy and a judicial system independent of the mainlands totalitarian regime.