China-Australia relations

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese walks into the House of Representatives at Parliament House in Canberra, Australia, on 16 October 2023. (David Gray/AFP)

Australia-China relations have stabilised, thanks to efforts from both sides

As Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese heads to China this weekend, Australia-China relations appear to have improved from their fractious state just a year and a half ago. But it’s too soon to bring out the champagne, says University of Sydney academic Yuan Jingdong.
This handout photograph taken on 11 October 2023 and released by Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade shows Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong (left) and Australian journalist Cheng Lei upon her arrival at the airport in Melbourne, Australia. (Sarah Hodges/Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT)/AFP)

China-Australia relations warm up again, but will it last?

The recent release of Chinese Australian news anchor Cheng Lei and the lifting of tariffs on key Australian exports into China are signalling a detente in China-Australia relations. But given the impact of external geopolitical issues and China-US relations on China-Australia bilateral relations, will the warming relations and resumption of exchanges and trade stay the course? Lianhe Zaobao’s China Desk looks into the issue.
Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese arrives at I Gusti Ngurah Rai Airport ahead of G20 Summit, Bali, Indonesia, 14 November 2022. (Fikri Yusuf/G20 Media Center/Handout via Reuters)

Australia far more wary of China than SEA nations despite thawing relations

Susannah Patton, director of the Southeast Asia Program at Lowy Institute, reflects on the thaw in Australia-China relations, surmising that the resumption of dialogue may mean Australia is no longer a regional outlier. But unchanging imperatives may see Australia’s continued investment in capabilities for the regional deterrence of China, which may worry some in Southeast Asia.
Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, alongside Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong, waves as the two board the plane to Japan to attend the Quad leaders meeting in Tokyo, in Canberra, Australia, 23 May 2022. (AAP Image/Lukas Coch via Reuters)

Don’t expect a reset in Australia-China relations anytime soon

While the Scott Morrison government has bowed out to a new team from the Labor Party following the elections, it will be hard to change the downward trajectory of Australia-China relations. This is in large part due to the strength of Australia’s alliance with the US, says Associate Professor Yuan Jingdong of the University of Sydney.
An undated handout photo released on 29 March 2022 by the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF) shows China Police Liason Team officers training local RSIPF officers. (Handout/RSIPF/AFP)

Will China-Solomon Islands security cooperation bring new tensions to the South Pacific?

The new policing and security agreements between China and the Solomon Islands have neighbouring countries such as Australia and New Zealand anxious about the potential militarisation of the region. Zaobao correspondent Edwin Ong warns that small island nations in the South Pacific must be careful about choosing sides so as not to become pawns in great power competition.
Lu Kang, former foreign ministry spokesperson who was also director-general of the ministry’s information department, slated to become next Chinese ambassador to Indonesia. (Internet)

Prospective Chinese ambassador to Indonesia Lu Kang will have sights on engaging ASEAN

Former foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang is slated to be the next Chinese ambassador to Indonesia. Amid US-China tensions, a post in Indonesia presents opportunities and challenges both in terms of bilateral relations and in engaging ASEAN. Known to be a steady hand, if Lu can chalk up notable achievements during his tenure, he may move on to higher roles, just like other high-flying spokesmen of the ministry.
US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin (right) and Australian Minister for Defence Peter Dutton stand for their national anthems during an honour cordon at the Pentagon on 15 September 2021 in Arlington, Virginia, US. (Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images/AFP)

With AUKUS in place, now what for key players in the Indo-Pacific?

Former German diplomat Dr Anne-Marie Schleich analyses the impact of AUKUS from the perspective of key players in the region. This development sees important ramifications, not only for Australia, which has further thrown in its lot with the US, but for other stakeholders such as the Pacific island countries, who may see their nuclear-free Blue Pacific blueprint thwarted, as well as the European countries, who must decide how they can maintain a strategic presence in the region within the AUKUS framework.
Cartoon: Heng Kim Song

ThinkCartoon

Heng Kim Song has been the freelance editorial cartoonist

People walk past a China Energy coal-fired power plant in Shenyang, Liaoning province, China, 29 September 2021. (Tingshu Wang/Reuters)

The conspiracy theories behind China's power cuts

Last year, Western media attributed the cause of China's power shortages to the latter's unofficial ban on Australian coal. This year, Chinese netizens and we-media are claiming that power cuts are necessary and a result of “an invisible exchange of swordplay in big country economic competition”. Leveraging nationalism and big power competition to garner attention and support is indeed the order of the day. Zaobao journalist Liu Liu explains why Chinese authorities and state media are debunking these conspiracy theories and refusing to ride on the patriotism wave.