China-Australia relations

Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, Japan's Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi, Australia's Foreign Minister Marise Payne and U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo pose for a picture prior the Quad ministerial meeting in Tokyo, Japan, 6 October 2020. (Kiyoshi Ota/Pool via REUTERS)

Containing China: Will the Quad become an Asian mini-NATO?

With the foreign ministers of the US, Japan, India, and Australia convening in Tokyo for their latest ministerial quadrilateral security dialogue meeting last week, and the US especially keen to contain China through this grouping, economics professor Zhu Ying wonders: Will the Quad become an Asian mini-NATO?
A visitor holds a Chinese flag while posing for a photograph at the Badaling section of the Great Wall in Beijing, China, on 1 October 2020. (Yan Cong/Bloomberg)

China feels maligned

China laments that it has not done anything wrong, amid the slew of bad reactions it has been getting internationally. Han Yong Hong points out while negative perceptions of China by major countries of the world are at an all-time high, this is not solely to do with strains in the US-China relationship. Individual countries have their beef with China for a host of reasons. When everything is all said and done, communication is still key, and China has just as much responsibility as everyone else to make the effort to bridge the gap.
Flags of the United States and China are placed for a meeting between the U.S. secretary of agriculture and China's minister of agriculture at the Ministry of Agriculture in Beijing, China. (Jason Lee/REUTERS)

The biggest challenge in China's diplomacy

US-China strategic competition has had an adverse effect on Indo-Pacific tensions, from issues such as Taiwan, the South China Sea, to China-India border conflicts and China-Australia relations. Political scientist Zhu Zhiqun says China’s international and regional outlook will not improve if this underlying issue is not resolved.
HMAS Parramatta (C) breaks away from USS America (R) and USS Bunker Hill (L) on completion of officer of the watch manoeuvres in the South China Sea, in this 18 April 2020 handout photo. (Australia Department Of Defence/Handout via REUTERS)

Australia boosting security relations with Southeast Asia and the US in the face of heightened threats

Australia’s recently-released defence update may be the most consequential document yet in terms of Canberra’s defence relations with Southeast Asia. Australia is asking its Southeast Asia partners to do more, while offering them more in return. It is also boosting its military self-reliance and its alliance relationship with the US.
People walk before the Opera House, usually packed with tourists, in Sydney, on 18 May 2020. (Saeed Khan/AFP)

China-Australia relations: Downward spiral as Australia plays 'deputy sheriff' to the US?

Political scientist Zhu Zhiqun traces the downward spiral of China-Australia relations made worse by the Covid-19 outbreak. From Australia’s perspective, much of it stems from fear, both its own and projected from the US, of the China threat. Despite the gloom, all is not lost if both sides choose to focus on what binds the two societies together, rather than what drives them apart.
Cambodian soldiers carry aid including medical equipment from China, to be used to combat the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus, at Phnom Penh International Airport in Phnom Penh, 25 April 2020. (Tang Chhin Sothy/AFP)

China's aid to Southeast Asia amid adversity — a sign of deeper cooperation ahead? 

Even as China continues to handle the coronavirus, it is extending aid to other countries, not least in Southeast Asia. ISEAS academic Lye Liang Fook traces China's efforts to engage ASEAN in building a "community with a shared future". Does that point to better relations between ASEAN member states and China?
People walk past a tree with a mask and eyes stapled on it, in Melbourne, on 20 April 2020. (William West/AFP)

Chewing gum on the sole of China's shoes? Australia-China relations take a nosedive

China's Global Times editor Hu Xijin called Australia the “chewing gum stuck on the sole of China’s shoes”. The Chinese public seems to agree and wants to “find a stone to rub it off”. This is but a sampling of Chinese reactions to recent statements by Australian leaders. That Australia's calls for China to be part of a Covid-19 independent international inquiry strike a strident tone is not unexpected, given that negative attitudes towards China have been simmering in Australia for quite a while now.