Australia’s security paranoia baffles China

Source:Global Times Published: 2016/9/2 0:03:39

A Briefing Book, given to all senators and members by Australia's Parliamentary Library recently, warned them of China's "Belt and Road" initiative and expressed concerns toward it. The book called on senators to adopt a prudent mind toward China affairs and to keep alert toward China's motives behind its investments.

The book is an epitome of some Australians' attitude toward China. The news that Labor Senator Sam Dastyari from New South Wales accepted political donations from a Chinese man has caused quite a stir. The Chinese donor was found to have paid his legal bills, and Dastyari reportedly supported China's stance in the South China Sea issue. Conservative forces within Australia launched an assault on Dastyari and urged him to resign.

"I think the Australians need to make a choice," said Colonel Tom Hanson, assistant chief of staff, US Army Pacific. "It's very difficult to walk this fine line between balancing the alliance with the United States and the economic engagement with China."

Some Australians seem to be deliberately hyping up the alarm toward China, which baffles Chinese society. China and Australia are geographically detached. Like Canada, Australia is an English-speaking country and apt for doing business, study, travel and migration. Canada used to have disputes with China over human rights. It is not difficult to understand as Canada belongs to the Western camp. But what bewilders us is why Australia keeps confronting China over security issues.

Southeast Asia is situated between China and Australia. But Australia seems to have more security concerns toward China than Southeast Asian countries like Indonesia and Malaysia. It is even difficult to maintain a normal relationship with Australia now.

Geographic advantages grant Australia the most security among world countries. Its sense of insecurity comes partly from its own paranoia and partly it is created by itself. As an external nation, it is keen to get involved in Asia's political disputes like the US. But its strength is relatively weak. The US wants to be a guard in Asia. Does Australia want to behave like an auxiliary policeman affiliated to the US? 

Australia does not have to feel unsettled. It can rest easy due to being an ally of the US and stressing its identity as a Western country. At the same time, it needs China as its largest trading partner who is also willing to do business with it. Beijing will not force Canberra to pick a side. As long as Canberra knows what it is doing, Washington can do nothing about it.

China does not have to care about Canberra's provocative words. But if it resorts to real actions to hurt China's security such as sending warships to the South China Sea, it is bound to pay a heavy price. So far, China and Australia have only been engaged in a war of words, and their ties are not really affected. China's relations with Canada have been warming up recently. The momentum of China-Europe ties keeps steady. The maritime disputes between China and the Philippines and Vietnam have been put under control. Australia should make reflections on whether it has gone too far in standing up to China.

Posted in: Editorial

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