Turnbull mends his broken heart by targeting China

Source:Global Times Published: 2017/6/3 1:43:39

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull on Friday delivered a speech at the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore, using a considerable number of paragraphs to voice his pessimistic views about China.

He said some people fear China will seek to impose a latter-day Monroe Doctrine on this hemisphere in order to dominate the region, marginalizing the role and contribution of other nations, in particular the US. He also talked about the possibility that China could isolate those who stand in opposition to or are not aligned with its interests while using its economic largesse to reward those toeing the line.

He further said a coercive China would find its neighbors resenting demands they cede their autonomy and strategic space, and look to counterweight Beijing's power by bolstering alliances and partnerships, between themselves and especially with the US.

Turnbull spent much of his time talking about safeguarding the rules-based order. He said one way China could show its good intentions would be to curb North Korea's pursuit of nuclear weapons.

In response to his comments, the head of the Chinese delegation to the Shangri-La Dialogue, Lieutenant General He Lei, said international rules must reflect general consensus among various countries and cannot be unilaterally decided or explained by one or a few countries. He also stressed that the root cause of the North Korean nuclear issue is the strategic mutual mistrust between Washington and Pyongyang.

Turnbull's speech is one of the most assertive comments from a Western leader on China. It came at a time when tensions on the South China Sea have de-escalated and claimant nations have shown willingness to negotiate. Even Vietnam Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, who is currently visiting the US, has failed to talk about the South China Sea with US President Donald Trump with such assertiveness. Turnbull's speech has surely attracted attention.

When Turnbull talked about militarization in the South China Sea, he failed to mention that US warships have been traveling in and out of the region. Turnbull has displayed a bias in values created by the US-Australia alliance, an absurdity as he has mistaken strategic selfishness with moral high ground.

China has territorial disputes with some neighboring countries, but in the past 30 years there has been no military conflict over these disputes. The possibility of military confrontation in the South China Sea no longer exists and the real security threat is posed by the interference of outside countries.

China has never wanted to push the US influence out of Asia. But some countries have adopted a hostile attitude toward China's growing influence. Overlapping influences from different countries in Asia should be encouraged but Turnbull described them as a zero-sum game. He was too intoxicated by the US-Australia alliance.

If Canberra believes the US and Australian interests are righteous by nature and Beijing should cede its own interests, the common language between the two countries will only shrink.

China has never challenged Australia and many Chinese felt perplexed when they heard the challenging remarks from Australia. We can't help but think that Australia wants to cater to the US so badly that it needs to accuse China to achieve that goal. Australia is a true US ally. Trump kicked Australia and in return Australia kicked China.

Turnbull's speech is full of lecturing aimed at China. He should be thankful that Beijing has a big heart. After what he said, we still did not hang up on him.



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