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Australian FM’s China stance senseless

Source:Global Times Published: 2014-7-12 0:08:01

Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop appalled Chinese people on Wednesday by saying that Australia will "stand up to China to defend peace, liberal values and the rule of law," and "China doesn't respect weakness."

It just added fuel to the outrage caused by Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott's earlier comments on Japanese submariners involved in the attack on Sydney Harbor in 1942, in which Abbott said he "admired the skill and the sense of honor" of the Japanese troops.

If Abbott's words were meant to flatter his visiting Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe, Bishop's provocation appeared to have come out of nowhere.

Many Chinese people who read about this could not believe these words came from the Australian foreign minister. China is Australia's biggest trade partner and has not offended Australia in any way. Bishop's verbal provocation made her look more like one of the often pointless "angry youths" found in the Chinese cyber sphere than a diplomat.

The current Australian government has been widely considered as inexperienced, particularly in dealing with foreign relations. Still, the naivety of its foreign minister still surprised Chinese people.

Australia has been relying heavily on the Chinese market in exports. But it has been so conceited in selling its value system that it has become one of the loudest voices in attacking China's human rights record.

Australia's history is not short of records of human rights infringement on the aboriginal population. The country used to be a place roamed by rascals and outlaws from Europe. Perhaps it has to boast its values to cover up its actual lack of confidence in front of Western countries.

For many Chinese people, Australia is a good place for business, travel and higher education. That's about it. There is no point in China being overly upset by Bishop's words.

The new power structure in the Asia-Pacific region led by China and the US has become a challenge for some countries in this region. It is understandable that Australia as a country standing alone at the outskirts will try to show its loyalty to the Western world. It's no surprise that Australia and Japan will develop their ties, too.

However, the current Australian government's moves do not fit the Asia-Pacific stage.

Given Australia's growing economic reliance on China, the government's stance on China will fluctuate.

Bishop calls for standing up to China, but what resources does she have to do so with? The next day, Australian leaders will smile at China again, just as they do now to Japan.
Posted in: Editorial