For whom do Canberra’s war drums beat
Published: May 10, 2021 11:52 AM
Illustration: Chen Xia/GT

Illustration: Chen Xia/GT

The previous weeks saw a series of militantly strident remarks from Australia's top officials, ranging from Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Defense Minister Peter Dutton to current Home Affairs Secretary Michael Pezzullo, whipping up Canberra's bellicosity toward the one-China principle. 

The Australian Financial Review on May 6 claimed that Australia has now signaled that its collective pushback to manage China includes drawing the line at the defense of the island of Taiwan. Asked about whether Australia will support Taiwan, Morrison said his government had "always honored all of our arrangements in the Indo-Pacific." 

There are observers who explain that such pugnacious remarks have been the collateral results of the political infighting within Canberra's Liberal-National Coalition party. Internal wrestling matches for power prod the populist politicians in Canberra to engage in "chest thumping" contests with each other to act as rough and tough as possible over issues related to China.

China is not interested in the mind-boggling power struggle in Australian politics, in which the prime minister's office had had a succession of six occupants between 2010 and 2018. Canberra politicians should think twice if they fancy making political gains by means of harming China's national interest. 

The joint communiqué for the establishment of diplomatic relationship between China and Australia states unambiguously that "the Australian government…acknowledges the position of the Chinese Government that Taiwan is a province of the People's Republic of China." All official interactions between the two countries are based on this basic principle, which also serves as the bottom line not to be challenged or violated in any way at any time by anyone. 

China's reunification is the sacred mission of the Chinese nation, which is indubitably within its own sovereign domain. Any other country, including Australia, should not poke their noses into this noble undertaking in China's course toward its national rejuvenation.

China and Australia were in the same trenches during the World War II against international fascism. Since the two countries established formal diplomatic relationship 49 years ago, bilateral relations have steadfastly developed into the mutually beneficial comprehensive strategic partnership. China's economic takeoff has provided the most important momentum for Australia's economic growth, which also contributes to the peace, stability and prosperity in the region and the world.

Any country with political wisdom and strategic sensibility would spare no effort to cherish and nurture such an important and valuable partnership. It is therefore extremely irresponsible and insane if Australia's top brass plans to interfere with China's internal affairs by means of military intervention.

There have not been any historical conflicts or territorial disputes between China and Australia. War has never been on the agenda in China's relationship with Australia. However, recently, Canberra seems to be senselessly fixated on actively collaborating with Washington's anti-China campaign, rattling sabers for the most absurd prospect of military conflict with China. 

There is a rotating US military presence in Australia's top north, where Australia plans to build a special military fuel tank for US armed forces. Australia is also working with the Pentagon to make and deploy guided missiles on its territory. Nuclear submarines and F-35 fighter jets have also been in Canberra's shopping cart. 

It is an unmistakable fact that China is faced with an increasingly militarizing Australia, which is beating its war drums to prepare for war with its largest trade partner. 

With its military strength, China has not put Australia on its military radar. However, peace loving as we are, the Chinese people have to be prepared for possible military incursions provoked by Canberra. 

Australian hawks could play with their war drums, but they'd better also listen to the bell of justice, which always tolls for war mongers. 

The author is a professor and director of the Australian Studies Centre, East China Normal University. opinion@globaltimes.com.cn

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