(Text: Pradeep Philip) In 2019, China-US relations have undergone dramatic changes due to technological confrontations and trade wars. This year Australia has fallen into the battle and line of fire in the so-called China's "wolf war" diplomacy.
From seafood to wine, from meat to coal, Australia has always been weak in trade disputes with China.Our company is hurt and anxious.But this has been brewing for a long time, and we did not expect it.
The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) signed last month can be said to be the largest free trade agreement in the world, involving Indonesia, Australia, Brunei, Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand and Vietnam.The important thing is that Australia regrets that India did not sign.
The participation of RCEP and China is a big issue. In 2019-20, RCEP countries accounted for two-thirds of Australia's exports, and China accounted for more than 50% of them.But in the week of signing the RCEP in November, Australia-China relations experienced a sharp decline.
But whether you like it or not, China is a big problem for Australia's past, and it will be a bigger problem for our future.It is the economic master of our region; together with India and Indonesia, it will become the growth pole of world economic growth and global trade in the coming decades.
The facts we have to face are: in the real Asian century, global economic growth is shifting to our region; population growth in our region will remain strong; income growth in our region will be extraordinary; future global trade will basically rely on The rise of Asia.
If the quarrel between Australia and China lasts longer, whether China and the United States decouple is likely to be an academic question for Australia.
For Australia, the stakes are too great.Even if the federal government naturally wants to divert Australia's trade from its sole dependence on China, it will take time and skill, because for China, this is not just a trade issue.This is the core of Australia's need to reposition its strategic focus.
For a long time, we have always looked at the relationship between Australia and China from the perspective of the old world order, treating China as an authoritarian country.China is indeed an authoritarian country, but this is not the only way to look at China.Doing so will keep us stuck in the thinking mode of the former leader Deng Xiaoping's "hide our capacities and bide our time" creed.
To understand China and our plight, and to strategically position the future, we should look at China the way we look at the United States—that is, particularism.This is not a question of whether we agree or not, but a question of how China views itself.As President Xi Jinping said, the ambitions of contemporary China are nothing more than "the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation."
No wonder Australia’s recent relations with China have been characterized as China’s failure to respond to Australia’s goodwill; its trade stance is aggressive; its diplomatic posture is immediately reciprocal and tit-for-tat-never giving in.
This is because China sees itself from the perspective of hegemonism.This is why the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, the Belt and Road Initiative, the globalization speeches at the World Economic Forum, and RCEP all represent this attitude of China to varying degrees.
The One Belt One Road guarantees China's supply chain and market, but it is also the vanguard of China's influence.In view of this, Australia's response to China has been met with indifference or counterattack time and time again.China no longer avoids, no longer waits for the opportunity.
Australia was involved in a play, and the American political scientist Graham Allison captured it dramatically. "Can the United States and China escape the Thucydides trap?"-This play has never ended well, because a rising power may replace a ruling power in the traditional sense.
We live in this part of Asia.And the economic trend has turned to this region.But we can learn from the history of Asia-being in Asia does not mean that we cannot be independent. Asia is not single.
Australia is a free, independent, dynamic and export-oriented democracy.Our path is not to blindly acquiesce in China or the United States.We are connected to both countries, and the most urgent thing is to cross these two countries with nuance and respect.
When we look at the hegemony of China and the United States, we might as well start from the strategic perspective of particularism.Our business, our economic prosperity and security, and our identity all depend on this.
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