Former Australian diplomats have railed against Anthony Albanese’s recent AUKUS deal, criticising the nation’s deep links to the US and the potential for it to hurt relations with China.
John Lander, former deputy ambassador to China, and Bruce Haigh, a former Australian diplomat, were invited to a roundtable discussion hosted by Chinese state media publication The Global Times.
The pair discussed what they believed to be a narrative of war being pushed by Australia, accusing institutions Down Under of “fanning the flames” of a potential conflict with China.
Mr Haigh claims that Australia’s relationship with the US is “immature” and has led the nation to be inextricably dependent on the superpower.
“This is a complex question which goes to the heart of Australian politics. We have an alliance and arrangement with US, which is immature, and which makes us psychologically, emotionally and intellectually depend upon the US,” he said.
“It‘s really strange for Australia to agree with the US that China is our potential enemy when it’s also our biggest trading partner.”
Fellow guest and president of the Chinese Association of Australian Studies Chen Hong claimed that “everything started from Canberra in 2017”, tying in links to then-US President Donald Trump’s rhetoric about China.
“The Trump administration had been pushing forward the Indo-Pacific Strategy with the unveiled aim to deter and impede China’s peaceful development. We regret to see that Australia had been tailing behind Washington to act as an eager pioneer of the US’ anti-China strategy.”
Mr Lander commented on the “relentless drive to continual warfare to enrich a very small group of powerful oligarchs in the political system of the US”, claiming that is “why the US internally is declining”.
He also claimed that there is “jealousy” from the US over China’s rising life expectancy.
President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Anthony Albanese of Australia shake hands on the AUKUS Partnership in San Diego, California.
“The average life expectancy in China is now higher than that in the US. The wealth gap between the richest and the poorest in the US is forever widening,” he said.
“So we also have the worrying factor of jealousy. What drives a lot of the attitude in the US toward China is simply envy that China is doing better than the US.
“That cannot be allowed because the US is the supreme exceptional nation to be shown up by another country that is totally unacceptable to particularly the policymakers in Washington.
“There are many signs that the general population in the US is opposed to war, but they feel just as powerless as we here in Australia do, there seems to be nothing we can do about it.”
“Something will crack at some point. I‘m hoping that at least in Australia that will happen before any war starts. People keep on saying a war against China might break out as though it’s something like an earthquake, a flood or a landslide that just happens.
“But war occurs by decisions that are taken by humans. It is equally possible for humans to decide not to go to war as it is to decide to go to war. I’m personally extremely grateful that up till now, China has decided not to go to war.”
Mr Albanese addressed the monumental AUKUS nuclear submarine deal and the possibility of war with China.
The PM referenced a “very constructive meeting” with President Xi Jinping last year and emphasised the importance of keeping a friendly relationship with Australia’s major trading partner.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese addressed the monumental AUKUS nuclear submarine deal and the possibility of war with China in the days following the monumental deal.
“I don‘t think it is constructive to talk about war. I think what’s constructive is to make sure that we have the best defence capacity possible to make sure that we put in place an optimum path way for that defence strategy and that‘s what we’re doing but we want peace and security in the region,” he said.
“That’s why at the same time as we’re investing in defence we are investing in relationships. I had a very constructive meeting with President Xi last year.
“We have had our foreign ministers meet, including Penny Wong visiting Beijing in December for the 50th anniversary of relations between our two countries. Our Defence Ministers have met, our trade ministers will meet soon.
“We’ve seen some of the impediments to trade between our two countries be removed. They are our major trading partner. We want friendly relationships, we want to cooperate wherever we can but we will disagree where we must.
“We do have different values, we have different political systems and we take that into account as well.”
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