Source: Global Times Published: 2017-12-14
Turnbull shifting domestic pressure on mediocre performance: expert
The summoning of Australia`s ambassador to China over Australian politicians` claim of alleged Chinese interference serves as a warning to the anti-China trend in some countries, Chinese experts said.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry confirmed on Thursday that ministry officials held an important dialogue with Jan Adams, Australia`s Ambassador to China.
"The Australian side is very clear on our position on bilateral relations and the relevant issue," China`s foreign ministry spokesperson Lu Kang told a daily briefing on Thursday.
The summoning of the ambassador is the latest episode in friction between China and Australia after Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull accused China of interfering in Australia`s domestic policy.
In announcing new espionage legislation on Tuesday, Turnbull said he was concerned about China`s influence on Australia`s domestic affairs, adding that the laws were not focused on any one country, ABC news reported.
Accusations made by some Australian politicians against China are part of the recent anti-China trend in Western countries, since they are more concerned about China`s increasing influence not only economically but also in terms of politics and security, and even ideology, Yu Lei, a research fellow at the Oceania Research Center of Sun Yat-sen University, told the Global Times.
Yu noted that the shifting attitude toward China is reflected in recent news on Chinese spies in the US, Germany and New Zealand, and on the joint move of the European Union and Japan on China`s "market-distorting subsidies" at the WTO conference in Argentina Tuesday.
"More foreigners, especially the young ones, began to pay attention and have praised China`s development on social media, which have worried the elites in the West," Yu said, adding that Chinese Foreign Ministry`s Friday dialogue with the Australian ambassador was a warning.
"Australia stood out amid the trend as Turnbull wants to shift domestic pressure on the mediocre performance of his government and criticism from the right-wing on his previous involvement with China before becoming prime minister," Yu said.
Yu said that pressure from the US is another reason. Australia is trying to have it both ways with China and the US - it deepens economic ties with China to support its economy while strengthening military cooperation with the US for fear of China`s increasing influence.
"Some Australian politicians are especially uncomfortable with and anxious about China`s increasing global influence. China has become a force in exploring the markets of developed countries, and Sino-Australian trade and economic ties have deepened in recent years, which have exacerbated Australia`s sense of insecurity," Wang Yiwei, director of the Renmin University of China`s Institute of International Affairs, told the Global Times.
Instead of confronting China and picking sides between China and the US, Australia should focus on serving as the bridge between the West and Asia, Wang said.
Australia is the second-largest recipient of Chinese outbound direct investment after the US, according to a report released in May by international auditing firm KPMG and the University of Sydney.
China was Australia`s largest trade partner as of September this year. Trade between China and Australia reached $92.07 billion from January to September, up 25.4 percent from the same period last year, according to data from China`s Ministry of Commerce.
Wang Yiwei is a senior fellow of Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies, Renmin University of China.