Tensions with China simmer Down Under


Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s government has decided to pursue legislation against espionage and improper foreign influence on Australia’s political system. This comes after the exposure of suspicious ties between Australian Labor Party (ALP) senator Sam Dastyari and Chinese organizations.

  • In response, “China has declared it does not interfere in the domestic affairs of other countries and Beijing has urged the Turnbull government to ‘discard prejudice’ and deepen the bilateral relationship,” according to the Guardian.
  • Separately, the Guardian says that Former Australian foreign minister Bob Carr has warned that his nation “should remain neutral and not be viewed as trying to ‘contain’ China in alliance with US, India and Japan,” in a recently resuscitated grouping known as the Quad. Carr was speaking on the sidelines of the Wuzhen World Internet Conference as a guest of the Chinese government, where he said that “Australia is the only one of the four countries that is not the strategic rival of China.”
  • Meanwhile, in New Zealand, Reuters reports that Foreign Minister Winston Peters said on Tuesday that his country “will continue to seek closer cooperation with China,” a change of tone from his earlier “protectionist campaign rhetoric.”