Friday 23 Oct 2020 | 14:37 | SYDNEY
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China-Australia Relations

Overview

Australia-China relations are characterised by strong trade bonds. China is Australia’s largest trading partner, while Australia is a leading source of resources for China. More recent trends show that Australian exports are now expanding well beyond the resource sector.

Politically the relationship has had its ups and downs. In recent years there have been concerns over Chinese investment in Australia, Beijing’s establishment of an Air Defence Identification Zone in the East China Sea, and the arrest of ethnically Chinese Australian citizens in China, among others.  But there have also been high points to the political relationship. In 2013, China and Australia agreed to establish a prime-ministerial level dialogue between the two countries, which makes Australia one of only a handful of countries to have such a dialogue.

What the Lowy Institute does

Lowy Institute Senior Fellow and expert on China and North Asia, Richard McGregor and others provide regular commentary on Australia-China issues. The Lowy Interpreter also features regular discussions on the bilateral relationship from a wide range of contributors.

Australia's FONOP debate: A necessary storm in a teacup

This is a disconcerting period for all those hoping to see more pushback against China's bid for supremacy in the South China Sea, and its pressure tactics towards that end. The US is in the throes of an epochal political convulsion masquerading as a presidential election campaign. Its ability to

On Australian public opinion, Xi gets it wrong

With the G20 leaders' summit in full swing earlier this week, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has been meeting with leaders from the UK, India, France and China. Turnbull had much to discuss with Xi Jinping in particular, as The Australian's David Crowe reported: An

Australia cannot afford to spurn its Chinese diaspora

The Australian Financial Review is running an ‘agents of influence’ series, in line with the media’s shift from a focus on Chinese investment to a broader discussion of China’s influence in Australia. One article has cast a shadow over the million-plus ethnic Chinese in

Security shouldn't trump economics on the Ausgrid sale

Security trumps economics, or so the Ausgrid saga seems to have taught us. But maybe this framing is all wrong. Security and economics might be better thought of as being directly connected. If this is so, Australia is in real danger of building a poorer, less secure future through a flawed premise

Why Australia is the canary in the regional coal mine

It has been an interesting few months in Australia-China relations. Following the Ausgrid decision, accusations of drug cheating at the Rio Olympics and the response to the arbitral tribunal decision, Australia has been on receiving end of considerable Chinese chagrin. Whether in the formal

Call for Australia-China treaty to guide foreign investment

Just when Treasurer Scott Morrison will have been hoping to put last week’s surprisingly tough move against two Chinese power industry investors behind him, a major new report has reopened the entire Chinese foreign investment debate. The biggest ever independent study of the future of the

The Global Times and Beijing: A nuanced relationship

How seriously should we take China's Global Times? This always interesting question is particularly pertinent after the nationalist tabloid took aim at Australia on Saturday, referring to Australia as a 'paper cat', and promising revenge for Australia's position on the South China Sea dispute. 

Shaping China’s response to the PCA ruling

China’s national pride as well as its ambitions to exert control over the South China Sea were dealt a heavy blow by the 12 July decision of the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague in the case filed by the Philippines. As expected, Beijing firmly rejected the ruling, declaring the award

'The Pivot': Three profound misunderstandings about Asia

I thank Hugh White for his most recent rebuttal, which addresses my response to his book review of The Pivot: The Future of American Statecraft in Asia. I have known Hugh White since working together in the 1990s, when we labored side-by-side in our respective defense agencies, ironically seeking to

Malcolm Turnbull's foreign policy: The first six months

By Melissa Conley Tyler, national executive director at the Australian Institute of International Affairs and Genevieve Lai, an intern at the AIIA's national office. Right now one of the country's favourite parlour games is to bemoan Malcolm Turnbull's freakish similarity to Tony Abbott.

Address by Peter Varghese AO - An Australian world view: A practitioner's perspective

On 20 August 2015, the Lowy Institute hosted an address from Peter Varghese AO, Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Mr Varghese presented his perspective on key themes in Australia’s Foreign Policy

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