Here's A Great Explanation For Australia's Diplomatic Struggle With China

Xi Jinping-ChinaGetty/pool

Relations between Australia and its biggest trading partner China have cooled recently.

After an Air Identification Defence Zone was established over a set of disputed islands in the East China Sea, Australia hauled the Chinese ambassador in for an explanation.

This marked a low point in diplomacy between the two countries since the Abbott government came to office, and sparked fears that bilateral co-operation could suffer.

Hugh White, a professor of Strategic Studies at the Australian National ­University, sums it up perfectly in an article in the Australian Financial Review:

“Abbott and Bishop came to office with a strong disposition to support the US and strengthen the relationship with Japan. There was a conviction they could do both of these things without any cost to the relationship with China.

“This showed a curious and ­deep-seated naivety about the strategic realities in Asia in 2013. North-east Asia is more strategically contested than at any time since the end of World War II.”

The article says officials in China are worried about a change of tone from Australia’s leaders, and that it could threaten a recently signed ­strategic partnership.

There’s more here.

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