Australia Is Not Taking Side
PM Scott Morrison insists Australia is not under pressure to choose between China and the US, referring to an overnight meeting between Foreign Minister Marise Payne and her Chinese counterpart as a sign of a relationship in “good shape” during the UN General Assembly in New York.
During the UN assembly, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres highlighted the increasing risk of a Chinese and US economic decoupling as US President Donald Trump echoed the criticisms Mr. Morrison made in reference to China’s trade practices earlier that week. During his UN address, Mr. Trump, like Mr. Morrison, demanded China no longer be identified as a developing nation within the UN. President Trump outlined the economic model China employs as a way of strengthening his argument: “Not only has China declined to adopt reforms, it has embraced an economic model dependent on massive market barriers, heavy state subsidies, currency manipulation, product dumping forced technology transfers and the theft of intellectual property and also trade secrets on a grand scale.” Mr. Trump then made reference to the trade war and outlined that there would be no end unless a deal addressing these concerns was agreed upon.
Mr. Morrison supported President Trump in his address, reinforcing his belief that China should no longer have the self-designated developing nation status. The PM said China’s large overseas investments and military build-up were “not the actions of a developing country” and highlight that these are indeed actions of a well economically established nation. Mr. Morrison disarmed speculation of an alliance with the US against China, and outlined it was not taking sides but just recognising that China has developed into a powerful nation and the WTO needed to adapt to this development.
Mr. Morrison said, “The biggest players in the (global) economy have reached a new level and that just means that the global institutions and settings that sit around that have to be recalibrated to recognize that.” He further reinforced that he would not take sides between “our great ally and our comprehensive strategic partner.” The PM recognised Senator Payne’s meeting with Mr. Wang was one of good spirit and Senator Payne expressed that the meeting was “very positive.”
Mr. Morrison’s optimism remained unscathed as he believes the economic split between the US and China would be prevented as a result of a negotiated deal.
By Peter Cassar
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