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What China hopes it will achieve by ‘biting and bullying’ Australia

Neil Mitchell
Article image for What China hopes it will achieve by ‘biting and bullying’ Australia

After a tweet from a Chinese official yesterday, which was dubbed “repugnant” by Scott Morrison, tensions between China and Australia have escalated further.

Overnight, a state-owned newspaper dubbed Australia “evil”.

Neil Mitchell says Australia’s relationship with China is “at tipping point”.

“China is biting and bullying. The pander is belligerent, it’s dangerous.”

Director of Defence, Strategy and National Security at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI), Michael Shoebridge, says the reason for China’s aggressive approach is twofold.

“There’s a lot of domestic politics here,” he told Neil Mitchell.

“This type of aggressive wolf-warrior diplomacy … plays very well to the Chinese politbureau.”

But China also believes its approach will lead to Australia backing down.

“Beijing calculates that further bullying of Australia will change Australian policy on things like foreign investment, foreign interference and cyber security,” Mr Shoebridge said.

Mr Shoebridge says China won’t ease its tactics, so Australia must adapt to rely on China less.

“China┬áis closing their market more and more to countries that show any independent thinking,” he said.

“It’s going to take us two to three years to grow and expand other markets.

“It would be great to get to a place where we don’t sell 90 per cent of our lobsters to China, perhaps we sell 20 per cent, and then we can have mutual respect because they just won’t have the economic levers that they have now.”

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Neil Mitchell
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