Australia and China’s diplomatic relations

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Australia and China have increasingly strained diplomatic relations due to a growing number of issues since mid-2019. However, Prime Minister Scott Morrison declared that Australia would not be intimidated by recent Chinese actions. Despite the tension, both countries are invested in maintaining their strong relationship and are looking for ways to restore their diplomatic ties.

This article will overview Australia and China’s political relationship and analyze recent news and developments.

Overview of Australia and China’s diplomatic relations

Australia and China have had a long history of diplomatic relations, beginning in the 1940s when the Chinese Civil War ended. During the 1950s and 1960s, both countries developed an informal trading relationship. Australia provided agricultural products to China while China provided industrial materials to Australia.

In 1972, full diplomatic relations were established between the two countries with Australia de facto recognizing the People’s Republic of China as the official government of China. The two countries entered an official trade agreement in 1974, thus establishing formal ties between Australia and China. This agreement signified a huge shift not only in terms of diplomatic relations but also in terms of trade, commerce and even cultural engagement.

Since then the relationship between Australia and China had been characterized by rapid growth underpinned by active economic exchanges including strategic agreements such as free trade agreements (FTAs). Over recent years trade between Australia and China has increased sharply with exports from various sectors seeing remarkable progress such as energy resources, food products, agricultural products, etc.

More recently, however, there has been some friction due to political differences on key issues such as human rights protection or military strategies adopted by both nations in various parts of Asia-Pacific. Nevertheless, despite these difficulties both sides continue to cooperate closely on matters related to global challenges like terrorism or climate change due to mutual understanding that close collaboration is essential for achieving real progress towards resolution of serious challenges such as these faced by our times globally.

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Australia won’t be intimidated in row with China: PM Morrison

Recently, tensions have been rising between Australia and China due to the deteriorating diplomatic relations between the two nations.

Last week, Prime Minister Scott Morrison asserted that Australia will not be intimidated in the row with China, calling for stronger ties with its regional partners.

This article will explore the recent developments in the Australia-China diplomatic relations.

Australia’s response to China’s actions

Australia has strongly reacted to various actions by China in recent years, including military actions in the South China Sea and human rights abuses in Xinjiang. In July 2020, Australia imposed sanctions on Chinese officials for their involvement in serious human rights abuses against members of the Muslim Uighur minority in China’s far west region.

The Australian government also publicly raised concerns about China’s actions over disputed waters in the South China Sea, expressing “grave concern” about ongoing militarisation of the area by several states, including China. It called on all claimants to avoid further militarisation and urged them to abide by international law and norms.

The Australian government joined with other countries to express serious concern over the continued detention of two Canadians who had been detained following a court verdict against Chinese technology giant Huawei. The government called for the immediate release of Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor and condemned their detention as arbitrary.

In August 2019 Australia rejected Beijing’s call for Canberra to side with it over its claims in disputed waters after China laid out its stance on the sea dispute involving several countries. It also rejected Beijing’s demand that Australia stop challenging its activities around contested islands in the region. In response to continued reports from human rights advocates on mass arbitrary detention of Uyghurs, suppression of religion, erosion of freedoms and poor labour conditions across Xinjiang province, Prime Minister Scott Morrison released a statement calling for respect for Uyghur people’s cultural identity, religious beliefs and language rights under international law.

China’s response to Australia’s actions

Since Australia’s domestic trade ban on Chinese firm Huawei, China has responded with various diplomatic countermeasures. For example, in response to the Australian government’s call in April 2019 for an independent international inquiry into the origins and handling of the coronavirus pandemic, Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian claimed that the government had suppressed information and acted to “shift blame onto” China.

In May 2020, in response to the Australian government’s decision to launch a formal inquiry into allegations of human rights abuses in Xinjiang province in western China, the Chinese Embassy issued a statement accusing Australia of “double standards” and indicative of possible economic retaliation against Australia. Similarly, following accusations by the Australian Prime Minister in Alan Blakey about Chinese interference in Australian politics, Zhao made further comments condemning Australia for its “sinister motive behind its malicious smears against my country.”

In July 2020, China further imposed tariffs on A$3 billion worth of imports from Australia such as barley, wine, red meat and timber after accusing these industries of creating unfair competition for their Chinese counterparts. While critics accused Beijing of economic retaliation against Australian efforts to raise awareness about human rights abuses in Xinjiang province, Beijing denied these links with an official statement from its Commerce Ministry noting that these tariffs were imposed due to relevant anti-dumping laws.

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Impact on Trade

Australia and China have had a diplomatic row that has impacted their previously close trading relationship.

Prime Minister Morrison has spoken strongly about Australia’s resolve to not be intimidated, but the outcome is still uncertain.

This article will discuss the impact of this diplomatic relationship on the trade between Australia and China.

Potential economic consequences

Australia and China have a strong mutually beneficial trade relationship, with Australia’s exports to China valued at more than $127 billion. This economic partnership is underpinned by diplomatic relations strengthened over the last decade. However, recent tensions between the two countries have raised questions about the potential economic impact of deteriorating relations.

The potential economic consequences of a further deterioration in Australia-China diplomatic ties include a decrease in Australian exports to China, reduced access to the Chinese market for Australian businesses and curtailment of Chinese investments in Australia. Such an outcome would be highly detrimental to both countries’ economies. For example, reduced demand for Australian commodities could lead to a price dip and hurt Australian export revenues, hurting employment opportunities and slowing growth nationwide. Moreover, losing access to Chinese markets will reduce opportunities for Australian businesses seeking to take advantage of the widely anticipated growth in demand and new product developments ongoing within China’s economy. Furthermore, decreasing investments from Chinese companies will limit job creation opportunities further impacting economic growth within both countries.

Given such impacts, there is much at stake for both countries if diplomatic ties continue to deteriorate. To prevent negative consequences both nations’ governments need to work towards restoring trust and communication lines so that arguments can be resolved promptly before more serious damage occurs politically or economically.

Effect on Australian exports to China

The increased trade between the countries has highly impacted the relationship between Australia and China. As China has become the primary trading partner for many products and products of great importance, several changes have occurred in both economies.

Despite the potential benefits, this increased trade also brings a host of concerns and challenges. Firstly, Australian exports to China are subject to a wide range of different tariffs and taxes that can make them comparatively more expensive than goods from elsewhere. Further, Australian exports risk being hit by Chinese policies stimulating domestic demand – such as restricting imports or increasing import tariffs. These threats create uncertainty in the market, leading to decreased consumer confidence in Australian exports.

In addition to the costs imposed on Australian exporters by Chinese policies, there is also an issue associated with navigating China’s complex regulatory environment which can often be very daunting for new exporters. This complexity makes understanding rules surrounding foreign investment or importing goods difficult for those without local knowledge or assistance from somebody in China.

Finally, many Australian industries are increasingly competing against Chinese industries reflecting intensified global competition from increased imports from and exports to China. As such, businesses need to remain competitive by implementing innovative strategies that enable high value-adding goods and services that can beat their Chinese competitors on quality rather than cost alone if they remain competitive in this international market.

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Future Outlook

As Australia and China’s diplomatic relations remain tense, it remains to be seen what the future holds for their relationship. Although Prime Minister Scott Morrison has stated that Australia will not be intimidated in the row with China, there is still uncertainty over how the two nations will move forward.

In this article, we will explore the potential future outlook of Australia and China’s diplomatic relations.

Potential diplomatic solutions

In light of the recent tensions between Australia and China, examining potential diplomatic solutions that both parties can utilize to improve their bilateral relationship is important. From a diplomatic standpoint, there are several objectives that both countries should strive to reach to foster trust and enhance communication. These objectives include respecting each other’s sovereignty, focusing on areas of cooperation, building formal agreements such as free trade agreements and additional economic ties, sharing information and understanding perspectives between both nations by creating an effective platform for dialogue.

Australia should seek opportunities to form stronger relationships with China in areas it is already involved in, such as joint participation in multilateral dialogues to provide alternative solutions for global issues. Additionally, the two countries should endeavor to increase cultural exchange programs that would promote people-to-people exchanges between Australians and Chinese which are vital for establishing ties based on mutual consideration and understanding.

In conclusion, diplomatic solutions provide crucial opportunities for comprehensive dialogue between Australia and China and avenues of collaboration through which both nations can strive towards a path of peace by laying down guidelines for negotiations to strengthen bilateral relations. Furthermore, enacting these potential diplomatic solutions successfully either individually or jointly with other countries participating in similar talks involving China’s relationship with its neighbors will help foster better ties and understanding between Australia and China.

Expert opinions on the current situation

It is widely believed that the relationship between Australia and China is at a critical point, with the two countries making headlines for their diplomatic disputes. This has left many Australians feeling cautious about the future of these bilateral ties and looking for expert opinions on what lies ahead.

In assessing this situation, there has been consensus among analysts and observers that tensions between Australia and China are likely to remain high in the short term, particularly as further economic, geopolitical and security issues arise. However, experts have also noted that diplomatic negotiations can still occur due to the complexity of their bilateral relationship—marked by a mutual need for economic stability and geographical proximity.

When discussing steps or resolutions to this current situation, experts have suggested that dialogue should be maintained between both countries amid conflicting positions on trade, technology exchange and human rights issues. While looking towards the relationship’s future has invited uncertainty, dialogue is essential to achieving compromise and eventually returning to a more normalized state of affairs. In addition to maintaining open lines of communication between both governments, it remains key for each country’s citizens to avoid rhetoric which could inflame tensions further.


In summary, Australia’s diplomatic relations with China have long been strained, but recently it has become even more tense. However, Prime Minister Scott Morrison has declared that Australia will not be intimidated by Chinese threats.

Australia is now exploring other options, like drawing closer to the US, to determine a successful diplomatic pathway with China.

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