Australia-China Relations at Fifty

The first four decades of diplomatic relations between Australia and the People’s Republic of China (PRC) proceeded largely along an upward trajectory. Increasing institutional, economic, cultural and other links drew the two countries and peoples closer together. There have been times of friction, including a period of several years following the killing of pro-democracy protesters … more

New Government, New Rhetoric, Old Contradictions

The change of government in Australia in May 2022 presented an opportunity for improvement in the Australia-China relationship ahead of its fiftieth anniversary in December. The new Chinese ambassador Xiao Qian, who arrived in January, had invited Australia to meet China half-way in mending strained relations. The Albanese Labor government brought a change in tone … more

Australia–Taiwan Relations Under the New Labor Government

Australia’s relationship with Taiwan is based on two overriding and related principles, which both direct policy and limit engagement. The first principle is the One China Policy adopted by Australia when Canberra recognised the People’s Republic of China (PRC) as the sole representative of China on 21 December 1972 and acknowledged ‘the position of the … more

China Recalibrates Its Strategy in the Pacific Region

China and traditional regional powers, such as the United States, Australia, New Zealand and Japan, are jockeying for influence in the Pacific. There are signs that China is now recalibrating its strategy in response to the newly energised competition, which itself was largely triggered by China’s growing activities in the region. In the past, China’s … more

Contentious Friendship

It is over fourteen years since I suggested to Kevin Rudd that he use the expression zhengyou 諍友 in a speech he was to give at Peking University (PKU) in April 2008. Zhengyou means a friend or an adviser who dares give voice to unpleasant truths, one who offers discomforting opinions and counsels caution. The … more

China’s ‘Green Steel’ and its Implications for Australia

In June 2022, the Chinese Ministry of Ecology and Environment and sixteen other government departments jointly released their ‘National Climate Change Adaptation Strategy’. The document outlined plans for the People’s Republic of China (PRC) to become a ‘climate-resilient society’ by 2035. It emphasised the need for adaptation and mitigation, namely, reducing emissions through new technologies … more