Will China back down?

posted in: Life and things | 0
Storm clouds on the horizon

It’s always interesting to read about China’s reactions to the latest ‘provocations’ from here and there, including, of course, Australia. Just last week Foreign Minister Marise Payne announced she had cancelled Victorian Premier Dan Andrews’ Belt and Road agreement with China, citing Australia’s sovereign interests.

China’s response was swift. “This is another unreasonable and provocative move taken by the Australian side against China,” a Chinese embassy spokesperson said in a statement.” China’s ambassador to Australia, Cheng Jingye, has announced that we’re guilty of racial discrimination against Chinese people, so tourism and education are both in the cross-hairs for the next salvo in the trade war. We’ve even been accused of ‘bullying’ behaviour towards China (haha). Who’s the bully, then?

China has accused the EU of bullying, too, stating “The EU only allows itself to arbitrarily smear and attack others, and even arbitrarily imposes sanctions based on false information and lies, but does not allow the Chinese to talk back or fight back,” said foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying. “This in itself is double standards, a manifestation of bullying and hypocrisy.” [source]

Needless to say, the CCP took umbrage when the US, Japan, India, and Australia participated in naval drills in the Pacific. The four nations have elevated this informal ‘quad’ to head of state level, with a video link-up last month. The group will be looking at rolling out covid vaccine to poorer countries in the region, as well as keeping an eye on China.

I’ve said before that world politics is playing out a little too closely to the events of the 1930’s for my peace of mind but at least this time appeasement is pretty much off the agenda. China’s behaviour has elicited responses all over the world. The UK is sending a carrier group to the South China Sea area in response to China’s aggressive attempts to take over islands that are part of the Philippines. The Philippine defence ministry has issued a stern warning to China to mind its own business after the CCP objected when Manila conducted military exercises in the waters. US President Joe Biden, who was pro-Chinese in the past (and weren’t we all), has changed his tune and I think there’s every reason to believe he will respond to any attempt by the CCP to invade Taiwan. In fact, I sincerely hope so. If China is allowed to forcibly annex Taiwan – a separate country that has not been part of China for a hundred years – we might as well all run up a white flag.

I suspect the CCP has over-played its hand. It has bought out Africa, a lot of South America, and many Pacific nations, and Western nations all have relied too heavily on China in manufacturing and trade. China expected everybody to cave in to its demands. That hasn’t happened, leading to increasingly strident blustering from its wolf warrior ‘diplomats’ and its state-controlled press. Let’s hope the leadership calms down and we don’t end up with a war.

We sell a lot of iron ore to China. It’s the one thing bolstering our trade revenue after China started its trade war on Australian products like barley, beef, wine, and even coal. But I can’t help but think about ‘Pig-iron’ Bob Menzies, our longest-serving PM. He was attorney-general during the 1938-39 union dispute over the export of pig-iron to Japan. The Japanese were using the iron to build military hardware for the undeclared war against China – and a little later for its offensive in WW2. [source] I think it might be worth playing a bit of tit for tat and reducing the flow of iron ore to China. We don’t want it coming back at us as missiles.

We also should be doing what we can to help India through its covid crisis. The situation there is nothing short of horrific. The reported infection rates and death toll are only what is coming from the hospitals. Many people don’t make it that far. I suspect the death toll will eclipse America’s.

On the home front, Pete and I continue to stay at home a lot. I’ve started on a new story which will probably be a novella following on from a previous novel. There. I’ve said it so I’ll have to finish it now.

Let’s hope those storm clouds roll away

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