søndag 6. desember 2020

Australia: The Foreign Relations Bill is a big test for Morrison and his China strategy this week

China's ham-fisted effort in digitally altered diplomacy via an offensive tweet and the angry, instant reaction from the Prime Minister inevitably sparked a week of debate about proportionality. Was it counter-productive for China's Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian to post an image of an Australian soldier slashing the throat of an Afghan child? Or did he achieve his desired result? Was Scott Morrison's furious response an appropriate defence of Australia's national character? Or should he have left it to more junior figures to respond?

These questions are worth asking and debating but are ultimately about tactics. The bigger question, which remains unanswered is what, if anything, Australia can do to prevent this troubled relationship worsening in 2021. How to prevent more Australian exporters being punished by China?