It was good for trade and peaceful regional relations. But on Thursday, with the announcement of a new security deal with the United States and the United Kingdom, which will see Australia eventually field nuclear-powered submarines, Canberra made its position clear -- it has chosen Washington over Beijing. By choosing sides, some experts say Australia has unnecessarily antagonized China, the country's largest trading partner, while at the same time making itself overly reliant on the US for protection should tensions escalate in the Indo-Pacific.
In recent years, Prime Minister Scott Morrison has moved to embrace the US more closely as a security partner, building a personal relationship with former President Donald Trump and attempting to do with same with his successor. At the same time, relations between Canberra and Beijing have been slowly unraveling, a spiral which only worsened after the start of the Covid-19 pandemic amid questions over the virus's origins.
On Thursday, China reacted angrily to the new security deal with Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijan saying the blame for deteriorating relations "rests entirely with the Australian side."