Yesterday’s ugly, viciously confrontational Chinese tweet insulting Australia has been instructive to onlookers.
Flat White asked a seasoned Asian diplomat for his take on the Chinese Communist Party’s current ramping up of trade war tensions. The reply was blunt:
China never acts simply out if pique. This was a carefully stage-managed escalation taking opportunistic advantage of a domestic situation that got out of hand.
The CCP is not out just to humiliate Australia. It is demonstrating to the ‘small dragons’ of South East Asia that if China can bring a western country like Australia to heel, it can do much more and worse, to them.
Australia’s “mistake”e, if you will, was to make so much of what, in China would have been brushed under the table. To publicly name and shame Defence Force soldiers who were in Afghanistan by order of their own government, opened the way for China to retaliate, signalling clearly “you accused us of human rights violations – look in the mirror”.
The Prime Minister stumbled when he involved himself. It was better handled inside Defence. Morrison has asked China for an apology which he won’t get because China doesn’ tapologise — we saw that with Covid.
As well in China and most Asian countries, the military are upholders of the state; the guardians and protectors of the nation.
To step back from this the Australian government must show the nation is behind it and speak for the people. No kowtowing because China sees that as weakness and lead to greater demands, more concessions. The CCP knows how to bully — and is heartened that Trump is on the way out.
My informant sighs.
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