Australia could join a proposed economic alliance called “The Quad” with the United States, Japan and India to reduce dependence on trade with China as tensions between Canberra and Beijing reach new levels.
US Deputy Secretary of State Stephen Biegun has proposed grouping four countries as a way to fill a commercial power vacuum in the Indo-Pacific region.
He added that Washington could eventually invite South Korea, Vietnam and New Zealand to join the alliance.
If Australia joins the trade group, it could lead to further tightening of diplomatic relations with China, which is worsened by Scott Morrison’s proposal for an independent investigation into the origins of the coronavirus pandemic.
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Australia could join a trade organization called “The Quad” with the United States, Japan and India at the proposal of the United States government
Amid an ongoing war of words over Morrison’s strengthening Australia’s relations with the United States, the Communist country has imposed heavy tariffs on Australian farmers, including an 80% tax on barley.
Biegun specifically named China as he outlined plans for “ The Quad ” in a speech on Aug.31.
He said the group could act as a bulwark against “a potential challenge from China” and resemble the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
“The Indo-Pacific region actually lacks strong multilateral structures,” Biegun said.
“They have nothing of the fortitude of NATO or the European Union.
“The strongest institutions in Asia are often not inclusive enough and therefore … there is certainly an invitation at some point to formalize a structure like this.”
US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and his wife Jenny Morrison. The United States and Australia could form half of an organization that would seek to emulate the North Atlantic Treaty Organization
China is Australia’s largest trading partner in terms of both imports and exports.
Data released in August showed that China’s share of Australia’s exports had reached an all-time high of 48.8% at a cost of $ 14.6 billion.
On Sunday, Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Frances Adamson said it is now more important than ever to resist Asian power.
“Australia should, Australia must, Australia is, defend its interests because if we don’t, we are on very slippery ground,” he told the Australian.
Ms. Adamson said facing China during the coronavirus crisis resulted in Australia’s toughest diplomatic challenge in a generation.
China is responsible for 48.8% of Australia’s exports and the international body could reduce national dependence on the Communist body for trade. Pictured: A member of the Chinese navy in front of a Shandong aircraft carrier
In June, activists burned a poster of Chinese President Xi Jinping in India. The US Deputy Secretary of State said the organization could act as a bulwark against “a potential challenge from China”
The former Australian ambassador to Beijing from 2011 to 2015 explained that Asian power was becoming more assertive.
“We have seen China try to establish itself in this region, the Indo-Pacific and the world, in ways that suit its interests but do not suit the interests of countries like Australia,” he said.
Ms. Adamson said Australians wanted “a peaceful, stable and prosperous region” and the government would not tolerate any interference with these ideals.
He warned that democratic institutions that Australians take for granted, such as the legal system and parliament, were “at stake”.
ABC’s Bill Birtles (pictured) and Australian Financial Review’s Michael Smith returned to Sydney on Tuesday after a five-day diplomatic confrontation with China.
Mr. Birtles was seen at Sydney airport on Tuesday after the frightening rush to leave China
‘We have to make sure that our institutions are strong and that we can defend ourselves. And that’s where the role of diplomacy comes in, ”Adamson explained.
He said Australia must “act” to counter the “direct challenge” posed by China’s assertion and aggression.
The DFAT secretary also said that the narrow escape of two Australian journalists from China was the latest example of “difficult issues” between the two countries.
ABC’s Bill Birtles and Australian Financial Review’s Michael Smith returned to Sydney on Tuesday after a five-day diplomatic confrontation.
Chinese President Xi Jinping examines troops from a car during a military parade on Tiananmen Square in Beijing
The Smartraveller government travel advice website (pictured) was updated on July 7 to warn Australians of the risk of arbitrary detention in China.
Chinese police told reporters they were persons of interest after another Australian and still business reporter, Cheng Lei, was arrested in Beijing.
Mr. Birtles and Mr. Smith took refuge in Australian diplomatic complexes for days as their travel rights were revoked.
Consular officials eventually secured safe passage back to Australia after the couple agreed to be interviewed.
The Australian government has advised all Australians not to travel to China, warning that they could face arbitrary detention.
The Daily Mail Australia contacted DFAT for comment.