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Canberra being fearfully absurd antagonizing largest trade partner: China Daily editorial

chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2021-09-06 19:31

People are silhouetted against the Sydney Opera House at sunset in Australia, November 2, 2016. [Photo/Agencies]

When Australian Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg warned the country's businesses to brace for new tensions with China in a forum at the Australian National University on Monday, he showed the Scott Morrison administration is still intent on holding to its mischarted course.

Despite the great lengths Frydenberg went to in hyping up Beijing's so-called economic coercion targeting Australia's economy, he could not back up that claim with data. Indeed, contrary to his cries of alarm, Australia's exports to China rose to a record A$19.4 billion ($14.42 billion) in the 12 months to July 31, up 72 percent from the prior 12-month period.

Frydenberg's remarks should be viewed in the light that the Morrison administration is set on its strategic miscalculation of making Australia a blind follower of the United States.

With the US trying by hook or by crook to decouple the Chinese economy from the rest of the world, Frydenberg was simply scaremongering to that effect.

But Australia's rosy export figures with China show the Australian business community is not that easily hoodwinked by the "China threat" theory the Morrison administration keeps peddling and is unwilling to follow the course it has chosen.

In fact, China always keeps the door of economic and trade cooperation open to other countries, including Australia, and it is constantly striving to facilitate trade and investment and expand its opening-up. That explains why the robust demand of the Chinese market is being transformed into increased trade with almost all of the country's major trade partners.

Since Morrison took office as prime minister in 2018, Australia has wholeheartedly followed the US in its geopolitical game against China, which has resulted in it cornering itself into an extremely awkward position as it is harming political ties with its largest trade partner, and cannot find an alternative to replace it.

Given the economic recession the Australian economy is slipping into due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Australia will be burning its boats and bridges if its administration continues to antagonize China, a country with which it has no territorial disputes, historical issues or conflicts of interests.

The Morrison administration should stop playing the jackal to the tiger as the US attempts to harm China's core interests and interfere in China's internal affairs.

It is the Morrison administration's imaginary fears of China that are making it scared of shadows. It should have the confidence and courage to let Australia stand on its own two feet in the Asia-Pacific, for which it doesn't need to cling to the US.

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