The age of US-led ‘engagement’ with the People’s Republic of China (PRC) is over, but a new framework for Australia-China relations is yet to emerge. Beyond the present uncertainty lies the opportunity to build an independent Australian outlook on the PRC: a new model of engagement fit for purpose in the 21st century. A model that constructively engages with the PRC, but also addresses concerns about risks to Australia’s national interests.
International students from the People’s Republic of China (PRC) are important to Australia’s economy. Education is Australia’s third-largest sector for GDP growth, and PRC students alone contributed $10 billion the Australian economy in 2017. However, intense public debate in Australia about the influence of the Communist Party of China (CPC) on Australian politics and a lack of effort from universities has led to some PRC students returning home unsatisfied. This cannot continue.
The successful landing of Chang’e-4 on the far side of the moon in January 2019 focussed the world’s attention on the space program of the Peoples Republic of China (PRC). From the early ‘two bombs, one satellite’ policy of the Mao era, the PRC’s development in space technologies has been rapid, and the PRC is on track to be a major space power by 2030.
Careful and consistent use of language is a vital element of diplomacy. The terms that policymakers use to define regions are often sensitive. One example of such terminology is the term ‘Indo-Pacific’, which has been adopted over the past several years by a number of governments, including Australia’s, to describe what was previously known as the ‘Asia-Pacific’ region. Australia’s use of this term is problematic and should be reconsidered.
The People’s Republic of China’s (PRC) Healthy China 2030 initiative has put health as an explicit national policy priority, and a focus of China’s policymaking apparatus. As the PRC strives towards universal access to public health, the health technology assessment (HTA) framework has been increasingly adopted as a mechanism to manage sustainable access to healthcare. While Australia has a long history of implementing the HTA framework, critical policy lessons arise for Australia from the PRC’s adoption of HTA.
The Belt Road Initiative (BRI), an ambitious infrastructure investment program of the People’s Republic of China (PRC), has led to substantial debt burdens among several countries in Australia’s periphery which threatens their economic independence and sovereign decision-making autonomy. Canberra’s challenge is to find ways to counteract Beijing’s growing influence in low-income Pacific nations, which have long been considered a part of Australia’s foreign policy backyard.
When it comes to Australia and the People’s Republic of China (PRC) as trading partners, the latter has the upper hand. Similar to the romantic trysts that have been the subject of much water cooler gossip as The Bachelor ramps up for another year, the PRC stands poised, holding the metaphorical rose while Australia jostles for attention over other prospective (trade) partners.
Muscle-flexing by the People’s Republic of China (PRC) is propelling a shift in regional power dynamics and contributing to militarisation of the Asia-Pacific region. This new reality ought to be a wakeup call for Australia to strengthen its defence sector by engaging with India.
Australia will need to study Chinese cultural knowledge more comprehensively to remain competitive in the ongoing Asian Century. Studying Chinese strategic culture, notably Chinese conflict management principles, is both necessary and the first step to take. To put it simply, the importance of understanding the role of strategy in the People’s Republic of China’s (PRC) business culture and policy formulation is captured by the title of Professor Xuetong Yan’s book “Ancient Chinese Thought, Modern China’s Power”.