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”.
The introduction of the National Security Legislation Amendment (Espionage and Foreign Interference) Bill 2017 signposts the lowest point in the Australia-China bilateral relationship in recent history. At the centre of the breakdown is not the legislation alone. Despite warnings in 2015 from ASIO, both major political parties continued to accept donations from individuals alleged to be foreign agents of the People’s Republic of China (PRC).
Across the world, the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and its internationally mobile students are changing the face of higher education. So much more than simply ‘fee paying students’, this cohort has laid the foundation for substantial relationships between PRC universities and their international counterparts, increased opportunities within the PRC for students and businesses of the host country, and have been a boon for local business.
Within less than a decade, over 25% of international visitors to Australia will come from the People’s Republic of China (PRC). They will account for more than 1 out of every 3 dollars spent by international visitors by 2026, totalling $26.2 billion per year – up from $9.8 billion in 2017. But according to the Australia China Business Council, Australia’s tourism industry is not ready for this boom; its ‘China Readiness’ score is only 65 points out of 100.
At the entrance to Alibaba’s headquarters in Hangzhou is a large, traditional-style Chinese painting. On closer inspection, hidden in the scene are many of the big names in tech: Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, and Bill Gates to name a few. The painting captures the essence of the Alibaba dream: to surpass the past achievements of the Western tech world, and forge the future.
The 2017 Foreign Policy White Paper reflects the increasing complexity of Australia’s relationship with the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and the need to balance trade, investment, and security. Whilst two-way trade remains strong and healthy, the PRC’s assertiveness to expand its geopolitical presence and influence in Australian politics has caused much concern and frustration for Australia.