US accuses China of ‘economic war’ against Australia

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US President Joe Biden’s top Pacific envoy on Tuesday accused China of trying to “bring Australia to its knees” through sanctions that amounted to an “economic war”.

In remarks from the Sydney-based Lowy Institute, veteran diplomat Kurt Campbell teased Beijing for its strong-arm strategy.

Depicting China as a swift ceasefire and determined to enforce its will overseas, Campbell said Beijing was engaged in a “truly dramatic economic war – directed against Australia”.

Over the past two years, China has introduced a slew of punitive sanctions on Australian goods in a fierce political dispute that has shut down ministerial-level contacts and plunged ties into the most severe crisis since Tiananmen.

“China’s priority would have been to break Australia. To bring Australia to its knees,” said Campbell, who currently serves as the White House Indo-Pacific coordinator.

China was angered by Australia’s desire to legislate against foreign influence operations, ban Huawei from 5G contracts and calls for an independent investigation into the origins of the coronavirus pandemic.

Australian barley, coal, copper ore, cotton, hay, logs, rock lobster, sugar, wine, beef, citrus fruits, cereals, table grapes, dairy products and infant formula are all subject to sugar restrictions.

The US envoy said that under President Xi Jinping, China has become “more risk-accepting, more assertive, fundamentally more determined to take steps that other countries would see as coercive”.

The Biden administration has pursued a policy of “strategic competition” with China – acknowledging the rivalry between the two powers but maintaining ties so that the conflict does not get out of hand.

nuclear powered submarines

Biden recently surprised many in the region by agreeing to share sensitive nuclear-powered submarine technology with Canberra, allowing Australia to dramatically increase its military deterrence.

Campbell indicated the move – part of a broader three-way AUKUS agreement that includes the United Kingdom – would bind the three allies for generations.

“When we look back on the Biden administration – I believe it will be one of the most important things that we accomplish. And I think in 20 years it will be a given that our sailors together Let’s go to our submarine port in Australia.”

Campbell acknowledged that Canberra and London’s economic ties with rapidly growing China had put the alliance in doubt.

He said, “Seven or eight years ago, if you asked the countries that were most likely to regroup strategically and reconsider its options … at the top of that list is probably both Great Britain and Australia. Will be.”

Campbell also revealed that other Pacific allies would likely participate in the cyber or other non-submarine aspects of the AUKUS agreement.

“Several close aides came to us immediately afterwards and said, Can we attend? Can we join?

“It is to the credit of Australia and Great Britain, he insisted, yes, this is not a one-off architecture.”



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