The Australia-China bilateral relationship is very significant to Australia, and is mostly based on substantial trade ties. Crucially, China accounts for over a third of Australia’s total export income, however diplomatic and economic relations are currently at a low point. Globally, China is asserting its emerging superpower status and it appears actions by the communist party leadership in Beijing are primarily responsible for the deterioration in the bilateral relationship – however both sides have made mistakes, and Australia is not without fault. China’s blunt use of repeated trade sanctions to penalise Australia for real or imagined slights risks the mutually beneficial trading relationship being undermined by damaging political interference.
What are the various grievances and points of difference between these two countries? How can Australia serve its own national and strategic interests, and maintain its foreign policy objectives, without needlessly antagonising China? Can we end the trade war and repair relations?