Trump and Turnbull meeting to discuss trade negotiations

Can Trump and Turnbull Contain a Rising China?

Over the past few months, Australia and China’s relationship has become increasingly strained. While trade remains strong, tensions are brewing between the two governments.

Like Australia, the US has started to investigate China’s influence within US communities and educational institutions.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull will meet with US President Donald Trump in Washington DC this week. One of the discussions on the table will be to establish a regional joint infrastructure scheme between Japan, India, the US and Australia, according to The Australian Financial Review.

This scheme is set to be an ‘alternative’ to the One Belt, One Road initiative, according to a senior White House official.

Previously, the four nations mentioned above were part of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (QSD). This allowed for participating nations to hold informal talks, as well as joint military exercises.

It was disbanded during former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s tenure, after pressure from China to withdraw. It was also a time of growing tension between the US and China.

Many believed that the QSD was created in response to China’s rising military power and growing economy. 

The QSD was restored in 2017, a decade after it was disbanded. However, Australia has yet to agree to join its naval forces to perform military exercises with all participating members.

With the QSD restored, Beijing will be watching the exchange between Trump and Turnbull very closely. China was not pleased about the QSD restoration when it happened in November last year. That also could have factored into the verbal attacks thrown by both China and Australia in the final months of 2017.

And while Labor states that they are keen to sign up to the One Belt, One Road initiative, the Turnbull government remains reluctant.

According to the AFR, the US’ decision to set up their own regional infrastructure scheme:

‘…comes after the Financial Review reported exclusively last week concerns by Admiral Harry Harris, who is set to be US ambassador to Australia, over China’s growing influence and predatory economic behaviour in the Indo-Pacific.’

While Australia needs to tread carefully where its largest trade partner is concerned, it also needs to do right by its people. With the growing influence China presents, Australia cannot continue to allow Beijing to sway elections, education and community.

Alana Sumic

Alana Sumic

Alana Sumic is an editor and writer for The Australian Tribune. She has a Bachelor of Arts from La Trobe University and a Masters in Publishing and Editing from Monash University.

She specialises in national and international politics and current affairs. She’s passionate about delivering the unfiltered stories that matter to you, on all topics.

Comments: 2

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  1. The challenge is the historical track record.
    i.e
    1953 Iran – UK and US shut down a democratically elected government that was not corrupt and they couldn’t manipulate, installing a brutal corrupt dictator the Shah with his feared secret police – they got a great deal on oil. That led to the Religious uprising and the issues we have today.
    In Iraq it was the installation of Saddam , then further support to contain the Iranian Shiite threat and Saddam invading Kuwait to get the oil to pay the loans from his Sunni nation lenders funding his war with Shiite Iran.
    You can run a list of Nations they have screwed up for the benefit of US and UK interests, most of whom became under their guidance effective dictatorships for the benefit of a few and to the detriment of the people
    Puerto Rico of course was a spoil of war and became a US Territory and how well have they looked after them.

    China does not have that baggage

  2. Good Comment Mr Goodwin. China doesn’t have the same baggage but has also been allowed free reign. I agree that UK US (and don’t forget Spain, France, Netherlands, Portugal, even Russia) have all manipulated another countries somewhere along the lines over the past few hundred years. UK manipulated China to the point of crippling it and taking Hong Kong of it’s hands to maintain Asian control. China has some baggage in that respect but it has been fortunate enough to have been left well alone for many decades now. China still needs to be kept in check, as do all powerful and influential nations. As I commented on another article, Australia in particular sells no steel or aluminium to the US in any great volumes. We rely on china to manufacture steel and aluminium for us by selling it our mineral ores. So if we don’t maintain some checks and balances we’re up the creek if something untoward does occur and we suddenly need to manufacture our own stuff. We haven’t maintained our own value adding to our resources. Same goes for oil refining and now Gas.