China recently cancelled its economic dialogue with Australia amidst continuous conflict since the pandemic started. Meanwhile, New Zealand, Australia’s Oceanic neighbour, who normally has a different stance on China, recently recognized China’s Uighur rights violation though with a caveat. In that light, let’s look at the equation between the three and how they respond to China differently.
Crux of the Matter
What Happened Recently
China indefinitely halted ‘China-Australia Strategic Economic Dialogue’. It was done just after Australia cancelled Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) project between its state Victoria and China.
Across In New Zealand
NZ officially recognized human rights abuse of Uighurs in Xinjiang of China. However, it didn’t recongize it as ‘genocide’ on demand of PM Jacinda Ardern’s party. Still, the move alleviated widespread accusation of NZ ignoring China’s violations.
A Tale Of Two Countries
Oceanic nations Australia and New Zealand have widely differed in response to China. Generally, the former has more aggressive policy.
- Australia was among the 1st to ban Huawei and ZTE 5G of China in 2018 over ‘security issues’.
- It was also among the nations not working with China’s Belt and Road Initiative and had in fact cancelled the one between its state Victoria and China.
- The big ‘dent’ came in 2020, when Australia called for independent investigation into Coronavirus origin.
- In turn, China, Australia’s biggest trade partner, imposed heavy sanctions on its exports like 80% on Barley, 200% on wine etc.
- Chinese investment in Australia also decreased by 61%.
- Analysts claim NZ is more pro-China in policies than Australia.
- New Zeland was the 1st developed nation to sign ‘Free Trade Agreement’ with China in 2008.
- Notably, NZ was the 1st ‘Five Eyes’ group country to join China’s BRI.
- The country also refused joint condemnation of Uighur conditions with Five Eyes group.
Five Eyes is an intelligence sharing group formed in WW2. The countries members if this group are Australia, Canada, NZ, UK and US.
- Australia and NZ have China as their biggest trade partner which leads to constraint on level of antagonism they can afford with China.
- Both, although recognizing ‘rights violation’, refuse to recognize treatment of Uighurs as ‘genocide’.
- The south China sea is an important trade route for transportation of crude oil. It creates the route from Arabian gulf to Thailand, Hong Kong, Taiwan, South Korea, and Japan.
- The Nine-dash line is a self-defined demarcation line adopted by China. It is used by them for their claims of territorialization over major parts of south China sea.
- Mineral deposits like titaniferous magnetite, zircon, monazite, tin, gold, and chromite are highly exploited in near shore regions in the South China sea.
- BBC – China ‘indefinitely’ suspends key economic dialogue with Australia
- The Times – New Zealand is first Five Eyes country to join China’s Belt and Road project
- The New York Times – Australia Bars China’s Huawei From Building 5G Wireless Network
- France24 – New Zealand declines to call China’s Uyghur treatment genocide
- Reuters – Australia cancels Belt and Road deals; China warns of further damage to ties