China’s angry reaction to Australia’s landmark deal for nuclear submarines has cast a fresh chill over what the Albanese government has been hoping as a warming relationship with Beijing.
Under a military arrangement with the United States and United Kingdom, Australia will command a fleet of eight nuclear-powered submarines within the next three decades.
But the federal government remains hopeful the countries’ trade relationship will not be affected.
Following the announcement of the up-to $368 billion deal by Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, China accused Australia of going down a “path of error and danger”.
China’s foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said Australia, the UK and US had disregarded the concerns of the international community in launching the deal.
Trade Minister Don Farrell, who met with his Chinese counterpart Wang Wentao in February, said he was hopeful discussions to improve Australia’s trade relations with Beijing wouldn’t be affected by the AUKUS announcement.
‘We want a mature relationship’
“Everything is pointing in the right direction for stabilisation of the relationship and I’d be very confident that process will continue,” Senator Farrell told Sky News on Sunday.
“We want a stable relationship with China, we want a mature relationship with China.
“At the same time we want to make sure that everything we do is in our national interest and dealing with the issues of our national security.”
Senator Farrell remained confident the current $20 billion in trade sanctions imposed by China in 2020 could still be resolved.
But opposition defence spokesman Andrew Hastie said it was important to be realistic following the Chinese government’s comments about the AUKUS arrangement.
“I don’t think the relationship is at its best at the moment. I think AUKUS is going to make it difficult for (the government) to get back into a place where they want to go, (with China),” he said.
Mr Hastie said Australia’s trade relationships needed to be protected and preserved along with its national security.
“We want to contribute to the regional balance of power and acquiring nuclear submarines will be a force for good,” he said.
“We’ll be able to preserve our own sovereignty and we’ll also be able to contribute to the preservation of our neighbours’ sovereignty.”
The post AUKUS submarines deal draws a stinging response from Beijing appeared first on The New Daily.