26/03/2021 - 12:00

Bishop backs US on global affairs

26/03/2021 - 12:00


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Julie Bishop has called on Australia to deepen its ties with the US, India and Japan to counteract China’s assertiveness on economic and security matters.

Bishop backs US on global affairs
Julie Bishop served as foreign minister between 2013 and 2018. Photo: Attila Csaszar

Julie Bishop has called on Australia to deepen its ties with the US, India and Japan to counteract China’s assertiveness on economic and security matters.

That comes just two months after Joe Biden was inaugurated as US president, having campaigned as a stylistic and substantive shift from former president Donald Trump.

Mr Biden has since opted to retain many of Mr Trump’s punitive tariffs on Chinese exports, as well as criticise the country’s alleged treatment of ethnic minorities in the Xinjiang province.

He furthered his criticism of the country overnight, telling reporters in Washington that China’s president, Xi Jinping, was an autocrat on par with Russian president Vladimir Putin, and that the US would not be overtaken economically by China while he was president.

Ms Bishop, who yesterday morning addressed an event hosted by Perth USAsia Centre and held at the University of Western Australia, acknowledged that China’s assertiveness had historical roots in intervention by the likes of Russia and Japan throuhgout the 19th and 20th centuries.

She said China was using these grievances to challenge US dominance in a way that destabilised the global, rules-based order.

“China seems to be adopting the stance that defined past eras of ‘might is right’, and that is a proven pathway to conflict,” Ms Bishop said.

“My hope is that China will recognise that it has a particular responsibility to uphold the rules-based order, as it is one of five permanent members of the United Nations security council.

“This was certainly a point I raised from time to time with my Chinese counterparts.”

Ms Bishop, who served as Australia's foreign minister between 2013 and 2018, knocked back assertions that China and the US were descending into a new Cold War, arguing the interconnectedness of China with the global economy was a fundamental difference this time around.

She also argued that partnerships such as the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue and the Trans-Pacific Partnership would scaffold an effective response to China’s increasing dominance on the world stage.

While the US is part of the QSD, along with Australia, Japan and India, the TPP fell apart in 2016 after Mr Trump was elected president.

The former president was a vocal critic of the agreement, and his opponent, Hillary Clinton, had also come out against the deal after initially supporting it.

The agreement has since been renegotiated between the remaining 11 parties to the deal, with Australia ratifying it in 2018.

Ms Bishop said that she had turned up a series of familiar themes during her own research and conversations with world leaders in recent years, including that the US must organise its own political and economic affairs to maintain its global dominance.

“Nations are not comfortable with a world dominated by an authoritarian regime,” she said.

“Nations of the Indo-Pacific are looking for more, not less, US leadership.

“As friends of the US, it’s important that the Biden administration hear from us, that it achieve greater bipartisanship in Washington, particularly on foreign policy, and that it needs to address concerns about the US economy.”


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