Skip to main content

Joining China’s new silk road will help fast-track Australia

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/opinion/joining-chinas-new-silk-road-will-help-fasttrack-australia/news-story/c06e5c6200364f938873c663db29f8ba


STEPHEN LOOSLEYThe Australian12:00AM January 18, 2018

At a security dialogue in Beijing a few years ago, one of our Chinese hosts asked me what I thought of the proposed One Belt, One Road initiative. I responded positively, looking at what the proposal could mean for China’s western regions in terms of economic development, and then beyond that to Central and South Asia, and ultimately to ­Europe.

My interlocutor nodded in agreement.

“Yes,” he said. “This is our Think West strategy. Think East is not going so well.” Then he burst into laughter.

So much for ­tensions in the East and South China seas.

The question that arises for Australia is what our relationship to the Belt and Road (as it now is) ought to be. Australia has excellent opportunities this year to set down three markers in our foreign and national security policies that simultaneously affirm our interests and focus our energies on our economic future while ­demon­strating a greater confidence in our national security ­arrange­ments. By so doing we would ­contribute markedly to ­regional security and a peaceful environment in the Indo-Pacific.

First, we should open negotiations with Beijing on appropriate protocols for Australia to join the Belt and Road. There is not only value in attracting increasing ­Chinese investment for northern Australia (“the road”) but also in positioning Australia to provide skills and experience in infrastructure and connectivity developments as they occur both within and beyond China’s boundaries (“the belt”). The success of our superannuation framework means billions of Australian dollars look for long-term investment locations.

Belt and Road will be a reality. Last May, Chinese President Xi Jinping made it absolutely clear how committed China was to the initiative, citing the ancient ­success of the Silk Roads in ­binding societies across vast ­distances in greater, mutual ­prosperity.

In his landmark history, The Silk Roads: A New History of the World, Peter Frankopan argues persuasively: “Establishing how useful and important old connections were in the past can be very helpful for the future — one ­reason why China is investing so heavily in bonding itself to the Silk Roads that lie to the west, ­precisely by asserting a common heritage of commercial and ­intellectual exchange.”

When it is considered that, ­according to the Australian Treasury, the Chinese economy will be worth some $42 trillion by 2030, compared with the US at $24 trillion, then the scale of this reality needs no amplification. We need to keep in mind that not only goods and services travel, so do ideas. Australian advice during the ­Beijing Olympics was not without impact.

Second, Australia should keep the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for the Trans-­Pacific Partnership in good repair. Canada’s failure to sign the document in Da Nang, Vietnam, in November could have killed the multilateral trade treaty in the aftermath of US withdrawal.

But given the determination of Australia and Japan and other countries to see the treaty emerge as a vehicle for guaranteeing ­future prosperity, it did not. The fact that Britain has expressed ­interest in joining the TPP may be bizarre but it also reflects the value of the emerging agreement.

One caveat must be emphasised. The TPP must be kept open-ended so that should the Americans reconsider, or should China express an interest in ­joining, then the docking ­mecha­nisms are easy to traverse.

Finally, Australia should ­pursue actively closer security ties under the umbrella of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue with India, Japan and the US. US ­Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, in a groundbreaking speech to the Centre for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, DC, last October, appropriated the ­Indian vernacular and said there was a pressing requirement for the US and India to “do the needful” and elevate relations to a closer and more effective level.

Japan and Australia were also ­mentioned in this speech, which focused on keeping the global commons open in the Indo-­Pacific, and greater co-operation on issues ranging from counter-terrorism to ­humanitarian and disaster relief. Tillerson noted that both India and the US are ­introducing P-8 Poseidon aircraft into their ­military capabilities. So is Australia. For the future, ­Australia should seek to join ­Operation Malabar with the US, Japan and India. It is not improbable that in the years ahead ­Australian P-8s and similar Indian aircraft should take off from respective bases in the Andaman and Cocos islands, to contribute to ­regional stability and security.

Australia can afford to be ­assertive in its interests and be prepared to weather criticism. We are not embracing a doctrine of containment of China, which is a nonsense. True, Japan sees the Quadrilateral as a potential ­vehicle for competing with Belt and Road. This does not present an ­insurmountable problem. Competition on a global scale on ­investment outcomes is surely to be welcomed.

None of the foregoing, however, is to minimise some of the ­difficulties that lie ahead. It can be frustrating to see discussions, ­particularly with India, apparently make progress, only to recede and then slip sideways. But we should also seek to “do the needful”.

Fortunately in the political fever swamp of Canberra there still exists a considerable degree of bipartisanship on foreign policy, national security, and trade. This stands to the credit of the leadership and protagonists on both sides of the aisle. The three markers outlined above provide outstanding opportunity to underline and reinforce this bipartisan ­consensus in the national interest.

As well, the three markers ­enable powerful arguments to be made in support of a vigorous Australian global presence, ­emphasising our interests with ­allies and partners. Indeed, early thought should be given to extending the Quadrilateral among other regional democracies whose values we share, including South Korea and Indonesia.

As Malcolm Turnbull talks with our partners in Japan, there is no better diplomatic occasion to advance Australian imperatives in such a purposeful manner.

Stephen Loosley is a visiting fellow at the United States Studies Centre at the University of Sydney

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

SSG Commando Muddassir Iqbal of Pakistan Army

“ Commando Muddassir Iqbal was part of the team who conducted Army Public School operation on 16 December 2014. In this video he reveals that he along with other commandos was ordered to kill the innocent children inside school, when asked why should they kill children after killing all the terrorist he was told that it would be a chance to defame Taliban and get nation on the side. He and all other commandos killed children and later Taliban was blamed.
Muddassir Iqbal has deserted the military and now he is  with mujahedeen somewhere in AF PAK border area”
For authenticity of  this tape journalists can easy reach to his home town to interview his family members or   ISPR as he reveals his army service number”
Asalam o Alaikum: My name is Muddassir Iqbal. My father’s name is Naimat Ali. I belong to Sialkot divison (Punjab province), my village is Shamsher Poor and district, tehsil and post office  Narowal. Unfortunately I was working in Pakistan army. I feel embarrassed to tell you …

CPEC Jobs in Pakistan, salary details

JOBS...نوکریاں چائنہ کمپنی میںPlease help the deserving persons...Salary:Salary package in China–Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) in these 300,000 jobs shall be on daily wages. The details of the daily wages are as follows;Welder: Rs. 1,700 dailyHeavy Duty Driver: Rs. 1,700 dailyMason: Rs. 1,500 dailyHelper: Rs. 850 dailyElectrician: Rs. 1,700 dailySurveyor: Rs. 2,500 dailySecurity Guard: Rs. 1,600 dailyBulldozer operator: Rs. 2,200 dailyConcrete mixer machine operator: Rs. 2,000 dailyRoller operator: Rs. 2,000 dailySteel fixer: Rs. 2,200 dailyIron Shuttering fixer: Rs. 1,800 dailyAccount clerk: Rs. 2,200 dailyCarpenter: Rs. 1,700 dailyLight duty driver: Rs. 1,700 dailyLabour: Rs. 900 dailyPara Engine mechanic: Rs. 1,700 dailyPipe fitter: Rs. 1,700 dailyStorekeeper: Rs. 1,700 dailyOffice boy: Rs. 1,200 dailyExcavator operator: Rs. 2,200 dailyShovel operator: Rs. 2,200 dailyComputer operator: Rs. 2,200 dailySecurity Supervisor: Rs. 2,200 dailyCook for Chinese food: Rs. 2,000 dailyCook…

The Rise of China-Europe Railways

https://www.csis.org/analysis/rise-china-europe-railways

The Rise of China-Europe RailwaysMarch 6, 2018The Dawn of a New Commercial Era?For over two millennia, technology and politics have shaped trade across the Eurasian supercontinent. The compass and domesticated camels helped the “silk routes” emerge between 200 and 400 CE, and peaceful interactions between the Han and Hellenic empires allowed overland trade to flourish. A major shift occurred in the late fifteenth century, when the invention of large ocean-going vessels and new navigation methods made maritime trade more competitive. Mercantilism and competition among Europe’s colonial powers helped pull commerce to the coastlines. Since then, commerce between Asia and Europe has traveled primarily by sea.1Against this historical backdrop, new railway services between China and Europe have emerged rapidly. Just 10 years ago, regular direct freight services from China to Europe did not exist.2 Today, they connect roughly 35 Chinese…