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Tensions in the Far East: Australia and China

Jacob Houston

Recently, Australia has redefined ties with its pacific neighbor, China. With the rise of AUKUS and Allied partnerships involving the United States and Australia, increasing amounts of pressure have been applied to the region, threatening Chinese economic influence across Asia.

With this in mind, Australia has been met with a number of subsequent problems. With the rise of tensions in the Indo-Pacific region, the Chinese government has frozen high level talks and bashed Australia with sanctions, which, consequently, has led to the decrease of positive public opinion in the Australian populace for China.

“We need to demonstrate our resilience and act as an example.” James Patterson, a member of the Australian Liberal party said in an interview. However, others believe that Australia should maintain a strong relationship with China (its biggest trading partner), as the loss in market share in China could lead to more problems than benefits for the Australian economy.

The issue dates back to 1996, when tensions between Australia and China were drastically increased because of Chinese criticisms of US and Australian policy concerning trade with China, and again with the arrival of the Dalai Lama (who was exiled from Tibet) to Australia in the same year. The relations have deteriorated since, causing many to speculate if tensions can be eased diplomatically or economically.

The advent of AUKUS, which is a partnership between the US, UK, and Australia, has led to much backlash from China; the Chinese embassy in Canberra stating, “This petty move to put pressure on China will be of no avail but a staged farce.”

Many other countries in the Indo-Pacific region including South Korea and Japan have criticized China for its discord toward Australia, putting even more pressure in the region. The situation could amount to many things for Australia and China, but if the two countries could find a solution to ease their increasing tensions, it could be beneficial to the entire region and the world.


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