Tag Archives: Beijing

Australia is no longer sending navies to the Middle East, shifting focus to Asia-Pacific, China | Instant News

Australia’s three-decade naval presence in the Middle East is coming to an abrupt end this year as the Federal Government grapples with an increasingly uncertain strategic environment that is getting closer to home.

Defense Secretary Linda Reynolds announced Australia would no longer send Australian Navy ships to the Middle East every year.

The last Australian Navy ship to deploy to the region, HMAS Toowoomba, returned to Australia in June this year.

Australia will also withdraw from the US-led naval coalition patrolling the Strait of Hormuz by the end of 2020.

That means Australia’s 30 years of maritime operations in the Middle East – largely focused on counter-terrorism and counter-piracy operations – are coming to an end.

In a statement, Senator Reynolds said the Government’s priorities had shifted.

“This year is already visible [the] The Navy is responding to the wildfires and the COVID-19 crisis, five ship deployments across Southeast Asia and the Pacific, ongoing commitments to initiatives under Pacific Step Up, and some very successful activities with our regional partners, “said Minister Reynolds.

“As a result, the Australian Defense Force will reduce its naval presence in the Middle East to allow more resources to be deployed in our region.”

The shift is marked on Government’s most recent Defense Strategic Update, arguing that the deteriorating strategic situation will force the military to focus more on the Indo-Pacific region and directly on Australia.

The Australian Navy will also rejoin the Malabar naval exercise with the US, Japan and India.(Supplier: DoD / Chris Cavagnaro)

China has been involved in massive naval building over the past decade, and has asserted increased control over the waters of the disputed South China Sea by building a series of military fortifications.

Relations between the United States and China have also become increasingly hostile, sharply increasing the risk of conflict in the region.

Australia has participated in a growing number naval exercises in the region with a range of allies and partners, including the United States and Japan.

Earlier this year Australian warships confront the Chinese Navy while sailing near the disputed island claimed by Beijing on its way to the trilateral exercise.

Next month The Australian Navy will also rejoin the Malabar naval exercise with the US, Japan and India after being absent for more than a decade.

Senior officials, military officers and Morrison Government ministers have been contemplating transitioning away from the Middle East for several years.

Last year there was debate within the Federal Government when the Trump Administration asked Australia to join a US-led naval coalition to protect ships in the Strait of Hormuz near Iran.

Eventually, The Morrison government agreed to send reconnaissance aircraft and frigates to join the mission.

A gray plane sits on the airport runway
An Australian reconnaissance aircraft joins the US-led coalition in the Strait of Hormuz.(Provided: Department of Defense / Brenton Kwaterski)

But one government source told the ABC the decision was “hotly debated.”

The head of Joint Naval Operations, Lieutenant General Greg Bilton, said the changes announced by the Government were “historic” and Senator Reynolds said Australia could be “proud” of its naval contribution.

“For more than 30 years we have supported freedom of navigation, maritime security and free trade flows in the Middle East,” he said.

“Working closely with our partners, our commitment is invaluable in disrupting the global drug trade, supporting reducing funding channels for terrorism activities and building the capacity of regional forces.”


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Taiwan, China trade in thorns due to intense spat in Fiji | News | DW | Instant News

China and Taiwan exchanged thorns on Monday because of the intense spat that broke out between Chinese diplomats and Taiwan government employees at a recent Taiwan National Day reception in Fiji.

Taiwan said it would not be intimidated by Chinese “hooligan” officials and would continue to celebrate its national day around the world, after accusing Chinese diplomats of trying to demand the event.

China strongly denies Taiwan’s allegations, including that a Taiwanese diplomat was hospitalized with a head injury following the row. China views the democratically run island as its own territory without the right to formal diplomatic relations.

The Pacific is the main area of ​​competition between the two countries, where Taiwan maintains formal relations with four countries: the Marshall Islands, the Republic of Nauru, Palau and Tuvalu.

The confrontation broke out when Taiwanese at the meeting tried to stop Chinese diplomats from taking photos of guests at the reception, according to a statement from Taiwan’s Foreign Ministry.

“We strongly condemn the violence against our diplomats in Fiji by the uncivilized Chinese ‘wolf warriors’,” tweeted Taiwan Foreign Minister Joseph Wu. “As a sovereign nation, we will continue to celebrate National Taiwan Day everywhere, every year. Taiwan is a force for good in the world & we will not be intimidated.”

China: Taiwan account ‘doesn’t match the facts’

China has denied Taiwan’s reports of the events, saying Taiwan’s statements were “inconsistent with facts.” He added that one of his staff was also injured.

“That same evening, Taipei Trade Office staff in Fiji acted provocatively against Chinese Embassy staff who were carrying out official duties in a public area outside the venue, causing injury and damage to a Chinese diplomat,” a Chinese Embassy statement said.

Read more: Taiwan has criticized China for its military attack

The Chinese official also criticized the National Day celebrations, saying it “violates the principle of one China and the relevant rules and regulations of the Fijian government, by attempting to create ‘two China’ or ‘one China, one Taiwan’ internationally.”

The one-China principle refers to the idea that Taiwan, a self-governing island democracy, is also part of China.

Speaking in Taipei, a spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Taiwan was a “peace-loving country” that invites people to events around the world on its national day.

“In fact this year we have 108 offices that hold national day events in different ways, inviting the world to celebrate our anniversary,” said Joanne Ou.

Fiji’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has not commented on the incident, but the police issued a statement explaining that the matter will be resolved through diplomatic channels and that the involvement of the Fijian authorities has ended.

Read more: Taiwan: A threat the world ignores

Changing “barbaric acts,” said the Taiwanese prime minister

Taiwanese Prime Minister Su Tseng-chang said the world needed to see what China was capable of, calling the row a “barbaric act” on the Chinese side.

“Chinese officials stationed abroad act like thugs; beating people is unacceptable. We strongly condemn this,” Su said. “We have to appeal to the international community with relevant evidence.”

Read more: Taiwan is redesigning passports to end China’s confusion

Taiwan is recognized as an independent government by only 15 countries, most of which are small and poor. However, Taipei maintains extensive commercial and informal relations with several countries. Fiji transferred its diplomatic recognition to Beijing in 1975.

Read more: Taiwan is ‘determined’ to play an international role, despite Chinese pressure

lc / msh (AP, AFP)


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China’s ban on coal could cost Australia $ 15 billion a year | Instant News

In June last year, Sydney residents woke up to the unexpected sight of the Chinese Navy at the harbor. For some, it is a worrying sign that the Morrison government may allow Australia to be pulled too far into Beijing’s orbit.

At that time the Prime Minister Scott Morrison said an unannounced warship arrival had been planned for some time and it was a “reciprocal visit” after an Australian naval vessel visited China.

Now, less than 18 months later, things are very different between Canberra and Beijing, with diplomatic and trade relations seemingly deteriorating with each passing day.

RELATED: China’s new ploy to harm Australia

RELATED: Planning to combat the Chinese threat

And it’s not just relations between Australia and China that have changed dramatically since the COVID-19 pandemic began in Wuhan, China in January.

India, Japan and the United States have all pressed for increased cooperation with Australia on everything from supply chain security to cementing a potential alliance such as NATO in the Indo-Pacific.

The ongoing transformation of the Indo-Pacific geo-strategic balance is likely to have played a role in further accelerating Canberra’s deterioration in trade relations with Beijing.

To date Beijing has chosen to target a number of Australian exports to China, including but not limited to, barley, wine, wheat and beef.

This trade action undoubtedly damaged the affected industries and businesses, but at the same time when compared to the large volume of Australian exports to China, it is actually relatively small.

However, in recent weeks, there have been worrying signs that Beijing may add a much larger and economically vital industry to its list of targets, our coal exports.

According to a report from shipping news website Splash, in late September, there were more than 20 large bulk carriers with cargo spaces filled with Australian coal waiting to be unloaded at Tangshan Jingtang Port in Northeast China.

RELATED: ‘Stop immediately’: China’s warning to the US

Delays in loading and unloading goods are not uncommon at Chinese ports, either because of the monthly import quotas imposed by the Chinese Communist Party or simply because of logistical challenges due to heavy traffic volume.

But this time was different. Instead of a delay of up to 45 days, a shipment of Australian coal exports was forced to take place last year, in which case most of these ships have been waiting to unload for more than three months.

This problem is not limited to Jingtang port, there are many other ships experiencing the same problem at several other ports in the industrial heart of Northeast China.

In recent days the possible reasons for this delay have become clear, Chinese authorities have reportedly banned imports of Australian coal indefinitely.

Amid the backdrop of the ongoing unilateral trade war between Beijing and Canberra, Australia’s coal import ban will mark the biggest escalation in the conflict so far.

By banning Australian coal imports, Beijing will effectively spend $ 15 billion annually in the Australian economy, just as it is trying to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to analysts, the ban could be imposed for the long term.

“China is less dependent on Australian coal imports than it is to, say, iron ore, therefore we have little reason to doubt that this oral warning can last indefinitely as an act of potential retaliation for recent political tensions, “Navigate Commodities managing director Atilla said Widnell.

Although there has been no official written notification of the ban, Beijing has already passed word of the ban verbally across China’s shipping industry, possibly to avoid potential complaints by Australia to the World Trade Organization (WTO).

Outside of China, worldwide demand for coal is still not recovering to pre-pandemic levels. As the global economic recovery is progressing more slowly than economists anticipated, it is now also facing further challenges in the form of second and third waves of the virus in much of the world.

Unfortunately for Australia in today’s global economic environment, its influence on the coal trade with Beijing has effectively evaporated.

Global steel production has collapsed, with Japanese steel manufacturing dropping to its lowest level in 52 years and European unions warning 50 percent of European steelmaking capacity could be lost by the time the pandemic ends.

With demand for thermal and metallurgical coal (steelmaking) likely to remain well below pre-pandemic levels for years to come, Beijing has chosen the right time to strike.

With the global economy set to remain weak for years to come, it is very likely that China’s ban on Australian coal exports will be enforced in the future.

While exporting coal may be viewed by some as an insignificant relic of the past, for our economy the reality is a little different. China currently consumes about $ 15 billion worth of Australian coal exports a year.

As the country struggles to recover from the pandemic and the ensuing recession, the potential loss of coal exports to China in the current economic environment could add months or even a year to the length of the country’s economic recovery.

With Beijing pledging to become carbon neutral by 2060 and renewable energy gaining popularity, the decline in coal exports is a reality Australia will have to face sooner or later.

But as the pandemic continues to wreak havoc abroad and at home, many never imagined that China’s thirst for Australian coal could effectively stop overnight.

The Morrison government reserves the right to assert Australia’s sovereignty and freedom from Beijing’s growing influence. However, it should also be acknowledged that this independence has a significant cost.

Ultimately, this is one we as a nation should be willing to pay for, but the frustrated Chinese Communist Party has ensured that Australia can pay the hefty costs of its defiance far faster than many thought.

Tarric Brooker is a freelance journalist and social commentator @Avidator


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Beijing Fashion Factory B Courtyard / Anti Static Architecture | Instant News

Beijing Fashion Factory B Courtyard / Anti Static Architecture

Courtyard B Building facades and shared balcony.  Image © Zhi XiaEach studio has a private entrance and a shared balcony.  Image © Zhi XiaSpace between to the office unit from inside the room.  Image © Zhi XiaPage B with industrial landscapes and installations.  Image © Zhi Xia+ 31