Date: Jan 29, 2019
By: Jonathon Gatehouse
China’s nervous neighbours
Ottawa’s relations with China have hit a new low following the arrest of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou and what appear to be retaliatory measures against three Canadians.
But Canada isn’t the only country feeling rattled by the suddenly cranky superpower.
Australia is trying to negotiate the release of one of its own citizens, the Chinese-born writer Yang Hengjun. The academic and political commentator was snatched off the streets of Guangzhou on Jan. 18, and is being held in a Beijing jail on national security suspicions.
And China’s sudden willingness to flex its military muscle in the South China Sea is unnerving countries all around the South Pacific.
At an international forum in Singapore yesterday, Christopher Pyne, the Australian defence minister, called on Beijing to rethink its approach to the region, saying its bellicose words and actions have been causing needless anxiety.
“As the exhortation goes, to those that much is given, much is expected; similarly for nation states, for those with great power comes great responsibility, and so I call on China to act with great responsibility in the South China Sea,” Pyne said.
Even against the backdrop of a recently announced $90 billion investment in new ships for the Australian Navy, Pyne took pains to say that no one is trying “to contain” China.
Neighbouring New Zealand is also experiencing tension with China.
Last week, a well-known China expert from the University of Canterbury released a letter she had written to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern asking for police protection following a campaign of harassment that she believes originated in Beijing. [FULL STORY]