China has become a key nation for Australia’s future – for our security, economy and identity. But what are China’s intentions when it comes to Australia? In the Xi Jinping era, Beijing has stepped up its campaign for influence, over hearts and minds, mineral and agricultural resources, media outlets and sea lanes. Yet the Communist regime wants more — as much power and influence over Australia as it can possibly get, using fair means or foul.
However, what Beijing can get is limited not just by China’s abilities, but also by Australia’s will. In each case, where Chinese officials or agents attempted to intrude, they met Australian resistance. And they failed. For all its power, China is neither all-powerful nor irresistible. Australia can shape its engagement with Beijing.
Peter Hartcher is political editor of the Sydney Morning Herald and author of Quarterly Essay’s “Red Flag, Waking up to the China Challenge”
Julie Bishop was foreign minister of Australia from 2013 to 2018 and federal Liberal Member for Curtin from 1998 to 2019. Bishop was also the Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party from 2007 to 2018.