Australia's restriction on Chinese telecoms giant Huawei's contribution in its future 5G systems and its crackdown on foreign covert interference are trying Beijing's endeavors to extend its capacity abroad. Chen Hong, the head of Australian studies at East China Normal University, accused Australia of acting as a “pawn” in a recent press conference at the Chinese Embassy in Canberra. He said that Australia was a game piece for the United States in encouraging other countries against Huawei's involvement in 5G. Chen also said that Australia has been pioneering a kind of “anti-China campaign” or even “scare and smear campaign against China” which will not be appreciated by Beijing and be recognized as “extremely unfriendly”. The opposition's defense spokesman, Richard Marles described the relationship between the two countries as “terrible”.
The number of Australians who think that Beijing has been using threats, espionage, and other tactics to influence their politics is increasing. Critics also believe that these methods are used by China to sharpen their use in other Western countries. According to Clive Hamilton, the author, Australia is viewed as a testing nation for Beijing's tactics of high-pressure tactics. Hamilton who has written the book “Silent Invasion” which is reportedly a best seller that talks about Chinese influence in Australia also said that Beijing is currently testing the strength of Australian democratic systems to resist the implications.
Even after such meetings and dialogues exchange the Australian officials are undertaking the talk of a diplomatic freeze. The Australian dilemma includes the balance between its trembling relation with China and their desire for strong connections with the US. Australia has a need to maintain a democratic alliance with its resource-rich country's largest export market at a steady pace. The country depends on China for nearly one-third of its export earnings and the recent delays in the processing of Australian exports of coal and wine at Chinese airports have raised concerns about some sort of retaliation by Beijing. However, the Australian Prime Minister, Scott Morrison joined President Trump's side on the US-China trade war. In addendum to that, PM Morrison also believes that they share a comprehensive and strategic relationship with China and that both countries will “work well”.
(With AP inputs)