Australia is more strategically dependent on China than its Five Eyes partner nations across key economic sectors, according to a new report by London-based think tank The Henry Jackson Society.
The report titled “Breaking the China Supply Chain” finds that the Five Eyes nations are dependent on China in 831 categories of strategically important goods.
Australia surpasses its allies by being dependent on China in 167 categories of goods that service the “Critical 11” sectors including health, energy, transportation, water, banking, information technology, government facilities, food, emergency services, critical manufacturing, and communications.
This number is concerning as a shortage in the supply of these goods would threaten Australias security and prosperity, according to the report.
The U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo expressed concern over the weekend about the potential risk to Australias telecommunications infrastructure due to the Victorian states Belt and Road partnership with Beijing.
Pompeo told Sky News on May 24: “We will not take any risk to our telecommunications infrastructure, any risk to national security elements with our Five Eyes partners. We are going to protect and preserve the security of those institutions,” Pompeo said.
Following Pompeos remarks, U.S. Ambassador to Australia Arthur Culvahouse Jr. issued a statement May 24 to “set the record straight”.
“The United States has absolute confidence in the Australian governments ability to protect the security of its telecommunications networks and those of its Five Eyes partners,” he said.
Culvahouse said the U.S. has made no secret of its concerns about the security risks to 5G networks, but commended Australias “leadership on the issue”.
“We are not aware that Victoria has engaged in any concrete projects under BRI, let alone projects impinging on telecommunications networks, which we understand are a federal matter.”
Pompeo also warned Australia that projects that form part of the Chinese Communist Partys (CCPs) Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) need to be looked at carefully, and every project from BRI had a “cost to it.”
“Often money is loaned at concessional rates, or conditions are placed in debt documents, or government concessions have to be made to the Chinese Communist Party in order to get those (BRI) projects built,” Pompeo said.
“(They) present real risks to the people, and real risk to the country. Frankly, they build up the capacity of the (CCP) to do harm in other ways as well.”
Trading Human Rights for Strategic Partnerships
In its foreword, the report says that for 30 years Western countries had hoped that strategic partnerships with the Chinese regime would encourage it to move towards democracy.
“In fact, if anything, China has become steadily more authoritarian,” the report states.
This has serious implications for Australia and its Five Eyes partner nations the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, and New Zealand.
The research reviewed each Five Eyes nations dependency on China across 5,910 sets of data drawn from the United Nations International Statistics Database.
The findings highlight sobering vulnerability to Chinese economic pressure and resonate with a growing global call to decouple from Chinas economy, as more countries come to see Chinas communist regime as a threat to their prosperity and security amid the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus pandemic, commonly known as novel coronavirus.
One strong message the paper delivers is that time has come to depart from the illusion that “by trading and engaging ever moreRead More – Source