FAST FIVE: Australia And Japan Join Forces To Hold Beijing Accountable For Its Economic Bullying

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In a statement following a joint virtual meeting on Wednesday, Australia and Japan's foreign ministers, Marise Payne and Motegi Toshimitsu, and defence ministers, Kishi Nobuo and Peter Dutton, announced that both countries “would commit to opposing coercion and destabilising behaviour by economic means, which undermines the rules-based international system.” Australia's Prime Minister Scott Morrison (L) is greeted by Japan's Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga (R) prior to an official welcoming ceremony at Suga's official residence in Tokyo on November 17, 2020.

James Laurenceson, Director of the Australia-China Relations Institute at the University of Technology in Sydney, believes that the Chinese Communist Party currently no longer thinks it needs to operate under the rules of the international system.

But he noted that it will not escalate tensions with any rash acts of aggression because that would “crystallise a hard balancing coalition against China that would make it harder for Beijing to achieve both its domestic and foreign policy objectives.” Laurenceson believes the best answer to the increasing aggression from Beijing is for countries to continue to prioritise strong ties built on mutual trust.

Mike Green, foreign policy analyst at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies, told The Australian it was “stunning how aggressive Xi Jinping and the CCP have become.” “It seems China's assessment is they (that) have a five-to-10-year window to cement their ­leadership position in Asia, and that explains why they've been pressuring everyone simultaneously: Australia, India, Taiwan, Japan,” Green said.

Wang Wenbin, spokesperson for the Chinese regime, responded to the statement by telling both countries to stop hyping up the “China Threat” and accused them of “maliciously slandering China.” He urged Australia and Japan to stop meddling and abide by the basic norms of international relations, without explaining his comments.

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