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China's trillion-dollar plan for world domination splits Australian politicians

Section: Daily Dispatches

By Ben Graham (News Corp.), Sydney
Monday, October 23, 2017

AS Donald Trump whips the world into a frenzy with his tweets, China is plotting a trillion-dollar global trade revamp which could change everything.

It's being dubbed the "New Silk Road" which could redefine global trade and mark a tipping point for a new Asian century.
So far, 68 countries including New Zealand have signed up to the President Xi Jinping's "One Belt, One Road" (BRI) project, but it's left Aussie politicians divided and scratching their heads, according to an international relations expert.

"I don't think the government has done a great deal of thinking about this," Australian National University's Dr Michael Clarke said.

... Dispatch continues below ...


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"But I've heard from my contacts in government that there is a very definite divide between the security agencies who have strategic concerns and the departments of trade and agriculture, which are looking at BRI as a big economic opportunity for Australia." ...

Dr Clarke said Australian politicians are torn between our commitments to the US and the growing Asian superpower — but they must make their minds up sooner or later.

"The key issue is whether Australia can have its cake and eat it too when it comes to China," he said.

"They want to maintain a strong economic relationship with Beijing, but at the same time maintaining a very strong commitment to the US and the regional order it has set out since the Second World War. ...

Mr Clarke said BRI is a "fairly crude" geopolitical strategy which is also driven by China's own economic concerns.

"It's also a bit of rhetorical window dressing and a soft power strategy designed to portray China's rise in a positive light," he said.

The enormous venture has been called the "biggest story" in Asian business that could redefine global trade. Combined with US President Trump's decision to pull out of the trans-Pacific Partnership, some suggest it could signal the start of China becoming the leader on globalised exports. ...

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