Jan 28, 2014

Abbott turning Japanese, China fuming, Bishop stuck in the middle

Tony Abbott's strange decision to support Japan and the US over China has angered our biggest trading partner. With Abbott planning a trip to China in April, he will have to tread very carefully.

Michael Sainsbury — Freelance correspondent in Asia and <em>Little Red Blog</em> Editor

Michael Sainsbury

Freelance correspondent in Asia and Little Red Blog Editor

Tony Abbott is preparing for his first trip to China as Prime Minister in early April, and is expected to attend the Boao Conference for Asia on Hainan island. At Boao, China’s attempt at regional Davos-like summit, Abbott will have to face Chinese Premier Li Keqiang. The clincher for the Abbott’s itinerary will likely be talks with Chinese political supremo Xi Jinping in Beijing.

Far from a simple display of goodwill, Abbott’s trip to China will be a perilous minefield, make no mistake. In a surprise and rather extraordinary string of comments and events, Abbott has made it crystal clear that he has sided with the United States and its ally Japan against China. It’s even more extraordinary that it’s a choice that did not need to be made; previous Australian prime ministers, including Abbott’s mentor, John Howard, were emphatic that sides did not need to be chosen.

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23 thoughts on “Abbott turning Japanese, China fuming, Bishop stuck in the middle

  1. Peter Bayley

    Tony Abbott is a simpleton and incapable of tact or nuance. The LNP bovver-boy pugalist fixit man was accidentally promoted by a devious Nick Minchin, into a position far in excess of is natural abilities – classic Peter Principle. Now we’ll all suffer the fact until the few good men remaining in the LNP realise the fact and remove him, hopefully ending the charade.

  2. Mark Duffett

    International maritime conventions are a rather kinky thing to flaunt. Presumably the author meant to say that Australia is flouting them.

  3. extra

    How many times will Ms Bishop be prepared to eat the sh*t sandwiches concocted by Tony Abbott’s minders? Julie’s not a mindless follower, and would presumably like to keep her self respect intact. It’s one thing to take a fall for the leader occasionally, but being treated like a doormat is quite another.

  4. Gavin Moodie

    Thanx for this, which explains the Coalition’s otherwise mystifying reversal of policy since Opposition.

  5. TheFamousEccles

    I’ve a strong feeling that the schadenfreude I am enjoying is quickly becoming a guilty pleasure. These clowns are costing us, and not just (but still, significantly) in dollars and cents, but reputation, also.

  6. Stuart Coyle

    He was subject to a lecture by Foreign Minister Julie Bishop about Australia’s decision to create an Air Defence Identification Zone over those very islands.

    I assume the article meant “China’s decision”.

  7. Hunt Ian

    Abbott and co are truly woefully inept. There is no need for Australia to announce that it is rune by neocons pursuing backward neoliberal policies. But they have and we will pay the price for it. The Chinese claim to a few islands close to its shore and not part of the traditional Japanese island chain, which includes Okinawa, is its strongest. We could simply have said we want any dispute settled peacefully but siding with the US and Japan is daft.
    Abbott’s woeful reaffirmation of neoliberal economic policies in Davros is another misadventure. Let’s hope that Rupert’s press dominance in Australia does not give Abbott and Co a second term to extend the damage they have already done.

  8. bjb

    Hunt Ian – if Abbott delivers for Murdoch, irrespective of the damage the LNP is doing to the country, Murdoch will stick by him. As a commenter on the other story today about the VC – Murdoch and his heirs are wealthy enough to insulate themselves from any adverse consequences the LNP’s stupidity make fall upon the rest of us.

  9. tonysee

    1. Hardly a day goes by without Abbott showing us that he’s a devotee of the Dennis Rodman school of diplomacy.
    2. That photo! It looks like something from a horror movie.

  10. paddy

    Bloody good summary M.S.
    Interesting times ahead.

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