Western allies, divided loyalties

Australia and New Zealand are targets of Beijing’s strategic game, writes Cleo Paskal

The World Today Published 26 July 2019 Updated 6 November 2020 3 minute READ

Cleo Paskal

Former Associate Fellow, Environment and Society Programme and Asia-Pacific Programme

As tensions rise in the Indo-Pacific region, western allies are keeping a careful eye on each other to see how each reacts to China’s growing strength.

Which allies will bar Huawei from their 5G superfast broadband network? Who will buy arms from whom? And which countries will devote the time, money and political will to engage in large-scale military training together?

At the same time, China is prodding at the weak spots in the bonds that unite the western allies, seeing where it has the political and economic leverage to pry them apart and undermine trust.

As a result, while the United States and China drift further apart, more countries, especially in the Indo-Pacific region, are finding it harder to balance their interests. That is especially true for longstanding western allies such as Australia and New Zealand.

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