President Joe Biden's special envoy to the Pacific accused China on Tuesday (November 30th) of
"bringing Australia to its knees"
with a barrage of sanctions which, according to him, amounts to
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Kurt Campbell, the White House's India Pacific coordinator, in remarks to the Sydney-based Lowy Institute blasted Beijing's tough tactics in the region. Depicting China as an increasingly belligerent country and determined to impose its will abroad, Kurt Campbell said Beijing has embarked on a
"truly spectacular economic war - directed against Australia
Over the past two years, China has introduced a series of punitive sanctions on Australian goods amid a political conflict that has plunged bilateral relations into its worst crisis since Tiananmen.
“China's preference would have been to break Australia. To bring Australia to its knees, ”
insisted Kurt Campbell.
Among Beijing's grievances: Australia's willingness to legislate against Chinese influence operations abroad, block Huawei over 5G contracts and call for an independent investigation into the origins of the coronavirus.
In retaliation, barley, coal, copper ores, cotton, hay, logs, lobsters, sugar, wine, beef, citrus fruits, cereals, table grapes, Australian dairy products and infant formula have all been subject to Chinese sanctions.
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According to Kurt Campbell, China under Xi Jinping is
"more determined to take measures considered as coercive by other countries"
. The Biden administration has adopted a policy of
with China, recognizing the rivalry between the two powers while maintaining diplomatic ties in order to avoid the risk of uncontrollable conflict.
Recently, Joe Biden agreed to share intelligence with Canberra on sensitive technology for nuclear-powered submarines, allowing Australia to dramatically increase its military deterrence. This decision comes within the framework of the tripartite AUKUS military alliance - whose objective is to counter Chinese influence in the Indo-Pacific - formed by Australia, the United States and the United Kingdom and will bind these country, according to Mr. Campbell, for generations. He also revealed that other Pacific allies could participate in the AUKUS deal.
“Many close allies came to see us, right after the deal, and asked, '
Can we participate? Can we commit? ”Assured Kurt Campbell.