South China Sea: Australia-China tensions discussed by expert
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Beijing has been struck with power shortages that have left them desperate for coal imports to bolster their supplies. Xi Jinping’s new energy restriction in a push to reduce carbon emissions, along with extreme weather and soaring demand for Chinese goods post-lockdown have all contributed to an energy crisis in the country. Last year, China stopped buying coal from Australia, which used to be the country its main foreign coal supplier.
But it has reportedly suspended that tough stance,
Energy research firm Kpler reported that a total of five vessels waiting offshore released 383,000 tonnes of Australian steam coal to China last month.
Nick Ristic, chief dry cargo analyst at Braemar ACM Shipbroking also said that Australian cargo waiting outside a Chinese port has been moored last month since the ban came into effect a year ago. He reported that 450,000 tonnes of coal were discharged.
Now Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison may hold the key to deescalating tensions.
Policymakers in Beijing have not given any indication of whether China will be importing any more Australian coal, but it comes after Taiwan also asked Canberra for help as military tensions soar in the South East.
Taiwan’s foreign minister Joseph Wu warned his country would “fight to the end” if the Chinese invaded in an interview with ABC Australia.
He said: “If China is going to launch a war against Taiwan we will fight to the end, and that is our commitment.
“I’m sure that if China is going to launch an attack against Taiwan, I think they are going to suffer tremendously as well.”
Taiwan’s plea to Australia came after Beijing flew dozens of warplanes towards the island and British warships re-entered the South China Sea after China sent warnings against foreign powers deploying in the contested waters.
China’s People’s Liberation Army Air Force also flew 38 aircraft towards Taiwan airspace on Friday.
Taiwanese defence officials also say there were 39 sorties on Saturday and another 16 on Sunday
They say 36 fighter jets, 12 H-6 nuclear-capable bombers and four other planes from China’s People’s Liberation Army Air Face entered its southwest air defence identification zone on Monday.
The most recent tensions have been sparked from China’s claims that a large bulk of the South China Sea are its own territorial waters, pointing to both the international law of the sea and its historic claim to Taiwan/
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But that claim is disputed by Malaysia, Vietnam, Brunei, and the Philippines.
And the tension does not end there, as ever since nationalist forces defeated by Mao Tse-Tung’s Communists retreated to Taiwan in 1949, and there have been periodic invasion scares ever since.
Xi has been investing heavily in military capabilities ever since he came to office in 2013, and fears he will use military force for “reunification” are high.
But should Australia help Taiwan, they could use China’s desperation for coal as bargaining power and convince China to relax their military aggression.
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