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Victoria’s Belt & Road Initiative a ‘sign of Chinese influence’

Michael is joined by Rowan Callick, Industry fellow with Griffith University’s Asia Institute, The Australian Newspaper journalist & double Walkley Award winner, regarding his new Centre for Independent Studies paper that explores China’s successful global sway.


The Victorian Government’s adoption of the Belt and Road Initiative is a sign of influence on Australia only exceeded by that of Britain.


“No other nation, except for Britain, has ever mustered anything near this level of influence in Australia’s history,” Mr Callick says in The Elite Embrace.


“The Victorian BRI MOU arouses more than one concern. The first is that controversial international arrangements need to involve Canberra substantially; and in this case, it didn’t.”


“Another is that, to judge from the language of its text, it appears that Victoria signed a document fundamentally presented by Beijing, rather than negotiating painstakingly a joint agreement. It is a memorandum of unctuousness as much as of understanding.”


“Just as each of China’s diplomatic partners has its own ‘One China’ policy concerning Taiwan, so should each of its BRI ‘partners’ — if such a word is to carry meaning — develop its own BRI engagement instead of simply using a PRC template.”


“Endorsing uncritically Xi Jinping’s hallmark international strategy, as signing on to BRI does, clearly appeared to Victoria to be a price worth paying.”


“But my third concern raises the question as to the return for that price. For it seems, to date, that  — like New Zealand, which joined BRI earlier — Victoria has failed to leverage the immense economic bounty it appears to have anticipated, in terms of fresh BRI-driven investments beyond longer-established pathways.”

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