Western Australian (WA) Premier Mark McGowan has praised the state’s ties with the Communist Party of China (CCP), lamenting the lack of appreciation from Australia’s eastern states for the country’s trade ties with China.
His remarks come amid the ongoing tension in Australia-China relations due to foreign interference, industrial-scale cyber attacks and economic coercion by Beijing.
“It has been a big part of the economic success and cultural success of our state and our country, and especially in the last two years,” he said at an event commemorating the 72nd anniversary of its founding on October 1. of the CCP organized by the China Australia Business Council in Perth.
Mining magnate and billionaire Andrew Forrest was also present.
“Where would the country be, but for our strong economic performance here in Western Australia?” He said, according to ABC. “And I think perhaps that should be better appreciated in the eastern states of Australia.”
McGowan also touted WA’s role in supporting the national economy during the COVID-19 pandemic, which was hit hard by lockdowns, health restrictions and border closures.
“A vast majority of our exports go to China, in fact, the majority, and we are the country’s largest exporting state,” he said, noting that WA kept major export industries open during the pandemic. “For other states that don’t export much, they don’t really get that.”
The Chinese consul general in WA, Long Dingbin, said that in the six months after visiting Perth (in April), he saw McGowan’s “strong leadership” in bringing the pandemic under control.
“And I am very pleased to see that we have strong ties between China and Australia,” he told attendees.
“I think we should all do something for the 50th anniversary,” he said. “Let us join hands with endless efforts for the smooth and healthy development of China-Australia relations, which is beneficial for both of us as well as the Asia Pacific region.”
About 54.7 percent of WA’s exports go to China, making it the state’s largest trading partner by far, overtaking Japan, the second largest trading partner, which receives only 8.4 percent of exports.
China’s demand for iron ore, and the rising price of the mineral, has been a boon to the state exchequer, which, in turn, has helped keep Australia’s economic performance strong amid the ongoing COVID-19-related restrictions .
This has instilled confidence in the McGowan government to continue pursuing an “elimination” or zero-COVID strategy to deal with any virus outbreaks, including immediately closing the border to travelers from those states where infection occurs.
The strategy, and rhetoric, has proved popular – tapping into the state’s separatist tendencies – and partly contributed to the Labor government’s resounding victory in the March elections.
McGowan’s latest criticism comes as the federal government toughens its stance against CCP aggression in the region, including military build-up in the South China Sea and Taiwan Strait.
Federal ministers, including the prime minister, defense minister and foreign minister, have worked to strengthen foreign alliances with the newly created AUKUS deal and continue work with the quadrilateral security alliance.
Meanwhile, New South Wales, Queensland and the largest “Eastern States” of the Victorian governments have had limited activity within the realm of foreign policy, with the exception of Victoria’s Belt and Road Initiative with Beijing.
This News Originally From – The Epoch Times