Beijing has been accused of spying on Australia by none other than Mr Dennis Richardson , the outgoing Secretary of Defence. As per him Beijing is not only actively spying but also trying to control the Chinese community and the media within Australia. This shocking exposure was made by the Secretary without mincing his words.
Richardson is no pushover and his words need to be taken quite seriously. As he has also served as Australian Security Intelligence Organization (ASIO) chief and therefore knows what he is talking about. Earlier he was also the Australian Ambassador in Washington and later Foreign Affairs head. In an address last Friday , he said that
“It is no secret that China is very active in intelligence activities directed against us. It is more than cyber.
The Chinese Government keeps a watchful eye inside Australian Chinese communities and effectively controls some Chinese language media in Australia .That is no reason to engage in knee jerk anti-China decision-making, or to avoid seeking to build a stronger relationship with China. It is simply the world in which we live,”.
Richardson further said that “It would be wrong to suggest that the Chinese Government are the worst offenders. It would be wrong to suggest that they are the first ones to have done it,”. So indirectly , he meant that even other countries were doing this kind of thing in Australia. The USA , must have been the uppermost in his mind after China because certainly Vanuatu has not much need for spying upon Australia.
However despite the spying accusations, Richardson believes Australia should follow its current policy of maintaining good relationship with China, while sticking to its main ally – the United States.
“I think Australia’s relationship with China and the United States will continue to be able to be summarized simply — friends with both, allies with one,” he said.
Richardson described the US-China relations as “strategic rivalry,” adding that the two powers should do their best to avoid an armed conflict.
“Misunderstandings could lead to miscalculation. But both seek to manage their relationship reasonably sensibly and work hard to avoid military conflict with the breadth of dialogue arrangements designed, in part, to minimize this,” he said.
When contacted the Chinese authorities said that they were not aware of any such statements. In fact the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said that China would prefer to see Australian officials working on strengthening cooperation instead of making accusations.
“We hope that relevant people on the Australian side can say more things that can benefit the development of China-Australia relations, do more to benefit the deepening of cooperation, and not make irresponsible comments,” Geng said at a news briefing.
Though its fine to be friendly with USA and China, it would certainly be in the interest of Australia to establish closer relations with yet another rising power named India. Australians must ponder over the centuries old fact that one of the oceans touching its shore is called INDIAN OCEAN , a name certainly not proclaimed by India but given by the rest of the world in recognition of India’s power in this area. This power had waned very briefly but is on the rise once again.