Call for more collaboration with like-minded regional partners . . .
In a speech given Tuesday evening, Australia's Foreign Minister Marise Payne outlined Australia's position in the world in the time of COVID-19. She recognized the weakness of current multilateral institutions but also the "unprecedented strain" they are facing, mainly as a result of U.S.-China strategic competition. She praised the benefits of international collaboration, not only for fighting COVID-19 but also for addressing other serious global challenges. Payne also affirmed Australia's commitment to safeguarding the norms and rules underpinning peace and security, a free and open global economy, and respect for human rights.
China singled out . . .
Minister Payne also singled out China (and Russia, to a lesser degree) over its disinformation campaign around the pandemic. And she criticized the warnings issued by the Chinese government to students and tourists to avoid Australia over racism concerns. Tensions between Canberra and Beijing have significantly escalated since Australia pushed for an international inquiry on the origins of COVID-19 and its handling by China. Minister Payne defended her government's actions, including its establishment of a disinformation task force, and argued that a more assertive approach globally but also towards Beijing better serves Australia's long-term interests.
Australia in a post-COVID world . . .
Minister's Payne speech clearly articulated Australia's position in the post-COVID world. Her remarks were well-received and seen as an appropriate response that emphasized a constructive resolution of the heightened differences between Beijing and Canberra. Australia also clearly indicated its commitment to work with like-minded partners, mentioning the Canada-led Ministerial Co-ordination Group on COVID-19, the Five Eyes intelligence group, and discussions held with other regional allies. As Canada re-assesses its global strategy in the post-COVID world, closer collaboration with Australia, a like-minded partner dealing with similar challenges, seems more appropriate than ever.
- Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade: Australia and the world in the time of COVID-19
- Lowy Institute: Marise Payne stakes a claim for cooperation
- Sydney Morning Herald: Foreign Minister Marise Payne hits out at Chinese, Russian 'disinformation'