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Payne snubs Pompeo on China regime change

Written By: - Date published: 12:52 pm, July 30th, 2020 - 15 comments
Categories: australian politics, China, defence, International, military, us politics, war - Tags:

Australia’s Foreign Minister Marise Payne and Defence Minister Linda Reynolds were invited to travel to the US this week to meet face-to-face with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defense Minister Mark Esper. In what was clearly a follow-up to recent speeches on China by the Americans, Payne firmly declined to join Pompeo in in his call for regime change in China.

Speaking at the post-talks stand-up, Payne was asked a direct question by Nick Schifrin of PBS Newshour regarding Pompeo’s Nixon Center speech:

another aspect of that speech was the admonition to help the Chinese people change the Chinese Government. Do you think that is possible and/or wise?

In response, Payne  commented:

rather than I think make individual comments on the Secretary’s speech – Secretary’s speeches are his own; Australia’s positions are our own.

most importantly from our perspective, we make our own decisions, our own judgments in the Australian national interest and about upholding our security, our prosperity, and our values. So we deal with China in the same way. We have a strong economic engagement, other engagement, and it works in the interests of both countries.

That said, of course, we don’t agree on everything. We are very different countries. We are very different systems, and it’s the points on which we disagree that we should be able to articulate in a mature and sensible way and advance, as I said, our interests and our values. As my prime minister put it recently, the relationship that we have with China is important, and we have no intention of injuring it, but nor do we intend to do things that are contrary to our interests, and that is the premise from which we begin.

Payne’s remarks were widely interpreted in Australian media as a refusal to join in the coalition of the unwilling that Pompeo had called for at the conclusion of his Nixon Center speech. Strategic Studies Professor Hugh White outlined the nature of this request:

But last week Pompeo made a major speech in California which must have sounded alarm bells in Canberra. It called for a new alliance of democracies which would aim not just to curtail China’s growing influence, but to fundamentally “change China”.

“If the free world doesn’t fundamentally change” the way it deals with China, he said, “Communist China will surely change us”. It was crystal clear that he had in mind nothing less than the removal of the Chinese Communist Party as the government of China.

This is scary stuff. Scarier still, Pompeo blithely assured his audience that this would be easy.

You can’t get any worse form of interference in another country’s affairs than attempted regime change. Pompeo is calling for the Chinese people to rise up against their government with the support of the United States. Hong Kong has been the test ground, to which the Chinese government, legitimately in my opinion, has now called a halt.

However Payne did go on to say without being specific that the Australian government will work with the United States to counter harmful disinformation. It would be more helpful in my view if Australia did its bit to counter rampant US disinformation.

Defense Ministers dodged a question as to whether Australia would allow the US to position intermediate range ballistic missiles in Australia, but did announce there would be a US-funded strategic fuel reserve at Darwin so it might see nuclear-capable bombers based there. They will also work together on hypersonics, and as US Defense Minister Mark Esper said “the full range of capabilities.”

It was mildly ironic that both US and Australia agreed to help other countries with managing the Covid virus.

We can be grateful that Australia has not joined – so far as Hugh White remarked – the US regime-change coalition, but that does not reduce all of the risks for New Zealand.

We need to maintain our independence too as agents for peace, and continued friendly relations with China.

 

15 comments on “Payne snubs Pompeo on China regime change ”

  1. Whispering Kate 1

    The Australian Foreign Minister should have told Pompeo that the US should get its own house in order first and regime change there should be a first priority.

  2. Byd0nz 2

    Regime change aspirations. That is the Uncle Sam way. Did they threaten NZ with Regime change if we didn't kow tow to their Hong Kong view on the HK Security law?

  3. Tiger Mountain 3

    US Imperialism was the scourge of the world’s people throughout the 20th century, and the 21st so far. A shameful, very long list of attacks, wars, sanctions, election tampering, dirty tricks and spying were conducted by the USA to try and impose “democracy”–often code for oil and resource grabs–on other countries populations at huge cost and minimal useful outcomes. How many actual wars has PRC China started on other countries territory since its formation?

    Why should credence be given to a filthbag like Mr Pompeo, or a failing Nation which the US clearly is becoming these days? Or their bullying deputy dog–Australia–in these parts. Australia gives the NZ people the cold shoulder indeed these days, “ANZAC spirit” seems for ceremonies only in 2020.

    The US/5 Eyes war mongering should be seen for what it is–last gasp of US and Anglosphere imperialism, not some noble defence of “democracy”, which barely seems to exist in United States itself at the moment.

    • Draco T Bastard 3.1

      US Imperialism was the scourge of the world’s people throughout the 20th century, and the 21st so far. A shameful, very long list of attacks, wars, sanctions, election tampering, dirty tricks and spying were conducted by the USA to try and impose “democracy”–often code for oil and resource grabs–on other countries populations at huge cost and minimal useful outcomes.

      True so the question that follows should be:

      Why should we let China now do the same bloody thing?

      No, we should not be trying to do regime change in China (or anywhere else). That is up to the people that live there.

      It may be that we should support them after their revolution but not before.

      Australia gives the NZ people the cold shoulder indeed these days, “ANZAC spirit” seems for ceremonies only in 2020.

      The ANZAC spirit died out years ago and we really should be disposing of the corpse.

      The US/5 Eyes war mongering should be seen for what it is–last gasp of US and Anglosphere imperialism, not some noble defence of “democracy”, which barely seems to exist in United States itself at the moment.

      The US democracy was designed to produce an aristocracy of the rich while giving a faux feeling of power to the common people. It has been surprisingly effective at doing just that.

      • Phil 3.1.1

        we should not be trying to do regime change in China (or anywhere else). That is up to the people that live there.

        I agree with the broad sentiment, but when was the last time that any material political/social decision in China was decided by "the people"?

        • Draco T Bastard 3.1.1.1

          Back when they had their revolution against their aristocracy.

        • Mike Smith 3.1.1.2

          1949

          • Lettuce 3.1.1.2.1

            Interesting. And how about Tibet and East Turkestan?

            • Draco T Bastard 3.1.1.2.1.1

              Good question. They say that they aren't Chinese, that they don't want to be part of China and the UN says that people have the right to self-determination. The UN also has rules against aggressive war and invasions.

              So, why is the UN allowing China, under its One China Policy, to forcefully annex them?

              • Mpk

                I would say that the problem with the UN "allowing" this to happen is the same as the UN "allowing" the humanitarian disaster in Yemen and the anexing of Palestinian land by Israel. If the event is backed by a state with veto powers then the UN is powrless to act and in fact cannot act since it has no mandate

  4. Draco T Bastard 4

    We need to maintain our independence too as agents for peace, and continued friendly relations with China.

    Although I agree with the first part why do we have to maintain friendly relations with China when they're obviously not all that friendly to us?

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/farming/82092018/china-threatens-reprisals-on-nz-dairy-wool-and-kiwifruit-if-government-doesnt-back-off-cheap-steel-inquiry

    • tc 4.1

      Totally and let's not omit the likely State sponsored theft of IP and technology from hacking efforts around the globe.

      Russia has form on this front (more a disruptor) then there's friendly ole Uncle Sam, gosh spoilt for a choice of provocateur.

      Trust nobody, focus on making NZ resilient. Covid creates opportunity to stand apart.

  5. Dennis Frank 5

    Pompeo, one suspects, hasn't played Go. I wonder if he has even become accomplished at Chess (which is less subtle).

    The game was invented in China more than 2,500 years ago and is believed to be the oldest board game continuously played to the present day. A 2016 survey by the International Go Federation's 75 member nations found that there are over 46 million people worldwide who know how to play Go and over 20 million current players, the majority of whom live in East Asia.

    Despite its relatively simple rules, Go is very complex. Compared to chess, Go has both a larger board with more scope for play and longer games, and, on average, many more alternatives to consider per move. The number of legal board positions in Go has been calculated to be approximately 2 × 10[to the power of]170, which is vastly greater than the number of atoms in the known, observable universe, estimated to be about 10[to the power of]80. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Go_(game)

    Strategic thinking works differently when your mass psychology is different, eh? How long have the yanks been failing to learn this elementary fact? Does the Council for Foreign Relations even give night courses in Hive Mind 1.01 to newbies like Pompeo?

  6. millsy 6

    "Pompeo is calling for the Chinese people to rise up against their government with the support of the United States."

    From what I am hearing, the Chinese people are more or less OK with the current system that they live under.

    Not saying that China is a wonderful place, or there are no problems, (because there are a total fuckton of them), but the people are not so naive as to think a multi party democracy will solve all their problems.

    For the record, Chinese are free to speak out and be critical against the government, and many do, and there are elections, in which people can vote on who makes up their local council, who in turn, vote on who makes up the next level right up to the top. It isnt a dictatorship.

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