China’s Communist Government led by dictator Xi, Jinping has imposed a ban on Australian coal entering China through five specific entry points. The move comes on the back of Australia’s 5G internet ban on Huawei, an alleged cyber security hack on the Australian Government and other attempts by state actors to influence Australian policy makers.
According to a report from #theirABC the coal ban will only affect 1.8% of Australian coal exports (according to National Australia Bank research). The five entry points belong to the Dalian Port Group and they are, Dalian, Bayuquan, Panjin, Dandong and Beiliang.
China’s Foreign Minister Geng, Shuang made some sarcastic remarks about the ban attempting to make light of the situation. At one stage even asking a reporter if they were saying coal or cow. He also brushed off questions that the ban may be payback for recent bad coverage of China in Australia. However, Geng was compelled to state China’s innocence in the recent hacking affair:
“One should present abundant evidence when investigating and determining the nature of a cyberspace activity instead of making baseless speculations and firing indiscriminate shots at others . . . China hopes Australia can work with us to advance bilateral relations on the basis of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit.”
Australia’s Reserve Bank governor Philip Lowe also looked to pour water on claims that this was retribution and instead sought to ensure overall bilateral trade is undamaged. “If it were to be the sign of a deterioration in the underlying political relationship between Australia and China that would be much more concerning,” he said.
To the layman the farcical efforts to declare the Australian coal ban as not an act of retribution is laughable though. Arriving just after allegations were made against China for hacking Australian Parliament and whilst coal imports from Russia and Indonesia continue unabated. In fact if not retribution this could simply be could a racist attack on Australia and Australian coal.