Former PM Tony Abbott: China uses trade as weapon, wants world to be dependent on it

tony abbott

Former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said on Friday that China uses trade as a weapon in a way that almost no other country does.

The former Australian PM said that China wants the whole world to be dependent on it but it wants to be independent of the world.

"China wants the rest of the world to be dependent on it and it wants to be completely independent for its part of the rest of the world. And this is part of the clearly stated objective of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) to be the world's number one power by mid-century. And I think we have to appreciate that China uses trade as a weapon in a way that almost no other country does. So I think we have to be very conscious of just how exposed we could be," Abbott said.

He was speaking at the panel discussion on 'Materials that Matter: Battle for Securing Critical Supply Chains' during Raisina Dialogue. Union Minister of State for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship Rajeev Chandrasekhar and Tadashi Maeda, Chairman of the Board, Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) also participated in the discussion.

"I think the pandemic was but a foretaste of what could happen. Look at the disruption which is currently being caused by the Ukraine war. Any conflict across the Straits of Taiwan would bring about disruption many orders of magnitude greater than the disruption caused by the Ukraine war. We can take supply chains for granted in an era of globalization and connectedness, we can't take them for granted in a period of potential conflict between systems and powers. And I really think that every country right now has got to ask itself some very hard questions," Abbott said.

He said that Australia wants to be as helpful as it can be. "I think Australia has this great sense of mateship, global mateship, as well as local and insular mateship," he said.

"We discovered during the pandemic when all of a sudden everyone in the world wanted masks, gloves, PPE, ventilators, antibiotics...there was none to be had, none to be had because everyone wanted it and most of it was coming from China. And so there was this mad, mad, desperate scramble. Eventually supply started to come into equilibrium. But if there was another period of great disruption, well, then this would go from something that is nice to do to something which is absolutely, 100 per cent vitally urgent," he added.

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