Olive branches dampens the sound of distant war drums

With the hospitalization of Trump, the world went into temporary recess from the Cold War and China sends an olive branch to Australia to dampen the sound of distant war drums. As the SCMP suggests, there is still hope for peace and mutual understanding.

This week good news comes from an opinion piece by Tom Plate (SCMP 6Oct2020) with the headline “US-China relations: mutual understanding is still possible despite the hostility”.

He wrote: “Getting it right between US and China means looking for new source of insight rather than pumping more steroids into old stereotypes. Despite the rapid downturn in relations, the payoff in seeking mutual understanding and rising above pre-existing notions could be priceless”.

Pundits have speculated that this soft approach to diplomacy could be related to the hospitalization of President Trump or an expectation of Biden winning the election. His hospitalization also attracted a report in the SMH (4Octg2020),

“What we know, and what we don’t, about Trump’s coronavirus diagnosis

Trump gambled with the coronavirus and he lost the bet. No country should go by the day without a leader hence, Trump’s stubbornness in not handling power to Pence could be a problem but his inaction is consistent with personality – trust no one. For the sake of the world, we hope he recovers soon. (published SMH-APun readers comment)

Despite the Cold War hostility between US and China, it was set aside when President Xi of China wished President Trump a speedy recovery. We believe this is a good and magnanimous gesture for world peace.

Another piece of good news comes from report from the Sydney Morning Herald (6Oct2020) with the headline “Beijing changes tactics on Australia, looks to ‘reset’ diplomacy”

In this piece, Geoff Raby, former Ambassador to China (2007-2011) said that Beijing was stepping back from pressuring American allies as the US heads towards an election and it seeks to cool diplomatic tensions on multiple fronts. Mdm Fu Ying, a former Chinese Ambassador to Australia called for an end to confrontation and abusive language. Her statement is an overture to the statement made by Wang Xining, the Head of Mission (Canberra) that the two countries should not let “a cold, hard mind cast a shadow over our partnership”.

Raby concluded that the Wang and Fu statements were a signal to Canberra that Beijing wanted to reassess the relationship.

Let’s get serious about this olive branch which sounds better than distant war drums in the South China Sea internationally, and megaphone diplomacy domestically. By offering the olive branch, which is magnanimous gesture for a powerful nation, it removes a lot negative stereotyping of China as a “bully” and other Cold War descriptors. China is wise to change tack when a hard approach to Australia does not work; a softer tone will mend fences. As for the 1.2 million Chinese Australians, it is welcome news and it reduce the stress and trauma of being phenotypically Chinese and we would request PM Morrison to response positively to this olive branch in the interests of all Australians. (published SMH-APun readers comment)

China’s action is consistent with one Sunzi Art of War Strategy Remove the firewood from under the pot (釜底抽薪Fu di chou xin) which literally means take the fuel out of the fire

China has made the first move towards peace and reconciliation, and now it is up PM Morrison to takes this golden opportunity and be credited for repairing and restoring the broken Australia-China relations.

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Dr Anthony Pun OAM, is the National President of the Chinese Community Council of Australia (CCCA);

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