Aussies fear threat of war with China
ALMOST half of Australians think their country will face China’s military might within 20 years, a poll has found. On the eve of Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s first trip to China, a Lowy Institute poll found 44 per cent of people think the Asian powerhouse will pose a military threat to Australia.
Of those people, 82 per cent thought Australia’s land and resources could be a reason for an attack or invasion. Most people worried about China’s military rise think a war between China and the US, in which Australia would take part, is a more likely cause of strife.
The institute polled 1002 nationally representative Australians between March 30 and April 14. The poll results highlight some of the diplomatic challenges Ms Gillard faces when she travels to Beijing. Trade, human rights abuses and imprisoned Australians are other sticky issues experts say make any leader’s visit to China a difficult balancing act.
Professor of Asian languages and studies at Monash University, Bruce Jacobs, said the poll results were not surprising because China had issued threatening statements in the region and was building arms. “I think (concerns) are likely to increase,” Prof Jacobs said. But he rejected the theory Australia’s resources or land would be reason for attack.
Australian concerns about human rights abuses and foreign investment are also high, the Lowy poll shows. And as Ms Gillard today marks Anzac Day in South Korea, the poll shows the majority of people would support a war against North Korea if it attacked its southern neighbour.
Lowy Institute executive director Dr Michael Wesley said Ms Gillard must tread a fine line this week. “The results show just how difficult it will be for Prime Minister Gillard to balance the economic demands of the relationship with the Australian public’s concerns about human rights abuses in China, its military expansion, and negative perceptions about Chinese investment in Australia,” Dr Wesley said. Source- Herald Sun