After the Australian Minister of Trade took the initiative to send a letter to Chinese officials stating that he would “wait patiently for China’s response”, Australian Prime Minister Morrison also stated that he would “engage with China.” According to a report by Sky News Australia on February 1, Australian Prime Minister Morrison mentioned the China-Australia relationship in a speech that day, saying that Australia is seeking dialogue and will continue to work to “contact China”: “We cannot pretend that things are the same as in the past. , “It is necessary to start with a dialogue between ministerial and leadership levels.”
Morrison’s speech was published by the Australian National Press Club. He first emphasized that the primary goal of the Australian government is to protect the country’s sovereign interests.
“Ensuring the interests of Australians is always the core goal of the Australian government. Even if this is not the most important task, it is still the responsibility of the federal government.” Morrison said, “Australia must rely on itself to influence the world and make it in line with Australia Interests, and this must first start in our own region.”
Then he talked about China-Australia relations. Morrison claimed that despite the differences and disagreements between China and Australia, Australia is now “still committed to reaching China” because both China and Australia and the people of both countries “benefit from the economic relationship between the two countries.”
“It is not surprising that there are differences between two countries with quite different economic and political systems. Our goal is to ensure that these differences will not hinder cooperation between China and Australia while safeguarding their respective national sovereign interests. A win-win situation.” Morrison said.
He said in the dialogue that China-Australia relations have obviously changed, and Australia will continue to try to talk to China: “We can’t pretend that things are the same as before. To establish a lasting partnership, both of us must adapt to the new Reality, mutual contact, and this starts with a dialogue between ministerial and leadership levels.”
But Morrison finally emphasized that in his view, “the focus of the dialogue is not to make concessions, but to seek a way of cooperation in a mutually beneficial field that will benefit the two countries and their people in the future.”
In mid-December 2020, Morrison also made a similar statement to the Australian media, saying that Australia seeks a relationship that “ensures the maintenance of mutual benefit”. The Australian government welcomes the resumption of dialogue between Chinese and Australian officials, especially at the ministerial level and Direct dialogue at the leader level. He emphasized at the time that the consultations would be “unconditional.”
On January 28, Australian Trade Minister Dan Tehan stated that he had sent a letter to Chinese officials seeking to restart the China-Australia dialogue and discuss trade matters, but the Chinese side had not paid attention to him. Tehan said that he will continue to wait for a reply from China.
Last year, Australia has repeatedly hyped up the so-called “new crown traceability issue”, human rights and other issues, frequently made false statements, and acted as an “anti-China vanguard” for some Western countries, causing damage to China-Australia relations. At the same time, Australia’s neighboring country New Zealand has officially signed the Free Trade Agreement Upgrade Protocol with China to help New Zealand’s “trade recovery strategy.”
On January 27, New Zealand’s Minister of Trade and Export Growth, Damien O’Conner, had “called out” Australia in an interview with US media. He pointed out that if Australia can show respect like New Zealand, use more diplomatic skills and be cautious in wording, Australia-China relations may also reach a similar level to New Zealand-China relations.
But the Australian government does not seem to approve this friendly proposal from neighboring countries. Australian media quoted sources as saying that senior Australian government officials were “disquieted” by O’Connor’s remarks and believed that New Zealand should “stand on Australia’s side.”
A large-scale fire broke out in the training ground of the Japanese Self-Defense Forces, and the US military was training nearby at the time of the incident
According to Japanese TV Asahi, a large-scale fire broke out in the North Fuji training ground of the Ground Self-Defense Force in Yamanashi Prefecture, Japan on the evening of the 4th. The US military was holding shooting training nearby at the time of the incident.
The fire broke out at about 4:30 in the evening on the 4th. The incident occurred at the Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force training ground across Fujiyoshida City and Yamanakako Village in Yamanashi County. At that time, thick smoke erupted, and then the fire spread widely in the shape of “one”, causing a large-scale fire.
The Japanese Self-Defense Forces continued to put out the fire, and the fire basically subsided late at night. At the time of the incident, nearby US troops were conducting howitzer shooting training. No one was injured in the fire, and the cause of the fire is still under investigation.
The UN Secretary-General’s special envoy is trying to contact Myanmar leaders
On February 1, Myanmar changed. Following the UN Secretary-General Guterres’s “strong condemnation” of the Myanmar military’s detention of Myanmar’s Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi and other officials, the UN Secretary-General’s spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said at a regular press conference, The United Nations special envoy for Myanmar and Swiss diplomat Christine Burgener is trying to contact government officials in Naypyidaw, the capital of Myanmar, but communication has not been restored.
“Birgner is actively interacting with this issue,” Dujarik said at a press conference. “She has consulted with dialogue parties outside Myanmar and is trying to get in touch with the Myanmar government. However, currently, Communication in the capital is very difficult.”
Bilgna has served as the UN Special Envoy for Myanmar since 2018. In addition to her, the UN Myanmar team in Yangon was also unable to obtain information about the situation, and other UN agencies in New York also failed to obtain the opportunity to communicate with the Myanmar government in Naypyidaw.
Dujarik added that the personnel sent by the United Nations to Myanmar are paying close attention to the development of the situation to ensure that vulnerable groups in Myanmar will not suffer too much from the incident as the epidemic spreads. He said that the most important thing for Myanmar at present is that the international community can “speak with one voice.”
“What we know is that the will of the people of Myanmar has been overthrown in an undemocratic way,” Dujarik said. “This situation must be changed and the will of the people must be respected.”
Faced with the uncertain status of Myanmar, the United Kingdom, the rotating presidency of the United Nations Security Council, will hold a meeting to discuss the current situation in Myanmar on the morning of February 2nd Eastern Time. Barbara Woodward, the British ambassador to the United Nations, expressed the hope that the members of the Security Council can conduct “constructive discussions” on the form of Myanmar at the meeting.
According to news from Agence France-Presse on the 1st, the meeting will be conducted via video and will not be made public. The Special Envoy for Myanmar, Birgner, will brief the Security Council on the latest development of the incident.
On February 1, Burmese State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi and Burmese President Win Myint were detained by the military. A Burmese woman accidentally recorded a military vehicle driving towards the parliament. At around 8 am on the same day, the Myanmar military declared a state of emergency in Myanmar. According to the United Nations News Network, many newly-elected parliamentarians are currently under house arrest, the streets of the city are heavily guarded, and wireless network devices such as mobile phones are almost completely interrupted.
In response to this matter, in an interview on February 1, the United Nations Special Envoy for Myanmar and Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Myanmar, Tom Andrews, called on the international community to take “decisive action”, including “strong and targeted sanctions and Arms embargo”. In addition, he stated that he should “unconditionally release all detained persons and resume communications” and end this “horrifying illegal act”.
The U.S. finally identified the ‘Myanmar coup’ and mentioned China
In the face of the sudden change in the political situation in Myanmar on the 1st, the US’s statement changed from “shock” to “call for release” to “threat of sanctions.” Although the wording has become stronger and stronger, the United States has never used the term “coup”.
On the afternoon of the 2nd, the wording of the Biden administration finally changed. U.S. State Department spokesperson Ned Price said at his first press conference after taking office that the United States, after examining all the facts, determined that the military action of the Myanmar military on February 1 constituted a military coup. He specifically mentioned that this military coup is not in the interests of the United States and “nor is it in the interests of China.”
According to the US “Foreign Aid Act”, if a country has a “military coup” or any act that “deposes a democratically elected head of government” through a government order, the United States must limit its aid to that country.
However, a reporter mentioned at the press conference that when the Egyptian political turmoil occurred in 2013, the Obama administration took three weeks to decide whether to define the Egyptian incident as a coup. In this Myanmar incident, the Biden administration basically made a decision in less than a day. The reporter asked about this, why is this government able to make a decision so quickly that the Myanmar incident meets the criteria for a coup?
In this regard, Price said that this case is “very clear”, “We are based on the judgment that (Myanmar) deposed State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi and President Win Min in the military coup on February 1.”
“The’State Council, Foreign Operations and Related Projects’ appropriation bill contain a recurring clause that restricts certain aid to the military. Let’s take a look at three criteria… the officially elected head of government (first), Was deposed by a military coup or decree (second), in which the army played a decisive role (third),” Price added. These are the three standards that the State Council has been paying attention to. What happened in Myanmar on February 1 A coup, so we acted quickly.
He said: “This military coup is obviously not in our (U.S.) interests, and certainly not in the interests of our like-minded partners (countries). I think you will also find that this is not in China’s interests.”
But when asked if the US side had any communication with China, Price did not answer directly. He said: “I don’t have a specific dialogue to talk about. Once again, our focus is on our allies who share our interests.”
In addition, Price also mentioned the specific amount of bilateral aid provided by the United States to Myanmar in the fiscal year 2020-$135 million. “I must say that only a small part of this aid is for the Myanmar government.”
CNN quoted a U.S. State Department official as saying that the U.S. direct foreign aid to the Myanmar government was “very little.” “The Myanmar government, including the Myanmar military, has been subject to some foreign aid restrictions, including due to its Legal restrictions on military assistance caused by human rights records”.
The official said that the U.S. government will start the review “immediately”, “The review includes projects that indirectly benefit the military or low-level officers.” “At the same time, we will continue to implement projects that directly benefit the people of Myanmar, including humanitarian assistance. And democratic support projects that benefit civil society.”