China's Foreign Ministry said that the Australian federal government is conducting an espionage in China. He added that there had been an Australian spy operation that was conducted two years ago.
The Global Times posted the pictures of items seized that comprised of cash, a compass, and a map of Shanghai. The items were said to have been used by Australian spies. As a response, the Australian government ridiculed the findings as Prime Minister Scott Morrison said that the Chinese government is not a reliable source of information.
Despite the growing tensions between them, The Trump administration's confrontational policies have led its closest ally Australia to rethink its position. The recent police brutality in the country that involved Australian journalists over the poor handling of the pandemic and protests received negative implications for one of its staunchest allies.
Last June 1, domestic and foreign tensions in Lafayette Park involved the forceful dispersion of a crowd of protestors, including Australian journalists. They were beaten up by the US police, where a video was broadcasted into Australian homes. The event caused the filing of an official complaint.
According to Australian journalist Ryan Heath, the jarring scene caused Australians that have a cultural affinity with the US rethink its ties with the world's most robust economy. The incident was broadcasted on a June 3 episode of the Politico Dispatch podcast aired in the country.
Heath claimed that many people in Australia looked up to the US in a moral sense and as a nation that affords protection. However, after the disturbing incident, Australia now questions whether the US still can lead the global economy.
The reservations of Australia towards the US are not new for the country. According to a poll by Australia's United States Study Center in July 2019, only 20 percent of Australians saw Trump seated on his second terms as President by a two-to-one margin.
Last March, a poll by Lowy Institute also showed that only 30 percent of Australians had confidence for Trump in doing the right thing towards international relations. The survey was done after Trump rejected American First policies involving imports or withdrawing from international agreements.
In an e-mail, a senior lecturer in international relations at Victoria University of Wellington Van Jackson said that the US-Australia alliance had been strained since it began. He also claimed that he worked at the Pentagon during the Obama administration, where the US generally thought of Australia as its closest ally. However, he noted that Australia is currently disgusted with the US and its policymakers who have rendered the country unreliable in the eyes of other nations.
According to Australia's prime minister from 2015-2018 Malcolm Turnbull, the US has less influence globally than how it did before Trump's leadership. He reasoned that this might be due to his handling of conflict and the recent pandemic.
China's effort, on the other hand, to recast Australia's independent call for the pandemic inquiry was the US's doing and was made to discredit the country, thereby putting it in a delicate diplomatic position. According to the director of foreign policy and defense at the United States Studies Center Ashley Townsend, Washington's bidding has put Australia and its relations to China in a bad light.