China: Tobias Ellwood discusses possible conflict with The West
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Former vice-president of the World Bank, Ian Goldin, said animosity between the West and Beijing would only make the current global crises more difficult to overcome. He told the Australian Diggers & Dealers mining forum such a conflict would “lead to excuses for protectionism and nationalism – the antithesis of global trade”.
He said: “We cannot stop the next pandemic if we are fighting a cold war, we cannot stop climate change… we cannot overcome the threat of cyber or financial or other crises.
“We have to work together on these critical challenges.”
Mr Goldin, a one-time adviser to South African president Nelson Mandela, highlighted Beijing’s vital role in resolving worldwide challenges.
He said: “There is no global problem that I can think about that does not require China to be in the room as part of the solution, and its role is growing in this respect.
“It’s also a growing threat that countries have to ‘choose’ as they did in the old cold war with the Soviet Union, and those of us who were around then remember how terrible that was, how it led to skirmishes, how it led to a fragmented global system.
“This all has dramatic implications for Australia, for the future of minerals and mining, not only because of global growth, but of course the tensions between Australia and China have massive potential implications – they already have had – and I believe will greatly slow Australia’s potential.”
Mr Goldin’s remarks come after China sparked war fears after firing warnings to the UK over the Royal Navy’s deployment in the disputed South China Sea.
The HMS Queen Elizabeth and her carrier group arrived in the contested waters, triggering a warning from Beijing.
Chinese state media outlets have warned Britain “shouldn’t tempt (it’s) own fate in the South China Sea”.
The Global Times, Beijing’s state media outlet, conceded the HMS Queen Elizabeth strike group “has not so far done anything particular that can attract the focus of public attention”.
But in an editorial, the mouthpiece warned Britain “they are obliged to remain restrained and obey the rules”.
In a direct message to Britain, the article said: “The very idea of a British presence in the South China Sea is dangerous.”
British defence sources told The Guardian HMS Queen Elizabeth would sail “tens of miles away” from the disputed Spratly and Paracel Islands, which are claimed by China.
The aircraft carrier and ships entered the South China Sea earlier this week and are expected to depart by the end of Saturday.
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