The China-Australia Trade War
After targeting Australian barley, beef, wine and coal in recent weeks, China is now also “discouraging” Chinese companies from buying Australian cotton the South China Morning Post reported on October 16. This wave of tariffs and embargoes might seem sudden, but developments over the last nine months, and indeed years, provide some insight on China’s ire.
China has steadily increased investment and trade with Australia over the last few years. Sixty percent of Australia’s trade worldwide is with Asia. As of 2019, China accounted for 40 percent of that total, and at $165 billion, China is Australia’s most important trade partner. China accounts for about a third of Australia’s export earnings; it has invested almost $50 billion in Australia over the last six years, funding over a dozen Australian universities and think tanks; and over 10 percent of all Australian university places are held by Chinese international students.
Australia’s future looked inseparable from China. Then covid-19 happened.
Australian Foreign Secretary Marise Payne called for an independent inquiry into the pandemic’s outbreak. Prime Minister Scott Morrison went a step further, suggesting that the China-controlled World Health Organization needed tougher powers to investigate what caused the outbreak.
The calls led to an immediate backlash as China retorted with criticisms of Australia resorting to “politically motivated suspicion and accusation.” The Chinese Embassy in Australia accused politicians of being keen to “parrot what those Americans have asserted and simply follow them in staging political attacks on China.”
In truth, the Australian public was unmoved by the prospect of an acrimonious relationship with China. According to a new Pew Survey, the number of Australians with a favorable view of China has plummeted from 64 percent to just 15 percent in the last three years. Eighty-one percent of Australians view China unfavorably, despite how interlinked their economies have been in recent years.
China recognizes this and has invested less and less in Australia over recent months. But Australia’s outright castigation of Beijing was significant. It was a show of opposition that rankled Beijing, hence the economic squeeze to suffocate Australian industry and business.
Now, Australia’s $750 million cotton trade with China is threatened. This is in addition to the duties imposed on Australian barley, an import ban on four Australian red meat abattoirs, as well as the targeting of Australian coal. China has even launched an investigation into imports of Australian wine.
China has effectively launched a no-holds-barred assault on Australian trade. Its willingness to besiege the Australian economy gives valuable insight into China’s current proclivity for economic combativeness. Bible prophecy shows us how this approach will broaden in the near future.
Mart of Nations
The Bible tells of a special relationship between God and the nations of Israel. In Leviticus 26, God outlines the parameters of His covenant with Israel, primarily the United States, Britain, Canada, New Zealand and Australia today. (For proof of this fact, request our free book The United States and Britain in Prophecy, by Herbert W. Armstrong.) God promises blessings for obedience and curses for disobedience.
About these modern-day descendants, Mr. Armstrong wrote:
The most remarkable fulfillment of biblical prophecy in modern times was the sudden sprouting forth of the two mightiest world powers—one, a commonwealth of nations forming the greatest world empire of all time; the other, the wealthiest, most powerful nation on Earth today. These birthright peoples came, with incredible suddenness, into possession of more than two thirds—nearly three fourths—of the cultivated wealth and resources of the whole world! This sensational spurt from virtual obscurity in so short a time gives incontrovertible proof of divine inspiration. Never, in all history, did anything like it occur.
Australia was a part of that great world empire. It was a recipient of those wonderful blessings. But today, it has turned away from God, forgetting that wonderful relationship and the way of life that brings blessings. And there are consequences.
The Prophet Isaiah wrote about a powerful, multinational trade conglomerate, a “mart of nations,” to arise in this age (Isaiah 23:3). One of the key players in this trade is identified as “Chittim.”
In his booklet Isaiah’s End-Time Vision, Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry explains: “This biblical name refers to both the island of Cyprus and to the nation of China, whose progenitors first populated Cyprus and gave it its name. … Their territory stretched from what is now Korea to eastern Kazakhstan, including Beijing, the seat of government in China today.”
Kittim, also referring to modern-day China, is prophesied to head up a powerful trade alliance, one that will include Tyre (modern-day Europe), Meshech (Russia) and Tarshish (Japan) (Isaiah 23:1; Ezekiel 38:2, 13). However, Israel is not prophesied to be part of this alliance. This is because the alliance will exist for the purpose of shutting modern-day Israel out of world trade as it is “literally besieged—economically frozen out of world trade.”
China is doing to Australia today what, as a leading member of this prophesied mart of nations, it will do to all modern-day nations of Israel. This is no simple dispute to be solved through diplomacy, which Australia is now hoping to do. Even if Australia and China do make amends, this spat has revealed China’s willingness to lay siege on the economies of its enemies. This siege will broaden once Europe and other Asian nations join this mart of nations.
An all-out trade war is on the horizon, one that will completely destroy the nations of Israel. History has proved that economic turmoil often precipitates war. More significantly, the Bible prophesies that war is coming. At the Trumpet, we report on world events through the lens of the Bible, showing what is to come but also the way to escape it. Request our free magazine and a free copy of Isaiah’s End-Time Vision to gain the full understanding of the meaning behind world events and to learn what you can do about it.