China’s attempts to influence affairs in foreign countries is “a new global battle,” former U.S. secretary of state Hillary Clinton warned during a speech in Auckland, New Zealand, The Guardian reported Tuesday.
“In Australia and here in New Zealand experts are sounding the alarm about Chinese efforts to gain political power and influence policy decisions,” Clinton said Monday night. Academic “Anne-Marie Brady of the University of Canterbury has rightly called this a new global battle, and it’s just getting started. We need to take it seriously.”
Over the course of the last decade, China has become the largest trading partner for both Australia and New Zealand, but Beijing rejects charges that it attempts to influence the domestic politics of other countries for its own benefit, according to CNN.
But to counter the growing trend of China’s Communist Party trying to influence both local and national politics in Australia, Canberra has drafted legislation outlawing foreign influence and political donations.
In a demonstration of the importance Australia places on the issue, a former adviser to the prime minister also discussed the topic with the U.S. House Armed Services Committee in March, the Business Insider reported.
These developments come as Sydney’s Lowy Institute on Tuesday published its inaugural Asian Power Index, which confirmed the increase of China’s political and economic influence in the area, CNN reported.
Although the U.S. retains the top spot for this year in the index, the study said that Beijing could overtake it in the coming years amid the Trump administration’s threats to disengage from the Asia region.
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