In an interview with AusBiz TV, Senior Fellow Dr Charles Edel warned China is paying close attention to the US presidential election, possibly more so following the last three months of President Trump being "enormously disruptive to the relationship".
While President Trump argues that China wants Biden elected, Dr Edel noted there are estimates over various quarters in Beijing which suggest China would "welcome the return of a Donald Trump presidency because it would keep the US distracted, inwardly focussed and divided, and less willing and able to bring support with its allies" against Chinese policies.
And as the world looks to be more divided in regard to aligning with the US or China, Australia has been put in a uniquely delicate position, but Dr Edel highlighted how Australia has "threaded the needle very smartly".
"To a certain degree, I don’t think this has very much to do with who’s elected in the US," Dr Edel said.
"It's based on how far and how hard China wants to push because, particularly in the aftermath of the pandemic, what we’ve seen is an increasingly assertive set of policies from Beijing aggressively pushed outwards against Australia, India, Vietnam, the Philippines, and Japan too."
"The question is not how do you balance it, it’s how do you make sure that you advance your interests in a forceful way, but still protects Australian sovereignty. To me, the Australian government is striking just the right balance on that front."