Exchanges between officials from Beijing and Australia have reflected the decaying relations between the two trading partners in recent years.
Earlier this week, a Chinese embassy official demanded that Australia end its “Cold War mentality” and decide if it considers China to be a threat or an opportunity?
The Australian trade minister has called on China to explain why it has decided to “single out” Australia as the target of a range of costly tariffs that has undermined the economic relationship between the two countries.
During the Sky News interview on Sunday, Simon Birmingham also accused the Chinese embassy in Canberra of being un-obliging in its demands to Australian authorities this year.
In April where the diplomat said that Australia’s demands for an international investigation into the handling of the Corona-virus outbreak would lead to worsening bilateral relations and impact demand for Australian products in China.
While speaking to the Australian Financial Review, Cheng said “if the mood is going from bad to worse”, then Chinese tourists and students may rethink Australia as a destination, and consumers may think twice about purchasing Australian wine or beef.
The trade minister slammed the envoy’s comments as “coercion”, and argued that the embassy’s proposed list of “claimed grievances” contained the things “any country rightly does” to ensure foreign investment is in the national interest and protects “critical infrastructure and security provisions in nations”.
Birmingham said it was Beijing’s responsibility to explain why some Asian nations – including those who have clashing territorial claims with China – can keep functional economic relations while relations with Australia had deteriorated significantly?
Nine News reported that the Chinese embassy had produced a list of 14 key “grievances”, which include Australia’s public condemnation of alleged human rights abuses and issues of territory over Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Xinjiang.
It also included the blocking of Huawei from the national 5G network.
Birmingham also stressed that China and Australia could continue to cooperate effectively in their mutual interest, particularly as the global economic recovery has become a priority.
He said the Australian government was “ deeply concerned” at the fact that the series of “regulatory interventions China has taken this year” have led to a disruption of trade and undermining of economic cooperation.
The trade minister’s comments follow a Chinese embassy official telling Guardian Australia that Morrison government should focus on how it can “to arrest the decline of the bilateral relationship” and create a better atmosphere for resumed negotiations.
The unnamed official also urged Canberra to cease its “cold war mentality” and see China as an “opportunity” rather than a strategic threat.
Australia and its largest trading partner remain at an impasse over the future commercial relationship due to tariffs introduced on certain Australian imports after the Morrison government demanded an investigation into the Corona-virus outbreak earlier this year.
Is the Australian official asleep? Or just deluded? If he still needs an explanation, then he is not fit for his job.
Sputnik / ABC Flash Point News 2020.