'AMERICA'S PAWN': Australia 'seriously poisoned' China relationship

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·News Reporter
·2-min read
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China's anger over recent remarks from Defence Minister Peter Dutton shows no sign of abating after state media shared scathing remarks from a defence spokesperson.

Mr Dutton had ruffled Beijing's feathers with comments suggesting China has become increasingly aggressive and coercive.

"We are grappling with a regional environment far-more complex and far-less predictable than at any time since the Second World War," he said on Wednesday.

Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian reacted angrily on Friday, brandishing Mr Dutton's remarks as "extremely dangerous and irresponsible behaviour".

Peter Dutton's mid-week remarks have proven controversial in China. Source: AAP
Peter Dutton's mid-week remarks have proven controversial in China. Source: AAP

And on Saturday, nationalistic tabloid the Global Times, a renowned mouthpiece of Beijing, published comments from Ministry of National Defence spokesperson Wu Qian who said Australia must stop fabricating an "imaginary enemy" in China.

According to the Global Times, Mr Wu said some senior officials in Australia are "willingly serving as the pawn to the US" in a bid to stifle China.

"Their toxic rhetoric has seriously poisoned the atmosphere for the development of relations between the two militaries and the two countries and undermined the regional efforts of Asia Pacific countries on maintaining peace and stability," Wu said.

China-Australia feud reignited

Beijing was also rattled by recent comments from Treasurer Josh Frydenberg who said Australian businesses would fare better if they sought investment from outside of China.

The angry war-of-words in the past week brought to an end a relatively quiet period for the two nations who have gone head-to-head in the past 18 months amid a rapid deterioration of relations.

Beijing has accused Canberra of an interference in multiple internal affairs, as well as believing Chinese investment in Australia has wrongly been rebuffed. China was also angered by Prime Minister Scott Morrison's vocal and early calls for an investigation into the origins of the coronavirus.

Mr Morrison has vowed he will not abandon Australia's national interests to appease Beijing, with his government condemning China's alleged coercion including what is believed to be retaliating trade sanctions on Australian exports such as wine, beef and barley. 

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