Chinese envoy slams Quad, G7 as Canberra backs Biden

·3-min read

China's ambassador to Australia has attacked the Quad and the G7 for fuelling anti-China sentiment and stoking regional tensions.

Xiao Qian has accused Western nations of misleading the international community about China's ambitions in the Pacific, in a rare address to Australian media.

He said G7 nations - Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and United States - only served their personal interests and accounted for less than 40 per cent of global economic output.

"They are not only targeting China as a so-called threat but also trying to co-ordinate with other countries in the region and globally to contain China," the ambassador told reporters in Canberra on Thursday.

"Their people have been enjoying top-level living standards for several decades. They want to continue that and it's good for them but for countries like China or other developing countries, we want to make progress."

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese will be a guest at the G7 summit in Hiroshima this weekend.

Mr Xiao also called the Quad leaders' meeting between Australia, the US, Japan and India a bad idea.

"It's even a worse idea when we are trying to target China," he said.

"We want to have a relationship that is co-operative, that is not confrontational - we don't see conflict."

The Quad leaders are aiming to meet on the sidelines of the G7, after a summit planned for Sydney next week was cancelled when US President Joe Biden pulled out to handle sensitive negotiations with Congress over the country's debt ceiling.

The issue needs to be resolved by the end of the month to avoid a catastrophic default.

Former foreign minister Bob Carr said Australians should not believe the Quad "is as significant a forum as some suggest" after the president withdrew.

He said the prospect America could be more unpredictable and unreliable needed to be factored into Australia's thinking.

"We Australians have been enormously gullible and optimistic about our American partner," he told Sky News.

"The fact the president can cancel the attendance and the meeting can apparently not proceed is a warning about the limits of America's attention span and one that Australia ought to take seriously."

Foreign Minister Penny Wong's office said it disagreed with Mr Carr's comments.

"President Biden is a great friend of Australia. We appreciate that friendship and the role the US plays in the region and in the world," a spokesman for the minister said.

The Indian prime minister will still travel to Australia for a bilateral meeting.

Employment Minister Tony Burke told ABC Radio on Thursday there should not be any concern for Australia's relationship with the US despite the cancelled visit.

"I don't think anyone would question when you've got something like the debt ceiling being negotiated," he said.

"Anyone who knows what negotiations with the debt ceiling are like in the United States understands exactly why President Biden's been in a situation to make him make a decision like this."

Mr Burke hoped Mr Biden's visit to Australia would be rearranged.