China has delivered a defiant response to damning poll results that found Australians’ trust in the communist nation has significantly diminished.
On Wednesday (local time), China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian laid blame on Australia for the deteriorating relationship between the two countries.
Yet the spokesperson deflected from China’s role in its dwindling public trust internationally and instead lambasted Australia’s “erroneous practices” which Mr Zhao claims has damaged public opinion.
“Australia's erroneous practices in its relations with China are not conducive to creating a favourable atmosphere of public opinion between the two peoples,” he told reporters.
Nine in 10 Australians want the government to reduce the country’s dependence on China, according to the poll.
It comes after China issued a series of apparent economic attacks on Australia in the wake of Scott Morrison calling for an independent review on the origin of the coronavirus outbreak.
Australia’s insistence on the coronavirus inquiry was scorned by the Communist Party of China and prompted threats from Chinese Ambassador Cheng Jingye to boycott Australian produce.
Weeks after Mr Cheng’s comments, four Australian abattoirs were boycotted by China and there was speculation tariffs imposed on Australian barley was prompted by Mr Morrison’s calls.
Earlier this month China’s tourism and education ministries issued warnings to Chinese nationals over travelling to Australia for leisure and study due to an increase in alleged racist attacks amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The move is likely to have catastrophic effects to Australia’s economy with the nation’s tourism industry and universities heavily supported by the Chinese.
China says Australia needs to improve the relationship
On Wednesday, Mr Zhao called on Australia to improve efforts to repair the relationship, warning it is in their interests.
“China's position on developing China-Australia relations is consistent and clear,” he said.
“A healthy and stable China-Australia relationship serves the common interests of both countries, but it requires the joint efforts of both sides.
“We hope that the Australian side will work with the Chinese side, earnestly uphold the principles of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit, and do more things that are conducive to China-Australia mutual trust and cooperation.”
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