The Chinese government has likened Australia to a "desperate gambler" after talks with the US, Japan and India were held in Melbourne on Friday to discuss the pandemic, vaccine distribution, regional security and infrastructure.
The publication said US Secretary of State Antony Blinken brought up the topic of the Ukraine crisis to the foreign ministers, despite the group being formed for "Indo-Pacific" affairs and to target China.
The publication claims experts told them the US was attempting to sell the "China threat" in the Indo-Pacific and "Russia threat" in Europe, but "lacked a clear mind on how much its allies would buy into it", with Australia their "only loyal follower".
"Australia appears to be the only loyal US follower in the bloc, betting all on worsening China-US relations like a desperate gambler and even mulling to expand their target to Russia," the publication said.
"But the US won't appreciate Australia's sacrifice or compensate the losses when the US has a policy adjustment," it added, referencing Chinese experts.
PM hits back at China's comments: 'Chillingly silent'
On Sunday, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison hit back at the Chinese government for criticising the Quad meeting, which he said was working together to "promote peace and prosperity in the region".
He also said ministers from the US, Japan and India were working to provide "greater humanitarian support" and help to countries during the Covid-19 pandemic.
"Yet, the Chinese government is happy to criticise Australia for engaging in such peaceful activities, yet remains chillingly silent on Russian troops amassing on the Ukrainian border," Mr Morrison said during a press conference.
"The coalition of autocracies that we are seeing, seeking to fully other countries, is not something that Australia ever takes a light position on, and certainly my government never has.
"My government has always stood up to anybody who seeks to bully or coerce Australia, and the bullying and the coercion that we are seeing take place on the borders of Ukraine is an example of that, and it is unacceptable, it is unacceptable there and it is unacceptable anywhere else."
Mr Morrison has temporarily suspended the operations of the Australian Embassy in Kyiv, warning the situation in Ukraine is "deteriorating" has reached a "dangerous stage".
Foreign Minister Marise Payne said the government has directed the departure of embassy staff to a temporary office in Lviv as Russian troops build-up on the border.
China accuses US of betraying democracy
Ahead of Friday's Quad meeting, China's foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian took aim at the US.
"Despite its ruined democratic brand, the US still forces other countries to accept its democratic standards and cobbles together cliques by drawing the ideological line. This is sheer betrayal to democracy," he said.
Mr Zhao once again stressed China pursues "peace, development and cooperation" in the region.
"We hope the US and other countries concerned will grasp the trend of the times, adopt a proper mindset and discard the Cold War mentality."
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