China's state media issues ultimatum to 'poisonous' Australian government

·News Reporter
·3-min read

Chinese state media has warned the Morrison government it must swiftly change its ways if Australia wishes to reap the benefits of a "natural trading partner".

The nationalistic tabloid the Global Times, a renowned mouthpiece of Beijing, said in an editorial on Monday that despite struggling Sino-Australian relations, there still remained huge potential for Australian businesses in China.

"While the relationship between the two countries has been deteriorating, the bilateral trade has weathered political headwinds, underscoring the strong basis for trade cooperation," it said as part of its GT Voice series.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has called on Australian businesses to consider finding custom outside of China after a raft of Australian exports were hit with punitive tariffs.

The Morrison government has routinely stood its ground when criticised by Beijing in the past two years. Source: Getty
The Morrison government has routinely stood its ground when criticised by Beijing in the past two years. Source: Getty

Yet the Global Times says China remains a prosperous environment for Australian business, pointing to the impending Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership involving both China and Australia set to take effect in just a matter of weeks.

But it warned "all these opportunities may be wasted" if the Morrison government fails to face up to the issues that has left the relationship in a "diplomatic ditch".

"The words and actions have poisoned the bilateral relationship and dealt a heavy blow to market confidence. Australia should learn a lesson from the past," it said.

Global Times highlights Australia's 'hostile' actions in 2021

Roughly one year ago a Chinese diplomat delivered a 14-point dossier to Australian media revealing Beijing's grievances with Australia and on Monday the Global Times reiterated several actions that had further damaged the relationship.

"The past year has seen the Morrison government exhibit escalated hostility toward China on every front," it said.

"It politicised normal economic cooperation and cancelled the Belt and Road Initiative deal signed by the State of Victoria.

"Australian politicians repeatedly made provocative moves and statements on issues concerning China's core interests like Hong Kong, Xinjiang and Taiwan. 

"They also escalated military tensions targeting China in the South China Sea."

The latter grievance is likely reference to remarks from defence minister Peter Dutton who has been criticised by Beijing for unnecessarily hyping the threat of war in the region in recent months.

China has also reacted angrily to Australia's AUKUS pact which will see nuclear-powered submarines built on home soil.

The Global Times warned if Canberra did not abandon its "anti-China approach", it will forfeit future trade opportunities. 

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has routinely rebuffed any calls from China for Australia to walk back on its positions on the issues Beijing has previously raised. 

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