Chinese state media mocks Australia: 'How much left to lose?'

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·News Reporter
·3-min read
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  • Scott Morrison
    30th Prime Minister of Australia
  • Peter Dutton
    Australian politician

Chinese state media has mocked Australia's insistence on protecting the country's sovereignty, questioning if it has any to lose.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison and multiple cabinet ministers have repeatedly stressed it will not kowtow to Beijing's demands in expense of its own sovereignty as Sino-Australian relations continue to struggle.

Last month, Defence Minister Peter Dutton, whose ongoing campaign to highlight China's supposed threat in the Indo-Pacific has enraged Beijing, said China has issued demands Australia will never meet.

"The Chinese government has delivered to Australia a list of 14 requirements for us to meet before that relationship is normalised including giving up essentially freedom of speech, and many of our democratic rights which we will never do as a sovereign nation," he told ABC's 7.30.

On Wednesday, US Indo-Pacific Coordinator Kurt Campbell reiterated Washington's support for Australia during its rocky period of strained relations with China.

Scott Morrison looking solemn in a navy suit.
Sovereignity has been a common theme for Scott Morrison when discussing China. Source: Getty

"I fully understand how important sovereignty and independence is for Australia. So I don't want to leave any sense that somehow that would be lost," he told a Lowy Institute event.

But the Beijing mouthpiece the Global Times, a renowned critic of Australia, took aim at a word now synonymous with addresses about China from the Morrison government.

"But seriously, how much "sovereignty" is there left for Australia to "lose"?" it asked in an opinion piece.

It claimed Australia's decisions were largely influenced by the US – a nation it claimed gave the Morrison government a false sense of security with "hollow promises".

"But such so-called reassurances cannot hide one single and simple fact: The Australian government lacks real diplomatic autonomy to make choices in line with its own strategic interests," the nationalistic tabloid said.

Chinese state media has regularly referred to Australia as the US's "pawn" and the Global Times did so again on Thursday, quoting Guo Chunmei, an expert on Australian studies with the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations.

"Australia not only has little autonomy left, but is also being taken advantage of by the US," the Global Times continued.

"Under US hegemony, Australia has enjoyed the benefits and status far exceeding its political and economic value, at the cost of losing sovereignty."

The Global Times warned Australia to be careful it is not abandoned by the US leaving the country "powerless and confused".

Relations between China and Australia have taken a turn for the worst in recent weeks after a relatively uneventful period thanks to Mr Dutton's ongoing commentary on China and the threat of war in the region.

At a National Press Club address last month, Mr Dutton warned Beijing has "engaged in increasingly alarming activities".

He said China's militarisation of the South China Sea, recent aggression towards Taiwan and the introduction of a national security law in Hong Kong were examples of China's actions contradicting its claims that it desires peace and prosperity in the region.

China's foreign ministry has repeatedly said such issues are internal matters and it is not Australia's place to be getting involved.

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