Scott Morrison lashes out at China's act after Russian invasion

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has lambasted China over its "inexplicable" response to Russia's advancements on Ukraine.

Mr Morrison accused China of "throwing a lifeline to Russia" after reports emerged Beijing had approved wheat imports from Russia as it faced mounting sanctions from a raft of trade partners.

Scott Morrison said he was not afraid to call China out. Source: ABC
Scott Morrison said he was not afraid to call China out. Source: ABC

"At a time when the Western world is actually imposing sanctions on Russia, the Chinese government is easing trade restrictions on Russia," he told reporters.

"That is simply unacceptable... it is important to call this out."

Mr Morrison highlighted his repeated vocal voice on China issues has faced criticism, particularly due to the deterioration of Sino-Australian relations, but he warned he "will not be silenced on this".

"This is of great concern to Australia that these acts are not being called out with the same voice when it comes to those in our region," he said.

It comes just a day after China sensationally appeared to offer Australia an olive branch to mend battered relations following a torrid 18 months.

Newly appointed ambassador to Australia Xiao Qian said China was willing to "meet halfway" with Australia despite a bullish Beijing previously stating it needed to see "concrete actions" in the shape of multiple concessions from Canberra.

China refrains from condemning Russia's advancements

On Thursday evening, China's foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying refrained from condemning Russia's declaration to invade Ukraine.

"China is closely monitoring the latest developments. We call on all sides to exercise restraint and prevent the situation from getting out of control," she said.

Hua Chunying in a navy jacket.
Hua Chunying refrained from condemning Russia's actions. Source: FMPRC

Ms Hua was pressed by several reporters however she stressed the situation is layered with "a complex historical background".

She lashed out at criticism from the US regarding China's silence and its relationship with Russia.

"I must also stress that China-Russia relations are based on the foundation of non-alliance, non-confrontation and non-targeting of any third party," Ms Hua said.

"This differs fundamentally and essentially from the practice of the US, which is, ganging up to form small cliques and pursuing bloc politics to create confrontation and division based on ideology."

China remains the only major government to refrain from condemning Putin’s attack however Beijing has not endorsed Russia's advancements.

Mr Morrison unveiled a third tranche of sanctions against Russia while announcing Australia had provided non-lethal military equipment to Ukraine.

The new sanctions, which will mirror similar moves from the US and UK, will apply to members of Russia's parliament who voted to authorise the military action, as well as Russian oligarchs.

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