China mocks Scott Morrison’s awkward gaffe on world stage

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Prime Minister Scott Morrison is being mocked by Chinese media after his COP26 address about climate change in Glasgow went viral for the wrong reasons.

Mr Morrison made an unfortunate slip of the tongue during Tuesday’s presentation, mistakenly telling the summit there needed to be “global momentum to tackle China”, when he intended to say “climate change”.

Since then, an awkward clip of the faux pass has swiftly spread across Chinese social media and state-run media websites.

Scott Morrison, Prime Minister of Australia speaks as National Statements are delivered on day two of the COP 26 United Nations Climate Change Conference at SECC on November 01, 2021 in Glasgow, Scotland. 2021 sees the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference. Source: Getty Images
Scott Morrison slipped up at COP26, accidently saying there needed to be "global momentum to tackle China". Source: Getty Images

The hashtag "Australian Prime Minister Misrepresents Tackling Climate Change As Tackling China" has so far been seen more than 130 million times on Weibo — a Chinese microblogging website.

Chinese state media outlet made fun of Mr Morrison's mistake on social media, posting: "[His] head is full of China."

It’s been shared more than 2,000 times and received more than 10,000 likes from Weibo users.

"No way it's a slip of the tongue, it's just speaking out of his mind," one person said.

Mr Morrison’s remarks later came under fire in a subsequent opinion piece by the media outlet.

"He doesn't have a passion to protect the environment but does have anti-China passion under the name of protecting environment," it read.

"This episode is the actual reflection of his mind."

PM's global reputation takes hit after COP26

It comes after souring relations between Australia and France were played out on the world stage during the Summit over the cancelled submarine contract.

Commenters also noted the lack of applause after Mr Morrison spoke before the assembled leaders inside the Summit last week.

“To arrive at the world’s most important climate conference without a plan to halve emissions, at the very least, by 2030 is nothing to boast about,” Gavan McFadzean from the Australian Conservation Council said.

In his four-minute speech, Mr Morrison rallied against increasing the cost of fossil fuels, and talked up rooftop solar and future technologies as the "Australian way" to meet net zero by 2050.

While he promised Australia is on track to reduce emissions by 35 per cent by 2030, independent non-governmental organisations (NGOs) like the Climate Council are urging the country to aim for 75 per cent below 2005 levels.

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