- China urged certain Australian politicians to ‘shake off the Cold War mentality’
- Home Affairs Secretary Mike Pezzullo declared the ‘drums of war’ were beating
- Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian slammed Mr Pezzullo’s remarks
China has called certain Australian politicians troublemakers and urged them to ‘shake off the Cold War mentality’ amid fierce tensions between the two nations.
It comes after Home Affairs Secretary Mike Pezzullo declared the world’s ‘drums of war’ were beating and that Australia must prepare for conflict in the region.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian was asked about Mr Pezzullo’s remarks in a press conference on Wednesday and gave a pointed response.
‘Some individual politicians in Australia, out of their selfish interests, are keen to make statements that incite confrontation and hype up threat of war, which is extremely irresponsible,’ he said.
‘These people are the real troublemakers.’+5
China has called certain Australian politicians troublemakers and urged them to ‘shake off the Cold War mentality’ amid fierce tensions between the two nations. Pictured: Chinese troops march during a military parade in Tiananmen Square+5
China has warned Australia it must fall in line with its policy to ‘reunify’ the disputed island of Taiwan if it wants to trade to return to normal. Pictured: Chinese Navy personal stand guard
Mr Zhao said Australia has benefited from cooperation with China for a long time, and that China is a promoter of peace and global development.
‘As a country that has long benefited from cooperation with China, Australia is being untruthful and immoral with its false allegation of a ‘China threat theory’. This will only end up hurting its own interests,’ he said.
‘We urge certain individuals in Australia to shake off the Cold War mentality, stop making irresponsible remarks, and act in ways that are conducive to regional peace and stability rather than the opposite.’
On Anzac Day Mr Pezzullo delivered a hawkish speech in which he said Australia must strive for peace, but not at the cost of liberty. He did not specifically mention China.
‘In a world of perpetual tension and dread, the drums of war beat – sometimes faintly and distantly, and at other times more loudly and ever closer,’ he said.
‘Today, as free nations again hear the beating drums and watch worryingly the militarisation of issues that we had, until recent years, thought unlikely to be catalysts for war.
‘Let us continue to search unceasingly for the chance for peace while bracing again, yet again, for the curse of war.’
Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews confirmed she read the ‘very strong’ speech in advance.
‘The overarching message from government is that we need to be alert but not alarmed,’ she said.
‘We’re obviously very conscious as a government of what is happening in the Pacific region, in particular, and we will always put Australia first, second and third.’
Shocking disparities between Australia and China’s military power shows we would struggle in a war, amid fears that tensions both nations are nearing tipping point+5
The relationship between the two nations has crumbled in recent times, in part sparked by Australia’s early call for an inquiry into the origins of COVID-19
But Labor frontbencher Bill Shorten said Mr Pezzullo’s language was inflammatory.
‘By all means, we need to stand up for our trade, stand up for human rights, but language like ‘drums of war’, I think that is pretty hyper-excited language,’ he said.
The relationship between the two nations has crumbled in recent times, in part sparked by Australia’s early call for an inquiry into the origins of COVID-19.
China bristled and later slapped damaging tariffs on Australian barley and wine, while trade disruptions to other produce followed. Tensions have heightened since.
Defence Minister Peter Dutton has this week expressed concerns about Beijing’s stance on Taiwan.
And a parliamentary inquiry on Tuesday was told Australia must call out China’s widespread use of forced Uighur labour.
How China’s feud with Australia has escalated
2019: Australian intelligence services conclude that China was responsible for a cyber-attack on Australia’s parliament and three largest political parties in the run-up to a May election.
April 2020: Australian PM Scott Morrison begins canvassing his fellow world leaders for an inquiry into the origins of the coronavirus pandemic. Britain and France are initially reluctant but more than 100 countries eventually back an investigation.
April 15: Morrison is one of the few leaders to voice sympathy with Donald Trump’s criticisms of the World Health Organization, which the US president accuses of bias towards China.
April 21: China’s embassy accuses Australian foreign minister Peter Dutton of ‘ignorance and bigotry’ and ‘parroting what those Americans have asserted’ after he called for China to be more transparent about the outbreak.
April 23: Australia’s agriculture minister David Littleproud calls for G20 nations to campaign against the ‘wet markets’ which are common in China and linked to the earliest coronavirus cases.
April 26: Chinese ambassador Cheng Jingye hints at a boycott of Australian wine and beef and says tourists and students might avoid Australia ‘while it’s not so friendly to China’. Canberra dismisses the threat and warns Beijing against ‘economic coercion’.
May 11: China suspends beef imports from four of Australia’s largest meat processors. These account for more than a third of Australia’s $1.1billion beef exports to China.
May 18: The World Health Organization backs a partial investigation into the pandemic, but China says it is a ‘joke’ for Australia to claim credit. The same day, China imposes an 80 per cent tariff on Australian barley. Australia says it may challenge this at the WTO.
May 21: China announces new rules for iron ore imports which could allow Australian imports – usually worth $41billion per year – to be singled out for extra bureaucratic checks.
June 5: Beijing warns tourists against travelling to Australia, alleging racism and violence against the Chinese in connection with Covid-19.
June 9: China’s Ministry of Education warns students to think carefully about studying in Australia, similarly citing alleged racist incidents.
June 19: Australia says it is under cyber-attack from a foreign state which government sources say is believed to be China. The attack has been targeting industry, schools, hospitals and government officials, Morrison says.
July 9: Australia suspends extradition treaty with Hong Kong and offers to extend the visas of 10,000 Hong Kongers who are already in Australia over China’s national security law which effectively bans protest.
August 18: China launches 12-month anti-dumping investigation into wines imported from Australia in a major threat to the $6billion industry.
August 26: Prime Minster Scott Morrison announces he will legislate to stop states and territories signing deals with foreign powers that go against Australia’s foreign policy. Analysts said it is aimed at China.
October 13: Trade Minister Simon Birmingham says he’s investigating reports that Chinese customs officials have informally told state-owned steelmakers and power plants to stop Aussie coal, leaving it in ships off-shore.
November 2: Agriculture Minister David Littleproud reveals China is holding up Aussie lobster imports by checking them for minerals.
November 3: Barley, sugar, red wine, logs, coal, lobster and copper imports from Australia unofficially banned under a directive from the government, according to reports.
November 18: China releases bizarre dossier of 14 grievances with Australia.
November 27: Australian coal exports to China have dropped 96 per cent in the first three weeks of November as 82 ships laden with 8.8million tonnes of coal are left floating off Chinese ports where they have been denied entry.
November 28: Beijing imposed a 212 per cent tariff on Australia’s $1.2 billion wine exports, claiming they were being ‘dumped’ or sold at below-cost. The claim is denied by both Australia and Chinese importers.
November 30: Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lijian Zhao posted a doctored image showing a grinning Australian soldier holding a knife to the throat of an Afghan child. The move outraged Australians.
December 12: Australian coal is added to a Chinese blacklist.
December 24: China suspends imports of Australian timber from NSW and WAafter local customs officers say they found pests in the cargo.
January 11, 2021: Australia blocks $300million construction deal that would have seen state-owned China State Construction Engineering Corporation takeover Probuild. The bid was blacked over national security concerns.
February 5, 2021: China confirms Melbourne journalist and single mother Cheng Lei has been formally arrested after being detained in August, 2020.
February 23, 2021: China accuses Australia of being in an ‘axis of white supremacy’ with the UK, USA, Canada and NZ in an editorial.
March 11, 2021: Australia is accused of genocide by a Communist Party newspaper editor.
March 15, 2021: Trade Minister Dan Tehan announced he wants the World Trade Organisation to help mediate discussions between the two countries over the trade dispute.
April 21, 2021: Foreign Minister Marise Payne announces Australia has scrapped Victoria’s controversial Belt and Road deal with China using new veto powers.
May 6, 2021: China indefinitely suspends all strategic economic talks with Australia, blaming the Morrison Government’s attitude towards the relationship. The move cuts off all diplomatic contact with Beijing under the China-Australia Strategic Economic Dialogue, freezing discussions between key officials below a ministerial level.
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