‘STOP ILUDING PEOPLE’: China’s war of words against Australia intensifies with new threat to cut iron ore imports

Senior scholar warned that the Morrison government’s combative approach to relations with China could end in a dramatic reduction in iron ore exports and result in a ‘winter period’ for the Australian economy .

Morrison has aroused the wrath of Chinese economic commentators after calling Beijing’s campaign against Canberra “economic coercion” in comments ahead of a G7 meeting where Australia’s frigid relationship with the superpower is about to simmer.

Without explicitly naming China, Morrison said the “defining issue” he would raise at the G7 meeting would be “the stability that we are currently seeking to maximize.”

On Wednesday, a professor and director of the Center for Australian Studies at East China Normal University warned in comments to Beijing spokesman, the World time.

Chen said World times Australia has “won a vanguard label for the United States’ anti-China campaign, which aims to create a public coup and win the support of like-minded Western countries in the G7 group.”

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced he will discuss tensions with China in a crucial meeting with international leaders. Credit: Getty Images

“Their collusion is a sign of his own weakness,” Chen said.

World times quoted Chen’s assertions that “Australia could hardly afford economic decoupling from China, despite tensions initiated by Canberra between the two countries, and it urgently needs the help of its Western partners to rewrite the rules of the world economic order according to its interests ”.

Trade tensions

Trade tensions between Australia and China have been boiling for more than a year.

It all started when Morrison called for an independent investigation into the origins of the coronavirus and introduced foreign interference legislation – which resulted in the termination of the Victoria’s Belt and Road agreement.

Beijing retaliated by imposing tariffs on several Australian exports, including barley and wine.

Barley seeds
The WTO will likely set up a dispute settlement panel to resolve the barley dispute between China and Australia. Credit: PAA

Experts previously feared that the education sector would be the next target, and analysts predicted that trade with China would continue to decline after all activities were suspended indefinitely under the China-Australia strategic economic dialogue in may.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison. Credit: Rick rycroft/PA

“Serious concerns”

The foreign and defense ministers of Japan and Australia have agreed to strengthen their security ties as China becomes more assertive in its claims over disputed areas in the Asia-Pacific region.

The online talks took place between Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne and Defense Minister Peter Dutton, and their Japanese counterparts Toshimitsu Motegi and Nobuo Kishi.

Motegi told reporters after the interviews that officials share their concerns about China’s activity in the East and South China Seas as a challenge for the international community.

Japan regularly protests to China over its coastguard presence near the Japanese-controlled Senkaku Islands, which China claims and also calls Diaoyu.

Chinese Xinjiang
Japan and Australia have raised concerns over reported abuses against Uyghurs in Xinjiang. Credit: PA

Chinese ships regularly violate Japanese territorial waters around the islands, sometimes threatening fishing boats, Japanese officials say.

Japan and China are also in dispute over the development of submarine resources in the region.

In the South China Sea, China’s vast territorial claims have clashed with those of its neighbors, who accuse Beijing of militarizing one of the world’s busiest sea lanes.

Japan and Australia, in a joint statement on Wednesday, expressed “serious concerns about recent negative developments and serious incidents in the South China Sea, including the continued militarization of disputed elements, the dangerous use of the ships of the coast guard and “maritime militias”, and efforts to disrupt other countries’ resource exploitation activities.

“We reaffirmed our strong opposition to any unilateral attempt to change the status quo” from China, Motegi said.

Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi and Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi in a video conference with Australian Foreign Minister and Minister for Women Marise Payne and Australian Defense Minister Peter Dutton.
Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi and Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi in a video conference with Australian Foreign Minister and Minister for Women Marise Payne and Australian Defense Minister Peter Dutton. Credit: Eugene Hoshiko/PA

He said the four ministers shared “grave concern” about China’s human rights abuses in Hong Kong and the western Xinjiang region, home to Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities.

The statement calls on China “to grant urgent, meaningful and unhindered access to Xinjiang to independent international observers, including the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.”

The meeting also reaffirmed the importance of maintaining peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait, where China recently stepped up a pressure campaign on the autonomous island.

Japan and Australia are in the final stages of a defense cooperation agreement that will allow the Japan Self-Defense Force to protect Australia’s military assets, which will only be Japan’s second outside of its alliance with the United States.

– with AAP

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