Comments by Wang Yi, China’s foreign minister, during talks with Kevin Rudd, the former Australian prime minister, raised hopes of reconciliation as relations between Beijing and Canberra chilled. Wang said Australia needs to determine whether China is a threat or a partner. Deteriorating relations between the two countries are not what Beijing wants to see, and he expects relations to return to the right track as soon as possible. He also welcomed efforts by those willing to improve ties.
Wang expressed concern over the negative views in Australia, saying Canberra’s move to complain about the list of complaints was ineffective. He said that when the complaint was made public by the government in Canberra, it would definitely affect the atmosphere of bilateral relations and prevent the two countries from having deeper exchanges. Prime Minister Morrison has clearly taken a different view, having previously stressed that Australia would never sacrifice its national interests. Rory Medcalf, dean of the National Security Institute at ANU, cautioned that Mr. Wang’s comments shouldn’t be interpreted as a positive sign.
Mr Medcalf explains: “Wang has not admitted that China has done anything wrong with the deterioration of relations between the two countries, or even that China is continuing coercive measures, including economic restrictions and hostage diplomacy, against countries such as Australia and Canada. The restoration of Sino-Australian relations depends on the choice of the Government in Beijing to reinterpret and define Australia’s approach to China. This is because it is the easiest and most advantageous option to take on all threats and partners at present. And I don’t think we are at a healthy starting point for a pragmatic and mutually beneficial relationship.”
Peter Jennings, an analyst at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI), agreed, saying Wang’s tone did not reconcile the current situation between the two countries. He said: “he avoided talking about any substantive action, just say this is entirely a matter of attitude in Australia, but Australia did not invent the military threat in the south China sea, China did not invent the spying on intelligence, China did not invent the gradually rising military power in China, there is no massive invention of violating the rights of minorities in violation of the campaign.”
When Rudd asked whether there was a bridge that could accommodate stable relations between Beijing and Canberra, Wang replied: “China and Australia may once again become partners rather than enemies. Australia needs to determine whether China is a threat or a partner, and if Australia sees China as a threat, it will be difficult to improve that relationship. If Australia sees China not as a threat but as a partner, then I think there is a better chance of finding a solution to our problems.”
Wang added: “Therefore, I will kick the ball to Australia. We hope that this relationship can be put back on the right track as soon as possible, and we welcome the efforts of all who wish to improve it. “When the complaint documents [submitted by China to Australia] are made public, it will certainly affect the atmosphere of bilateral relations and prevent further exchanges.”
On Nov. 30, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian posted the work on social media twitter, saying, “We are shocked by the killing of Afghan civilians and prisoners by Australian soldiers. We strongly condemn this act and call on them to take responsibility.” Two hours after Zhao’s tweet, Morrison demanded a formal apology from China for publishing and falsifying a propaganda image of an Australian soldier’s child with a slit throat. “The Chinese government should be very ashamed that this has tarnished their international image,” Morrison said. Remarkably, Zhao’s tweet, which he posted at 9.30pm Hong Kong time, was folded up by Twitter. After Morrison’s speech, Zhao lijian had taken the tweet to the top.
Then to China to Australian barley income high tariffs, Birmingham, Australia’s trade minister said in a statement on December 15, long-term work closely with grain industry in Australia, the Australian grain growers and farmers have no subsidies, nor did they will commodity dumping into the global market, and have sufficient reasons to prove it. The government in Canberra announced it was taking the case to the World Trade Organisation, accusing China of unfairly imposing tariffs on Australian barley and calling on Beijing to reopen trade routes between the two countries to a rules-based trading system.
China announced tariffs of more than 80 percent in May after accusing Australia of dumping grain and distributing it to its growers. Diplomatic relations between the two countries have deteriorated since Prime Minister Morrison’s government earlier this year called for an international investigation into the origin of the COVID-19 virus. So far this year, China has imposed a series of trade restrictions on commodities such as copper, wine, timber, lobster, beef, and mutton, hampering Australia’s economic recovery after being hit by the COVID-19 outbreak.