Australia issued ultimatum by China as tensions ramp up – ‘Correct your mistakes’ or else
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Speaking today, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman, Zhao Lijian, warned Australia had caused the ties between the two states to fall to crisis levels. Australia’s Treasurer, Josh Frydenberg, reached out to resume dialogue with the state amid the raft of trade disputes between the two states. China has placed tariffs on barley, beef, cotton and wine on top of an additional $28billion (£15billion) hit on service exports which could be at risk if citizens refuse to travel to Australia.
Despite the attempt to end the trade dispute and restore ties, Zhao insisted Australia “must correct” its mistakes in order to save ties with the state.
He said: “The Australian side is very clear with the crux of the deteriorating bilateral ties.
“The root cause is Australia’s repeated wrong acts and remarks on issues concerning China’s core interests and major concerns as well as its provocative and confrontational actions.
“Those who have caused problems should be the ones to solve problems.
“The Australian side should take concrete actions to correct their mistakes, do more to enhance mutual trust and bilateral cooperation, act in line with the requirements of China-Australia comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership, and create favourable atmosphere and conditions for bilateral cooperation in various fields.”
China’s tariffs on crucial Australian products were as a result of accusations levelled at the state over the outbreak of coronavirus.
Beijing also punished Australia over the removal of Huawei kit in its 5G network, and Canberra’s attempt to become more aligned with the US.
The tariffs on the Australian goods have caused exports of up to $19billion (£10billion) a year coupled with the possible $28billion (£15billion) in services lost due to drop in travel.
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According to figures this year, China accounts for 48.8 percent of Australia’s products.
China also expressed its concern over a defence pact signed between Japan and Australia this week.
Signed on Tuesday, Australia’s Prime Minister and Yoshihide Suga announced an agreement which allows troops to train on each other’s territory.
The Reciprocal Access Agreement is aimed at deepening defence cooperation between the two states which China has seen as a threat to its regional dominance.
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Commenting on the treaty, Zhao said: “China deplores and firmly rejects the press statement released after the talk between Australian and Japanese leaders which launched groundless accusations against China and grossly interfered in China’s internal affairs.
“We urge relevant countries to grasp the situation and stop the wrongdoings of undermining China’s sovereign rights and interests and interfering in China’s internal affairs.”
Under the threat of further repercussions against Australia, Mr Morrison moved to insist China should not be threatened by the pact.
Instead, he claimed the treaty was more to advance relations between the two countries.
He said: “This is a significant evolution of this relationship, but there is no reason for that to cause any concern elsewhere in the region.
“I think it adds to the stability of the region, which is a good thing.”
However, the deepening of military ties will also increase cooperation in areas such as the South China Sea.
Both Japan and Australia have expressed their concerns over China’s moves to militarise the region.
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