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Friday, 17 July 2020

China claims Australia 'lacks backbone and is dependent on the US' as it warns tensions between Canberra and Beijing are about to get worse

Australian diplomacy 'lacks backbone' and 'is dependent on the US', Chinese state media has claimed. 
An editorial in the Chinese tabloid Global Times on Thursday said Australia has 'cosied up' to Washington and joined America's 'anti-China campaign'.
The article warned that tensions between Canberra and Beijing would get worse unless Australian politicians 'show a positive stance' towards China.
Australian diplomacy 'lacks backbone' and 'is dependent on the US', Chinese state media has claimed. Pictured: Scott and Jenny Morrison with Donald and Melania Trump in 2019
Australian diplomacy 'lacks backbone' and 'is dependent on the US', Chinese state media has claimed. Pictured: Scott and Jenny Morrison with Donald and Melania Trump in 2019
'The current state of China-Australia ties is, to a great extent, the result of Aussie leadership's cozying up to the US' anti-China campaign. Canberra lacks backbone in its diplomacy,' the article read.
'Australia has its own interests, which are different from those of the US. It should maintain its diplomatic independence.' 
Chinese media has been claiming that Australia is 'sucking up to the US' since Scott Morrison called for an inquiry into the origins of coronavirus in March as President Trump asked his spies to investigate if the virus spawned in a lab in Wuhan. 
The Global Times article was written in response to Centre Alliance senator Rex Patrick's calls this week for at least 100 Chinese diplomats and consular staff to be kicked out of Australia to stop them spying.
'Remarks like Patrick's will only further poison the two countries' relationship. This will probably result in a downhill trend - which will be hard to reverse,' the article warned.
Chinese media has been claiming that Australia is 'sucking up to the US' since Scott Morrison called for an inquiry into the origins of coronavirus in March. Pictured: Chinese soldiers
Chinese media has been claiming that Australia is 'sucking up to the US' since Scott Morrison called for an inquiry into the origins of coronavirus in March. Pictured: Chinese soldiers
Senator Patrick argued the number of Chinese representatives must be radically reduced on national security grounds.
'The Australian government should bite the bullet and take long overdue action,' he said on Wednesday.
The aggressive move would undoubtedly spark immediate retaliation from Beijing, but Senator Patrick believes it would be worthwhile.
He argues Australian ministers and diplomats are already routinely ignored by their Chinese counterparts.
China has close to 150 diplomatic staff in Australia and Senator Patrick wants two-thirds of them expelled.
He argues the Chinese diplomatic presence is 'somewhat bloated' given the country has significantly more staff in Australia than the United States, United Kingdom, Canada and New Zealand.
Senator Patrick also claims there is 'no question' Chinese embassy and consular staff are engaging in espionage and political interference, which China has denied.
Senator Patrick argued the number of Chinese representatives in Australia must be radically reduced on national security grounds. Pictured: Chinese President Xi Jinping in March
Senator Patrick argued the number of Chinese representatives in Australia must be radically reduced on national security grounds. Pictured: Chinese President Xi Jinping in March
'It's an open secret that Chinese intelligence activities in Australia have expanded massively over the past two decades,' he said.
'While there has been much public focus on cyber espionage, China's clandestine efforts continue to rely heavily on traditional human intelligence operations, much of it under the cover of diplomatic and consular activity.'
Relations with China are already under heavy strain after Australia led international calls for a coronavirus inquiry.
Beijing has told students and tourists to stay away from Australia, and penalised beef and barley exports.
Australia's response to new national security laws in Hong Kong by extending visa for Hongkongers has also enraged Beijing.
Senator Patrick said Australia must reset its relationship with China and adopt a much firmer footing.

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