Beiji [China]May 27 (ANI): Australia’s ambassador to China, Graham Fletcher, on Wednesday labeled economic sanctions against Australia as “resistant” as diplomatic relations between the two countries soured.
“It turned out to be quite incredible and vindictive as a trading partner,” Fletcher said.
Graham Fletcher, Australia’s ambassador to China, gave a caustic assessment of China’s behavior while talking to Australian businesses via a video link from Beijing.
“I am not convinced that China understands the damage to be done, both in Australia and internationally,” Fletcher told the Australian-China Business Council.
ABC News reports that officials from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade confirmed that Australia’s trade with China has declined in almost all industries, with aggregate figures boosting Beijing’s strong demand for iron ore.
Over the past nine months, the Chinese government has targeted many Australian industries, including barley, coal, timber and lobster, forcing Canberra to settle disputes.
No new bans have been unveiled this year, but the wine industry believes Australia’s wines, introduced for the first time last year, will be locked up – and possibly increased in a few days, ABC News reported.
The ambassador also warned that Australia’s trade, which relies heavily on Chinese markets, could be turned into a government-led economic coercion campaign.
“You imagined that unexpectedly you could lose your Chinese market. For some good reason, Beijing has decided to send a message to Canberra,” he said.
He also said that the growing style of trade sanctions has created “sympathy” for Australia and tightened attitudes towards China around the world, according to ABC News.
“We see a lot of sympathy and tacit support from many countries that you may not expect to see what is happening around the world, and say, ‘Look, we both don’t want to live in China. Behaving like this and being able to set the agenda, ”he said.
Meanwhile, Jeffrey Wilson of the Perth US-Asia Center said the ambassador’s remarks suggested that Australia was “looking to the multilateral rather than the bilateral, to resolve the trade dispute with China.” “Australia-China trade issues don’t really exist anymore. He only told ABC about Australia.
China has imposed various sanctions on other countries, including the EU and the UK – it is clear that ‘sanctions diplomacy’ is now part of its global diplomatic tool kit.
In addition, US statements at the Cochrane Summit made it clear that the Biden administration wants to pursue and resist this new form of Chinese behavior.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison, meanwhile, did not directly address Fletcher’s remarks when asked by reporters but emphasized the “huge support” Australia has received from other democracies in its dispute with China, ABC News reported.
“We are clearly facing some difficult issues in that regard. And we really appreciate the great support we have received from liberal democracies around the world,” he said.
Earlier, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken told Beijing that his “brutal economic coercion of Australia” was an example of the growing immediate threat posed by the resurgent dictatorship.
U.S. leaders are still vowing to intensify competition with China in the wake of the UN summit.
Last night, US President Joe Biden said the rivalry between the two powers was a symbol of a bigger issue – “dictatorship or democracy, because that’s what is at stake.” “This is the utility and struggle of democracy in the 21st century,” he said. (ANI)