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Australia to blame for soured relations: China Daily editorial

chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2020-11-18 21:28
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The Cold War mentality and ideological prejudice that have come to the fore in Australia are clearly hurting the country's ties with China, as hawkish politicians and media in Australia have been constantly concocting lies about China and stoking Sinophobia.

To shirk Australia's responsibility for worsening bilateral relations and misleading the public, some ill-intentioned Australians have pinned the blame on the Chinese side by claiming that China's control measures on some Australian exports are "economic coercion" and even accusing China of weaponizing economic ties.

It is both ridiculous and in vain for those in Australia to dress up their country as a victim. Facts speak louder than words. Any objective observer can see that it is Canberra that has single-handedly undermined the political and economic premises for cooperation with Beijing.

With the novel coronavirus pandemic still raging in many parts of the world, China is fully justified in strengthening its customs supervision, inspection and quarantine standards, and its measures fully comply with international practice and the free trade agreement between the two countries. These safety procedures are not "retaliatory" trade measures against Australia nor should they be labeled as "discriminatory".

Those Australians who view China as being ill-intentioned should look at what their own country has done in politicizing trade and investment issues and treating Chinese companies unfairly.

Since 2018, more than 10 investment programs from China have been rejected by Australia on the pretext of "national security concerns", which has resulted in huge losses for the Chinese enterprises concerned. Australia has also banned Chinese companies from being included in its 5G network, claiming they pose a national security threat.

In a deviation from its promises in the bilateral free trade agreement, Australia has launched 106 anti-dumping and anti-subsidy investigations against Chinese produces in recent years, which is in stark contrast to China's four such cases on goods from Australia.

And in the political arena, Canberra has been sounding and acting increasingly hostile toward Beijing on a variety of issues that fall within China's core interests and comprise its major concerns, such as affairs in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region. Not to mention that it has resorted to stigmatizing China over the pandemic and randomly searched and harassed Chinese journalists in Australia.

Also Australia and Japan reached a consensus on a bilateral defense pact this week, which is widely perceived as an important step toward the realization of the US strategy to form an "Indo-Pacific NATO" against China.

Hence, it is all too clear which side should take the blame for weaponizing economic ties.

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