The diplomatic feud between China and Australia is getting intense by the day with Beijing stooping to new lows and resorting to ugly tactics to save its face. Palpable anti-China sentiment has been simmering in the down under country for quite some time where calls have been raised for an international inquiry over China’s mismanagement of the Coronavirus pandemic.
Reported earlier, Australia Foreign Minister Marise Payne had demanded an independent inquiry into the “origins” of COVID-19 and China’s handling of the initial outbreak in Wuhan, which ultimately led to a pandemic that has infected over three million across the world.
But things have escalated further when the disgraceful Chinese embassy leaked details of a private phone call with Australian officials to the state-owned Global Times.
Cheng Jingye, the Chinese ambassador, leaked details of a phone call with Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) Secretary Frances Adamson in which the ambassador flatly rejected the need for an investigation and urged Australia to put aside ideological bias and stop political games.
China defended the breach of diplomatic protocol by coming up with a laughable excuse. “The Chinese embassy does not play petty tricks. This is not our tradition. But if others do, we have to reciprocate,” the embassy responded as saying.
The war of words continues. The Chinese Embassy in Canberra issues a statement after @dfat Secretary Frances Adamson phoned the Ambassador to object to his threat of a consumer boycott. The Embassy says the Ambassador "flatly rejected" Adamson's objections. pic.twitter.com/XK2o2zlZDe
— Stephen Dziedzic (@stephendziedzic) April 28, 2020
China has been miffed with PM Scott Morrison, Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton and Foreign Minister Marise Payne, and his entire government for targeting China incessantly. Despite repeated threats of culling of economic ties by China, the Kangaroos are not throwing in the towel.
China’s state-owned media and mouthpiece Global Media has been routinely foul-mouthing Australia and its editor Hu Xijin passed a rather distasteful remark which showed Beijing’s helplessness. Comparing Australia to chewing gum, Hu said, “Australia is always there, making trouble. It is a bit like chewing gum stuck on the sole of China’s shoes. Sometimes you have to find a stone to rub it off,”
The editor even threatened Australia on twitter saying the Chinese will start boycotting Australian products and students will stop coming to the Australian universities if the authorities didn’t back down.
Let me give a "coercion" to Australia. As its attitude toward China becomes worse and worse, Chinese companies will definitely reduce economic cooperation with Australia, and the number of Chinese students & visitors going to Australia will also decrease. Time will prove it all. pic.twitter.com/JyixLicz9g
— Hu Xijin 胡锡进 (@HuXijin_GT) April 28, 2020
“This is a virus which has taken 200,000 lives across the world. It has shut down the global economy. It would seem entirely sensible and reasonable that the world would want to have an independent assessment of how this occurred so we can learn the lessons and prevent it from happening again. I think that is a fairly obvious and common-sense suggestion.” said PM Scott Morrisson on Wednesday whilst standing his ground.
Australians are fairly simple and pragmatic in their approach—if China believes that it is innocent then what is the harm in cooperating for an independent international inquiry.
A couple of days back, Australia’s High Commissioner-designate to India Barry O’Farrell had remarked “We should build on last year’s successful trilateral maritime security workshop with Indonesia to identify new ways that our three countries can collaborate to be the best possible custodians of the Indian Ocean”
He was referring to the post-COVID-19 world where China will again try to play its dirty tricks in the Indo-Pacific region and how both India and Australia should join hands to combat such scenarios if they happen to arise.
Given that China happens to be, by far, the biggest trading partner of Australia contributing as much as the US $ 194.6 billion worth of imports and exports to the Australian economy, the entire episode, if nothing has shown the spirited fight of Australians against the Chinese hegemony.
It seems like the baton to lead the crusade against China has been passed on from the US to Australia and PM Narendra Modi should support the cause so that China pays the reparations it owes to the world.
Australia has been at the forefront of targeting China for its sinister handling of the entire Wuhan virus pandemic and therefore countries all around should try and take a cue out of Australia’s manual of handling Chinese and confront the dragon collectively.