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China says relations with Australia are "very depressing" and it is Canberra's fault
China says relations with Australia are "very depressing" and it is Canberra's fault

China says relations with Australia are “very depressing” and it is Canberra’s fault

Relations between Australia and China have been strained for years, but the situation has deteriorated rapidly after Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison in April called for an international inquiry into the origin of the epidemic.
In September, the last two journalists from the Australian News Agency in China were evacuated after they were heavily interrogated in a national security case involving Australian journalist Cheng Lei working for the Chinese state media.

The RCEP, signed on Sunday, is a major trade agreement that brings 14 countries in the Asia-Pacific region, including China and Australia, into a major free trade agreement.

But Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian made it clear that there was no ceasefire during his daily news conference in Beijing on Tuesday. Zhao said the Chinese government does not blame the breakdown in relations.

“They later made wrong actions involving China, which is why China-Australia relations are deteriorating and in the current difficult situation … The responsibility for causing this situation does not always lie with China,” he said.

Zhao described three areas where Australia was dissatisfied with the Chinese government – one of which was Morrison’s decision to call for an international inquiry. “(This) seriously interferes with international cooperation on epidemic prevention and control,” he added.

The spokesman condemned Australia for its efforts to crack down on alleged foreign interference in its domestic politics, a campaign that Beijing believes was a Chinese target.

Zhao also warned Australia for repeated comments on human rights abuses in Xinjiang and Hong Kong, as well as Chinese military threats against the autonomous island of Taiwan. “These actions have seriously interfered in China’s internal affairs and hurt the feelings of the Chinese people,” Zhao said.

Speaking of Radio Australia On Wednesday, Birmingham said Canberra needed a reciprocal relationship with China – which he said he had “strengthened time and again.”

“It does not mean that we will compromise in terms of our values, security, our interests, but it does not mean that the door will open from an Australian perspective,” he said.

“We have access to all levels and possible routes.”

Zhao’s comments came after Australia and Japan agreed “in principle” to a defense treaty between the two countries, during a meeting in Tokyo between Prime Minister Morrison and Japanese leader Yoshihide Suga.

Birmingham said Wednesday that the deal should have no effect on Australia’s relations with China. However, it was the latest move in Australia and Japan to deepen their military ties, with the Chinese government stepping up claims between the two countries in the East and South China Seas, as well as stepping up military exercises aimed at Taiwan.

According to a statement from Morrison’s office, the Reciprocal Access (RAA) agreement “will” facilitate greater and more complex implementation between the Australian Defense Forces and the Japanese Self-Defense Forces “and” will also consolidate our participation in multilateral exercises. “

In his first meeting with Suga, Morrison thanked Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe before six years of talks on the agreement.

CNN’s Sophie Jeong contributed to this article.