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.
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.
“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.
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.