China is insecure and defensive and that means it perceives threats where there are none, Australia’s most senior diplomat said on Wednesday, something Beijing dismissed as “completely untrue”.
The remarks come at a time of heightened tensions between Canberra and Beijing over Chinese telecoms firm Huawei, China’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic and its human rights record, though the two countries remain strong trading partners.
Frances Adamson, secretary of Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, said China tried to show strength, but the reality was different.
Adamson said in a speech in Canberra, “Few people really understand that this great power is still plagued by ambition-driven insecurity. It has a deeply defensive mindset – perceiving external threats, even when it puts its own on the interests of others.” push the interests.” Before leaving the office this week.
“It is geared towards judging issues on the basis of their individual merits rather than skepticism.”
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian dismissed Adamson’s portrayal of China as “completely untrue”.
“We hope that the Australian government can look at us with an objective, rational and responsible attitude,” he told a news conference in Beijing on Wednesday.
Relations with China, already rocky after Australia banned Huawei from its nascent 5G broadband networking in 2018, cooled further in 2020 after Canberra called for an independent investigation into the origins of the coronavirus pandemic, for the first time Reported in central China in 2019.
China responded by imposing tariffs on Australian goods including wine and barley and limited imports of Australian beef, coal and grapes, a move described by the United States as “economic coercion”.
However, China remains Australia’s largest trading partner. In the 12 months to March, Australia exported goods worth $149 billion ($112 billion) to China, down 0.6% from the previous year, but exports were supported by strong iron ore prices, which trade with China. The single largest commodity in the business. .
Adamson’s speech came hours after it was widely viewed, showing Australians’ trust in China has fallen and for the first time more people see Beijing as a security threat than an economic partner.
The Lowy Institute’s annual survey shows that more than 60% of Australians view China as a security threat, up significantly from 2018 when 18% of respondents had the same view.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao said he questioned the validity of the results, as the survey surveyed more than 2,000 people.
“China’s views are to some extent inseparable from the actions in Hong Kong, the detention of Uighurs, the disappearance of Australians in China,” said Natasha Kasam, director of the Public Opinion and Foreign Policy Program at the Lowy Institute.
The results indicate that Australia’s conservative government enjoys public support for its assertive approach towards China, despite a range of trade implications.
(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)