Beijing told to stop economic coercion before bilateral ties with Australia can resume
Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese attends the Quad Leaders’ summit in Tokyo, Japan, on May 24, 2022. (Yuichi Yamazaki/Getty Images)
By Victoria Kelly-Clark
New Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has called on Beijing to drop its coercive trade restrictions before considering a reset of bilateral ties.
“It is China that has imposed sanctions on Australia,” Albanese told reporters on June 13. “They need to remove those sanctions in order to improve relations between Australia and China.”
The prime minister’s comments come after Wang Wenbin, Beijing’s foreign ministry spokesperson, said Australia could not hope for an improvement in bilateral ties by simply operating on “auto-pilot.”
“A reset requires concrete actions,” Wang said.
Beijing’s economic coercion swept up eight major Australian exports—beef, seafood, wine, honey, lamb, wheat, coal and timber—after previous Foreign Minister Marise Payne called for an inquiry into the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic in April 2020.
The Chinese Communist Party also delivered a list containing 14 “grievances” that Australia needed to address before diplomatic relations could be normalised.
They included a demand for the government to stop the press reporting negatively on China; stop building alliances with Indo-Pacific partners; rescind the ban on Huawei from Australia’s 5G network; and remove foreign interference laws.
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