The vicious war of words between Australia and China has gone up yet another notch following the comments published in the Global Times newspaper that Australia will pay an ‘unbearable price’ if it sides with the US in an economic conflict.
The publication is considered an English-language mouthpiece for Chinese officialdom and has been extremely critical, even threatening, towards Australia in recent weeks.
Outburst follows US senator’s comments
Global Times latest outburst follows comments by the US senator Rick Scott, a Republican, who urged Australia to join forces with the US against China because it wants “world domination”.
“We ought to do this together,” he said in comments published by The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age. “All democracies are going to have to say to themselves: Are they going to continue to appease the Communist Party of China, which is clearly focused on world domination and has taken jobs from democracies all over the world and stolen technologies from all over the world?”
Canberra should avoid a cold war, says China
Clearly the Chinese were not happy and hit back quickly and strongly. Said the Global Times: “If a Cold War is not the outcome Australia wants to see, then Canberra should be mindful of avoiding inappropriate statements from its officials or politicians that may echo what Scott urged”.
“China-Australia relations have been rapidly sliding to near freezing point,” Thursday’s editorial noted. “A new Cold War may only further jeopardise the already fragile relations between the two sides.”
The editorial continued: “We advise Canberra not to be so reckless as to closely follow Washington, or to do whatever American politicians ask it to do. If a new Cold War leads to a China-Australia showdown, Australia will pay an unbearable price.”
Two nations have had several recent skirmishes
Among the recent skirmishes between the two countries has been a warning that Chinese nationals, particularly students, should be wary of travel to Australia because of incidents of racism
There has also been displeasure over Treasurer Josh Frydenberg’s confirmation that Australia will be going ahead with plans to tighten the country’s foreign investment rules.
Among other things, a new national security test will be imposed on the telecommunications sector and energy and sensitive utilities businesses, along with those in the defence supply chain and those involved in the collection and storage of data.
Morrison says we won’t be intimidated
In his own comments, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Australia will not be intimidated by threats from China.
“One thing Australia will always do is act in our national interests and never be intimidated by threats from wherever they come,” he told radio station 2GB.
“Australia provides the best education and tourism products in the world. And I know that that is compelling. We are an open trading nation…but I’m never going to trade our values in response to coercion from wherever it comes.”