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China Urges Australia to Act as Partner, Not Opponent

Sun 10 Jul 2022 | 01:17 PM
Israa Farhan

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi has told his Australian counterpart Penny Wong to treat China as a partner, not an opponent, and to accumulate “positive energy” to improve relations between the two countries.

Wang expressed hope that Australia could "seize the opportunity, take concrete actions and come to a correct understanding of China," according to a summary published late on Saturday by China’s foreign ministry.

On the sidelines of the G20 Foreign Ministers Meeting in Bali on Friday, the Chinese minister noted that "the root cause of the difficulties in Chinese and Australian relations in recent years lies in the insistence of previous Australian governments to treat China as an ‘opponent’ and even a ‘threat'," adding that Australia’s words and actions had been “irresponsible”.

On Friday, Australian Foreign Minister Wong said the meeting with her Chinese counterpart was a first step towards stabilising the ties between the two countries, but that it would take time for Beijing to remove trade blockages on Australia.

The Asian country has imposed restrictions on imports of Australian coal and other products since 2020.

Among Beijing’s grievances were Canberra’s call for a full probe into the origins of COVID-19, an investigation into Chinese interference in Australian politics, and a ban on China’s Huawei from participating in Australia’s 5G rollout.