|Chinese FM Spokesperson Explained Why China-Australia Relations Are Facing Difficulties from Three Aspects|
At a regular press conference of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People's Republic of China on November 17, Spokesperson Zhao Lijian explained why China-Australia relations are facing difficulties.
Journalist: China has recently taken some restrictive measures against a variety of imports from Australia. In response, Australian Trade Minister Simon Birmingham said that the ball is very much in China's court to come to the table for dialogue. Some Australian media say Australia should not give up its values and its own national interests. What is China's comment on this?
Zhao Lijian: Looking back over the past few years' China-Australia relations, it is clear that some people in Australia, with their Cold War mentality and ideological prejudice, tend to regard China's development as a threat, and have subsequently taken a series of wrong moves related to China, which is at the root cause of China-Australia relations taking a sharp downturn and stuck in the current difficult situation. I can give you more details in three aspects.
First, the Australian side, in blatant violation of the basic norms of international relations, has time and again made mistakes on issues concerning China's core interests like Hong Kong, Xinjiang and Taiwan. It also exploited platforms like the Human Rights Council to initiate or participate in joint actions against China on Xinjiang-related issues, meddled in the national security legislation of Hong Kong in a high-profile way, and endorsed Taiwan's attempt to force its way into the World Health Assembly. These practices have grossly interfered in China's internal affairs and seriously hurt the feelings of the Chinese people.
Second, in the absence of any evidence, some people in Australia slandered and accused China of engaging in so-called "intervention and infiltration" activities in Australia, and there was no justification for the politicization and stigmatization of normal exchanges and cooperation between China and Australia. Australia was the first in banning Chinese company from participating in its 5G network construction, repeatedly prevented Chinese enterprises from investing in Australia under the guise of "national security", and conducted arbitrary searches of Chinese media reporters in Australia. These acts have seriously damaged mutual trust between the two countries, poisoned the atmosphere of bilateral relations, and curtailed the original good momentum of practical cooperation between China and Australia.
Third, Australia has also engaged in political manipulation on the pandemic by promoting the so-called "independent international inquiry", which seriously interfered with international cooperation on pandemic prevention and control. What happened to China-Australia relations, as I just recounted, is very clear. There are even many clear-eyed people in Australia calling on the Australian government to take a rational and impartial stand in dealing with its relations with China. The Australian side should reflect on this seriously, rather than shirking the blame and deflecting responsibility.
China has always adhered to the five principles of peaceful coexistence, including "non-interference in internal affairs", to develop relations with other countries. We unswervingly follow the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics and respect the development paths chosen by other countries in accordance with their own national conditions. We never deny that China and Australia have different historical traditions and social systems and we are at different development stages. It is perfectly normal for the two sides to have contradictions and differences. What matters is to properly manage them in a constructive manner, rather than imposing one's own ideas and wills on others under the pretext of safeguarding national interests and values.
I would like to stress that the serious difficulties facing China-Australia relations are nothing China wishes to see, and the responsibility for causing this situation doesn't lie with China at all. We hope that the Australian side will own up to the real reason for the setback in bilateral relations, look at China and China's development objectively and rationally, earnestly handle bilateral relations based on mutual respect and equal treatment, and do more things conducive to enhancing mutual trust and promoting pragmatic cooperation between the two countries.