China accuses Australia of ‘abuse’, says world trade rules intended to protect Western interests

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Australia is guilty of ‘abuse of state power’ and international trade rules are a protection racket for Western powers, China claimed.

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China has accused Australia of abusing state power and has criticized international trade rules as a protection racket for Western powers. Photo: Greg Baker / AFPSource: AFP

Beijing has accused Australia of « abusing state power » by restricting Chinese investment, alleging that Western countries used world trade rules to maintain their dominance.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison called Beijing-imposed tariffs on a range of Australian products « completely unscrupulous » on Thursday, just a day after urging the international community to strengthen trade rules in a bid to curb economic coercion.

Heading to the G7 in the UK, Mr Morrison said Australia was eager to reopen dialogue with China but was « unwilling to give in » to a list of 14 grievances published by Beijing, or « swap away » its values.

China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin stressed that the sanctions protected the rights of Chinese producers and consumers, claiming that Beijing opposed the « politicization » of trade and « all kinds of bullying and political manipulation. » .

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Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin has accused Australia of abusing state power.  Photo: Greg Baker / AFP

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin has accused Australia of abusing state power. Photo: Greg Baker / AFPSource: AFP

But he framed world trade rules as a closed shop, designed by Western powers to maintain control and neutralize the growth of emerging countries.

“Who has politicized trade and economic issues, stretched the concept of national security, and abused state power to suppress and contain foreign companies? The Australian side has a clear idea, » he told reporters on Thursday.

The comments were a clear reference to new powers, introduced last year, that allowed the federal government to veto foreign investment for reasons of national security.

The power was first used in April to scrap the controversial Belt and Road Initiative signed between China and Victoria, a move that infuriated China.

Scott Morrison is open to resuming dialogue with China but says Australian values ​​are non-negotiable.  Image: Sharon Smith/NCA NewsWire

Scott Morrison is open to resuming dialogue with China but says Australian values ​​are non-negotiable. Image: Sharon Smith/NCA NewsWireSource: NCA NewsWire

Japan has pledged to support Australia in its ongoing stoush with Beijing, and raised concerns about rights violations in Xinjiang and Hong Kong in a joint statement the two countries signed on Tuesday.

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga also drew fire from Beijing by naming Taiwan, along with Australia and New Zealand, as a « country » during comments to the country’s parliament.

Mr Wang said the « blatant » intervention had « seriously violated » a commitment by Japan to refer to Taiwan as part of China, alleging that Beijing had made statements to Tokyo about the comments.

« We ask Japan to quickly clarify, remove the serious damage and ensure that such things don’t happen again, » he said.

“There is only one China in the world and Taiwan is an inalienable part of China’s territory.

“We strongly urge the Japanese side to seriously live up to its promise, to be careful in word and deed, to avoid undermining China’s sovereignty in any form, and not to send the wrong signal to Taiwanese independence forces. . »

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