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China Warns Australia Against Criticism After Minister’s Criticism

MELBOURNE – China has warned that Australian Interior Minister Peter Dutton’s criticism of his government could undermine ties between major trading partners.
Dutton’s claim that the policies of the Chinese Communist Party are incompatible with Australia’s values, and other comments about the risks of cyber-attacks and the theft of intellectual property are “shocking and baseless”, said the Chinese Embassy in Australian in a statement posted on its website.
“We strongly condemn his malicious insults against the Chinese Communist Party, which would be a real provocation to the Chinese people,” the embassy said in a statement.
“Such ridiculous rhetoric seriously undermines mutual trust between China and Australia and betrays the common interests of both peoples.”
Dutton, who lost to Premier Scott Morrison in a Liberal leadership contest in 2018, said Friday (Oct. 11) that Australia intended to more publicly criticize alleged acts of hostility from the Chinese government.
Morrison said Saturday that the remarks should not be “over-analyzed” and promised that the relationship would remain positive despite differences between nations.
“We have a very important business relationship with China,” Dutton told reporters in Canberra.
“But we will not allow university students to be unduly influenced, we will not allow the theft of intellectual property and we will not allow our government or non-government agencies to be hacked.”
Australia, which views China as its main export market and trading partner, has seen its relationship deteriorate after banning Huawei Technologies from bidding for 5G contracts and introducing laws against foreign interference in China.
Australian exporters have already expressed concern over the direct impact of political tensions. Mining giant Glencore accused the dispute of delaying coal imports earlier this year, while Australian beef and wine suppliers said the friction had led to their products being blocked in Chinese ports.
“It is essential that relations with China be managed with sophistication and this is not what we saw with the Morrison government,” opposition lawmaker Andrew Leigh told reporters in Canberra.
The relationship between Australia and China is crucial and the government and business must focus on “the best way to maintain this trading partnership in the future,” Elizabeth Gaines, President and CEO of iron ore producer Fortescue Metals Group, which receives more than 90 percent revenue from China, said Thursday during a speech in Melbourne.
“Our relations with China will always be positive because they focus on what we agree on and benefit each country,” Morrison told reporters during a visit to Suva, Fiji. “Of course, there are clear differences, they are different countries with different systems.”
(Sahar News Monitoring Desk)

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