'Stop wasting time': China issues 'serious' warning amid further trade sanctions

Neither China or Australia are showing any signs of compromise amid heavily-strained relations, leading to another scathing attack from Chinese state media.

The latest bashing from the nation’s state media comes amid concerns further trade tariffs, this time slapped on Australian wine, are the result of the ongoing rift between Beijing and Canberra which continues to deteriorate.

It came just hours before a disturbing photo was posted to Twitter by China’s foreign ministry, showing a fake image of a grinning Australian soldier slitting the throat of what appears to be an Afghan child.

In what has become routine for the Communist Party of China’s multiple English-language mouthpieces, China Daily once again hit out at Canberra, calling for action from the Morrison government as opposed to baseless finger pointing regarding perceived economic retaliation.

Echoing Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian’s words on Friday, the editorial denied China’s latest anti-dumping measures placed on Australian wine were not a sign of a developing trade war.

“China has no intention of engaging in a trade war with Australia as it benefits no one's interests,” it explained.

Zhao Lijian once again urged Australia to do more to improve relations. Source: FMPRC
Zhao Lijian once again urged Australia to do more to improve relations. Source: FMPRC

“It is Canberra that needs to do some serious soul-searching on its hostile behaviour and attitude towards its largest trading partner, as this is colouring its perceptions of trade between the two.”

China has taken particular offence to Australia’s stance on several matters in recent months, notably Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s early calls for an independent investigation into the origins of the coronavirus and accusations of coercive tactics in Australia.

Canberra’s continued condemnation of Beijing over matters including Hong Kong, Taiwan and Xinjiang, has also riled the CPC who accuse Australia of interfering in internal matters.

Morrison government ‘standing firm’

Yet on Monday morning, Trade Minister Simon Birmingham appeared to suggest Australia would maintain its firm stance on several China issues and Beijing was in fact the antagonist in recent disagreements.

“We stand firm in terms of our values and the protection of national security and our critical infrastructure and so on, but we haven't changed,” he told ABC News Breakfast.

“China however is a country now that we see on the world stage taking a tone and a stance that is more challenging.”

Mr Birmingham’s inability to contact his Chinese counterparts via telephone has been widely publicised, failing to discuss what is believed to be economical punishment for Canberra’s recent stances on Chinese matters.

Simon Birmingham says China has become 'challenging'. Source: AAP
Simon Birmingham says China has become 'challenging'. Source: AAP

However he continues to stress he remains willing to “resolve these sorts of things through dialogue”.

“We urge them to come to the table,” he said.

Yet China appears unwilling to converse behind closed doors and has urged Australia to prove its commitment to the China-Australia relationship by taking a step back from its vocal position.

“Canberra needs to demonstrate its sincerity and back its words with deeds, since its recent political moves against China can hardly be interpreted as legitimate manoeuvres to protect Australia's sovereignty and interests,” China Daily’s editorial said.

“Instead of wasting time on pointing an accusing finger at China, Canberra should do more to repair ties.”

It follows Mr Lijian’s comments who urged Australia to “do more things conducive to mutual trust”.

Australia to seek help of World Trade Organisation

With China’s reluctance to discuss Australia’s concerns over trade, Mr Birmingham says he expects Australia will eventually take its complaint with China over barley imports to the World Trade Organisation.

In the latest stoush with its number one trading partner, China has imposed levies of up to 212 per cent on Australian wine exports.

It adds to a growing list of Australian exports that have become entangled in a diplomatic war of words between the two countries, including coal, timber, meat, lobsters and barley.

"If you stand by the rules-based system, you should also use that rules-based system, which includes calling out where you think the rules have been broken and calling in the international umpire to help resolve those disputes,” Mr Birmingham told ABC’s Insiders program.

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