fredag 20. november 2020

How a 'vast ocean of goodwill' between China and Australia turned sour

Earlier this year, amid growing global anger over China's initial handling of the coronavirus pandemic, Australia was among the first countries to call for an official investigation into the virus' origins. That was met with an angry response from Beijing, which accused Canberra of a "highly irresponsible" move that could "disrupt international cooperation in fighting the pandemic." And while China succeeded in watering down language in an eventual resolution at the World Health Assembly calling for an independent probe, it has not forgotten the slight.

In recent months, China has hit Australia with trade tariffs, targeted Australian journalists, and issued angry missives regarding Canberra's dealings with other regional powers. Speaking this week, China's Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said Canberra should take full responsibility for a "series of wrong moves related to China, which is at the root cause of China-Australia relations taking a sharp downturn."