lørdag 27. mars 2021

Australian envoy reportedly describes China as ‘vindictive’

Australia’s ambassador to Beijing has reportedly described China as a “vindictive” and “unreliable” trading partner as Australian officials revealed steep declines in most exports to the nation’s most important market. Ambassador Graham Fletcher told a China-Australia business group in an online briefing from Beijing on Thursday he did not know if China was aware of the damage its trade practices were causing in Australia and internationally.

“It’s been exposed as quite unreliable as a trading partner and even vindictive,” The Australian newspaper and Australian Broadcasting Corp. on Friday quoted Fletcher as saying.Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade did not immediately comment on the accuracy of the media reports.

A diplomatic rift between the free trade partners has worsened since Australia called for an independent inquiry into the coronavirus pandemic a year ago. Australian exports of coal, wine, barley, cotton, lobsters and wood have either been blocked or severely disrupted, usually for unclear reasons. China is unlikely to disrupt trade in iron ore, Australia’s most lucrative export, while production in Australia’s main rival, Brazil, is compromised by the pandemic.