China calls Australia ‘the dog of the US’

 

China has branded Australia as looking like a "giant kangaroo that acts as the dog of the US" in the latest exchange of bizarre insults over escalating trade tensions.

Amid fresh speculation that China could be preparing a "hit list" of Australian exports including wine and dairy, the war of words has escalated after barley exporters were hit with punitive tariffs this week.

Stung by claims that international pressure forced China to back an inquiry into the origins of the coronavirus, Communist officials have gone on the offensive, insisting that the final probe agreed to was completely different from the independent probe Australia had sought.

Now the Global Times newspaper, widely regarded as the mouthpiece of the Chinese Government has escalated the war of words quoting anonymous "Nietzens" or citizens of the internet comparing Australia to "dog" of the US President Donald Trump.

"Some Chinese netizens also mocked Australia's attempts as it has been trying to become a 'martyr' for defending so-called independence and transparency while its ideas were denounced by the global community,'' it said.

"By following the steps of some US hawks who harshly attack China over coronavirus, 'it seems that Australia, this giant kangaroo that serves as a dog of the US, will hit a deadlock with China on trade disputes in sectors like coal and beef. Hopefully, the US will compensate it!' one netizen said in a Weibo post on Tuesday."

 

 

 

China remains Australia's biggest export partner in the world and any further escalation of trade tensions could be devastating for Australian farmers.

The warning Australia could face trade deadlock over coal and beef follows unconfirmed reports today from the wire agency Bloomberg that a "hit list'' is being drawn up by Chinese officials.

The report suggested that China is preparing a list of potential Australian imports including seafood, oatmeal and fruit that could be subject to stricter quality checks, anti-dumping probes, tariffs or customs delays.

The report also predicted that state media could also encourage consumer boycotts of popular Australian brands.

Speaking in Beijing on Tuesday, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said Australia had not got what it wanted at the World Health Assembly, despite the unanimous backing for an inquiry into the origins of the coronavirus.

"We suggest the Australia side to go through the text carefully," Zhao said. "If Australia is willing to change its course and give up the political manipulation of the pandemic, we will welcome that."

It was a message echoed in China's Global Times, which has also attempted to claim in recent days that the coronavirus could have been spread in the United States, weeks before the Wuhan outbreak.

 

Scott Morrison and Donald Trump.
Scott Morrison and Donald Trump.

 

"The US, Australia and the island of Taiwan have become the largest losers at this year's WHA meeting, as they were either isolated or abandoned by the global community for continuing to politicise the pandemic and diverting the joint efforts in fighting this battle,'' it said.

"The resolution also called for the use of existing mechanisms to review experience gained and lessons learned from the WHO-co-ordinated international health response to COVID-19. However, this initiative has been misinterpreted by some Western politicians and media outlets as being a probe into China's initial handling of the outbreak, first hyped up by countries like Australia.

"The US has become the biggest loser for being isolated and marginalised, reflecting its failure in global governance, some Chinese analysts said, noting that such incompetence was amplified after it failed to besiege China at the WHO with the help of two of its biggest pawns - Australia and the island of Taiwan.

"The third loser was Australia, which has been actively pushing for a so-called independent inquiry into the origins of the crisis in recent days, aimed at China. Australia's act was widely believed to be instigated by Washington. Some Australian politicians, including Australia's foreign minister Marise Payne, Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Minister for Home Affairs Peter Dutton, have been in a bullish mood, as some media reports said, in criticising China for its lack of transparency, and vowed to stand up for their values."

Health Minister Greg Hunt said today Australia also wanted real steps forward on independent inspection capabilities.

"These capabilities are very important for early identification of risk, of new forms of transmission. And to discover the source. And of this or other outbreaks around the world,'' he said.

"So I am both confident and hopeful that, going forward, this resolution will represent a transformative moment in international disease detection and discovery, going forward."

Australia has also raised concerns today over "unacceptable malicious cyber activity" by an unnamed country believed to be exploiting the pandemic, but stressed the activity was "outside of Australia."

In a statement, the Department of Foreign Affairs said today the Australian Government was concerned that malicious cyber actors are seeking to exploit the pandemic for their own gain.

"Of particular concern are reports that malicious cyber actors are seeking to damage or impair the operation of hospitals, medical services and facilities, and crisis response organisations outside of Australia,'' it said.

"Countries have agreed at the United Nations that existing international law applies in cyberspace. Countries have also agreed that it is contrary to norms of responsible state behaviour to use cyber tools to intentionally damage or impair critical infrastructure providing services to the public," said Australia's Ambassador for Cyber Affairs, Dr Tobias Feakin.

"Countries have also agreed to co-operate to address cybercrime and not to knowingly allow their territory to be used for internationally wrongful acts."

While the statement does not name China, it is widely seen as being aimed at the Communist regime.