A bombshell dossier containing a long list of reasons China is “angry” at Australia has been deliberately leaked in a move that will alarm Scott Morrison.
Remember back in August when China’s Deputy Head of Mission Wang Xining made that extraordinary speech at Canberra’s National Press Club outlining how Australia had wronged the Communist state?
It was a pointed attack at Australia over its decision to back an independent inquiry into the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic – a decision the diplomat compared with the stabbing of Roman emperor Julius Caesar.
The rift over where coronavirus originated has dominated the relationship between the two previously strong allies. But it is far from the only reason China is “angry” at Australia.
A deliberately leaked document delivered by the Chinese embassy in Canberra to The Age newspaper reveals 14 disputes that are “poisoning bilateral relations”.
“China is angry,” an official said after the leak on Tuesday. “If you make China the enemy, China will be the enemy.”
The list of grievances cited by Chinese officials reportedly includes calls for an inquiry into the origins of COVID-19, taking sides over the South China Sea territorial dispute, “thinly veiled” accusations that China is behind cyber attacks and banning Huawei from the rollout of 5G because of security concerns.
A new military pact between Australia and Japan has also ruffled feathers in Beijing where Chinese state media described it as “dangerous”.
“We suggest Japan and Australia exercise restraint on the way to form a quasi military alliance against China,” a Global Times editorial read on Tuesday night.
“They will surely pay a corresponding price if China’s national interests are infringed upon and its security is threatened.”
The Global Times condemned both nations for “recklessly” taking the first step to conduct deep defence co-operation that targets a third party, and accused them of shifting the responsibilities of safeguarding regional unity to China.
“This is not only unfair, but also very dangerous,” it wrote.
In August, the Chinese diplomat who fronted the Press Club in a rare display of outward aggression said Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s decision to back the inquiry into the origins of the virus had “hurt the feelings” of Chinese people.