On Wednesday, China accused Australia of “petty tricks” in a dispute over the topic of Canberra’s push for an international inquiry into the coronavirus outbreak that could affect diplomatic and economic relations between the countries.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said his inquired statement into how the coronavirus developed and spread would not be targeted at China but it was needed at the need of the hour given COVID-19 had killed more than 200,000 people and destroyed much of the global economy.
“Now, it might seem entirely reasonable and sensible that the planet would want to possess an independent assessment of how this all occurred, so we will learn the teachings and prevent it from happening again,” he said.
Australian ministers have repeatedly stated that China was threatening “economic coercion” after its ambassador, Cheng Jingye, said in the week that Chinese consumers could boycott Australian products and universities due to the initiation for the inquiry.
The head of Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) called Cheng to precise concern. The Chinese embassy then released a statement giving detail of discussion over on the call, prompting another controversy from DFAT.
On Wednesday, the Chinese embassy returned answer to this, giving details of the call that had first been “obviously leaked by some Australian officials” and it needed to set the record straight, on its website.
“The Embassy of China doesn’t play petty tricks, this is often not our tradition. But if others do, we’ve to reciprocate,” an embassy spokesman said within the statement.
Chinese media has fiercely rebuking on Morrison, with Australian studies scholar Chen Hong writing within the Global Times tabloid on Wednesday that Australia was “spearheading” a “malicious campaign to border and incriminate China.”
And Hu Xijin, the editor-in-chief of the paper and it’s affiliated to the Beijing-controlled People’s Daily newspaper, said on Chinese social media that Australia was always making trouble.
“It may be a bit like chewing gum stuck on the only of China’s shoes. Sometimes you’ve got to seek out a stone to rub it off,” Hu wrote.