Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison rejects the Chinese complaint list

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Australia will not bow to pressure from China, said Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

Canberra, Australia:

Australia will not bow to pressure from China, Prime Minister Scott Morrison stressed Thursday after Beijing published a laundry list of complaints about the country.

A Chinese official gave Australian media a dossier of 14 complaints highlighting the increasingly inconsistent relationship between the two nations.

“If you make China the enemy, China will be the enemy,” a Chinese government official told three prominent outlets on Wednesday.

The complaints include Australia’s strict foreign interference laws, the ban on Huawei’s participation in its 5G network and decisions blocking Chinese investment projects on “national security grounds”.

Morrison said the “unofficial document” came from the Chinese embassy and would not prevent Australia from making “our own laws and regulations in accordance with our national interest”.

“We will not compromise on the fact that we determine what our foreign investment laws are, how we set up our 5G telecommunications networks, or how we operate our interference protection systems in Australia, how we run our country,” he said opposite Channel Nine.

The document also alleged Canberra had “relentlessly malicious interference” in China’s affairs while highlighting Australia’s call for an independent investigation into the origins of the coronavirus.

She accused Australia of “advocating the US anti-China campaign and spreading disinformation” about where the virus came from – a particularly painful point for Beijing.

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The United States weighed on the diplomatic rift Thursday when the White House National Security Council said on Twitter that “Beijing is angry that Australia has taken steps to expose and thwart Chinese espionage and protect Australian sovereignty”.

“It is encouraging to see more and more countries follow Canberra’s leadership in such moves,” the tweet continued.

Relations between Canberra and Beijing have hit a new low in recent months, with Australian ministers unable to convince Chinese colleagues to even take their calls.

The rift has exposed Australian exporters as their largest trading partner imposed a series of retaliatory bans on agricultural goods such as beef, barley and timber.

The latest diplomatic volley comes just days after Morrison reached an agreement in principle to strengthen defense ties with Japan’s leader Yoshihide Suga. This move is widely seen as a target against Chinese influence in the region.

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