News of China 'freeze' shows Australia has a 'guilty conscience': analyst

By Zhang Hui Source:Global Times Published: 2018/3/1 22:28:39

Media report suggests ‘guilty conscience,’ says Chinese observer

The Australian government on Thursday rallied to reject reports of a freeze in ties with China, prompting Chinese observers to suggest "Australian elites" may have realized the country's "recent policy toward China was wrong."

A headline in The Australian of "Cold War: China's freeze on ties" was "just wrong," said Frances Adamson, foreign affairs department secretary of Australia, the Australian Associated Press reported Thursday.

Both countries have complex and difficult issues but they are working through them and the relationship is "functioning," Adamson was quoted as saying.

Australia's deep diplomatic engagement with China continues as normal, said a spokeswoman for Foreign Minister Julie Bishop's office.

A previous report in The Australian claimed ministerial and diplomatic trips were stalled or deferred to pressure Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull over proposed foreign interference laws.

Reports of a freeze showed Australia had "a guilty conscience," Yu Lei, a research fellow at the Oceania Research Center of Sun Yat-sen University in Guangdong Province, told the Global Times.

Australia "has realized that its recent policy toward China was wrong, and its policy has undermined economic and political interests of both countries," he said.

"Australian elites including diplomats and politicians have realized that cooperation between China and Australia has boosted the Australian economy and provided stable benefits for its people."

Australian scholars and politicians also criticized the book Silent Invasion: How China Is Turning Australia into a Puppet State by Clive Hamilton for sabotaging Sino-Australian ties.

Foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said Thursday that she was aware of criticism of the book and its author.

"Some individual's malicious hype and attack on China was groundless," she said. "China is always devoted to developing relations with other countries based on mutual respect and non-interference in domestic affairs."

Sino-Australian relations ebbed last year following Australian media coverage of alleged Chinese "infiltration" of the country and Canberra's strengthening alliance with the US and Japan to contain China, Xu Liping, a senior research fellow at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times.

"The improvement of Sino-Australian ties depends on the Australian government's sincerity and its actions," Xu said.

Referring to remarks on China's interference in Australian affairs, foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said in December that China strongly urges relevant people in Australia to shake off Cold War mentality and bias against China and immediately stop uttering false remarks that undermine mutual political trust and beneficial cooperation.

Newspaper headline: Australia denies freeze in China ties

Posted in: DIPLOMACY

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