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China defies Australian trade sanctions

Written by Javed Iqbal

China’s new ambassador to Australia, Xiao Qia, has said trade sanctions would not be lifted until there was an improvement in the political relationship. However, the Foreign Ministry’s recent comments would make it harder for Beijing to lift any sanctions after defending their legality so forcefully.

Commodity traders in China have this week talked about the possibility that Beijing will be forced to ease restrictions on Australian coal to avoid power outages this northern summer, although there has been no official sign from the government that this would happen.

In its latest comments, the Chinese Foreign Ministry responded to a question about a Lowy Institute poll to be released next week, which will show that only 12 per cent of Australians trust China. That’s a drop of 40 points from four years ago, when just over half of Australians (52 per cent) said they trusted China.

The spokesman said China hoped Australia would deal with bilateral relations “in a spirit of mutual respect”.

China’s sanctions on Australian goods, triggered by its anger over the former Morrison administration’s call for an inquiry into the origins of COVID-19, were seen as a major contributor to the mood change.

China’s defense of its tariffs on Australian goods came as President Xi Jinping criticized Western nations for “arming” the global economy by sanctioning Russia.

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Javed Iqbal

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