China’s anger at Australia has gone up a notch with Beijing accusing Canberra of a smear campaign and “unbearable consequences”.
Australia is “hypocritical,” “disregards basic facts,” is “reckless,” tells “lies,” “has not learned its lesson,” and has “blatant double standards”.
That’s the damning assessment from China that in recent weeks has seemed to increase the frequency of its attacks on Australia.
It’s even had a pot shot at our diplomats saying the Canadians and British are far better at managing bilateral relationships than we are.
China watchers have said Beijing’s bellicose barbs aren’t “pleasant reading” and demonstrate a “palpable sense of anger and resentment”.
There’s no doubt China-Australia relations are far from great right now. But is China’s increasingly furious tirades something to be concerned about or just colourful froth and bubble?
In the last week, China’s embassy in Canberra, the foreign ministry in Beijing and the state-owned Global Times have taken potshots at Australia. The Global Times, which has direct links to the Communist Party leadership, has singled out Australia three times for a drubbing.
The latest flashpoint was the Australia-US Ministerial Consultations, better known as AUSMIN, which took place in Washington DC last week.
Foreign minister Marise Payne and defence minister Linda Reynolds met their counterparts including US secretary of state Mike Pompeo. China was high on the agenda.
The Australian reported that the US and Australia had agreed to create a “top-secret defence co-operation framework to counter Chinese military aggression”.
Mr Pompeo praised Australia, “for standing up for democratic values and the rule of law, despite intense continued, coercive pressure from the Chinese Communist Party”.
Australia was more restrained. It resisted US calls to join so-called “freedom of navigation” operations in the South China Sea which Beijing claims much of, a claim disputed by just about everyone.
Ms Payne said Australia would make its “own decisions” when it came to China.
Nonetheless, Beijing still hit back.
A statement from the Chinese embassy in Canberra on Wednesday said assertions at AUSMIN were in “disregard of the basic facts, violated international law … and grossly interfered with China’s internal affairs”.
“Any attempt to pressure China will never succeed,” the statement added. “We urge Australia not to go further down the road of harming China-Australia relations”.