Chinese media threatens ‘evil’ Australia’s warships in South China Sea
One of the Communist Party’s chief mouthpieces has branded Australia “evil” and warned warships carrying out patrols in the South China Sea are at risk of being attacked.
An editorial published by the jingoistic Global Times tabloid newspaper said Prime Minister Scott Morrison had “lost his diplomatic manner” after China’s Foreign Ministry had published a fake image slurring Australian soldiers over alleged war crimes in Afghanistan.
But Five Eyes ally New Zealand rallied to Australia’s support, while the Afghan government urged calm.
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The newspaper’s editorial said Mr Morrison’s demand for an apology had been “ruthlessly rejected” by the ministry and “ridiculed” by the Chinese people.
“Australia now has such a rude and arrogant government and a group of political and opinion elites who don’t have a clear estimation of themselves,” the editorial said.
China plunged the toxic relationship further into disrepair after one of its chief spokesmen, Lijian Zhao, tweeted a fake image of an Australian soldier slitting the throat of an Afghan boy, a reference to an allegation in the Brereton report into alleged atrocities committed by special forces.
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Mr Morrison branded the picture “repugnant” and demanded the tweet be deleted, with protests made through both the Chinese embassy in Canberra and Australian embassy in Beijing.
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However, he suggested that with the tweet sending relations to rock bottom, it was actually an opportunity to reset bilateral ties.
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But the Global Times said Australia had implemented a “wolf-style policy” towards China and was the “most savage accomplice of US suppression”.
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“Australia’s evil acts toward China have made Chinese society not only surprised, but also disgusted,” the editorial said.
“As a warhound of the US, Australia should restrain its arrogance. Particularly, its warships must not come to China’s coastal areas to flex muscles, or else it will swallow the bitter pills.”
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New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said her country had protested directly to China over the post.
“It was an un-factual post and, of course, that would concern us. So, that is something that we have raised directly in the manner that New Zealand does when we have such concerns,” she said.
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Afghanistan’s Foreign Ministry issued a statement saying it was aware of the doctored image.
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“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Australian Government are jointly working to investigate the misconduct of the Australian soldiers in Afghanistan,” the statement said.
“The aim of the investigation is to ensure that the perpetrators are identified and brought to justice.
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“The Islamic Republic of Afghanistan believes that both Australia and China are key players in building and maintaining international and regional consensus on peace and development in Afghanistan. Afghanistan hopes to maintain and strengthen cooperation with the two countries.”
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