STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

Australia's attempts to rebuild relationship with Beijing run into trouble

Antagonistic statements by top media and political figures in Australia and China have undermined attempts by Canberr...

Posted: May 24, 2018 12:35 PM
Updated: May 24, 2018 12:35 PM

Antagonistic statements by top media and political figures in Australia and China have undermined attempts by Canberra to rebuild its relationship with Beijing after months of diplomatic tension.

Chinese state media tabloid Global Times, known for its hawkish statements on government policy, said in an editorial Wednesday a planned visit by Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull should be postponed "to make Australia pay for its arrogant attitudes."

"China just needs to slow their relationship for a period. For example, it will not be necessary for the Australian Prime Minister to visit China this year. In fact, he could visit a few years later," the editorial said, adding ministerial visits could also be postponed.

Turnbull said in a press conference last week he would be visiting China "later in the year."

Less than a day earlier, Australian politician Andrew Hastie, who is also the chair of the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security, accused a wealthy Australian Chinese political donor of funding the bribery of a senior United Nations official.

Hastie made the claims in federal parliament, under the protection of parliamentary privilege, which allows politicians to make potentially defamatory comments with legal immunity.

The provocative statements won't help improve Australia-China relations, which have deteriorated since Canberra proposed new anti-foreign interference laws that China believes are aimed at Beijing.

Speaking to reporters at an event on Wednesday, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull claimed the relationship between the two countries was solid.

"We have a strong relationship, it's a frank one, Julie had a good meeting with her counterpart in Buenos Aires, trade is growing," he said. "We have a good frank relationship with China, it's a very strong one."

Turnbull has recently been working hard to appease Beijing, saying during an interview with Sky News in February China would never be considered a military threat. "We don't see the region through what is frankly an out-of-date Cold War prism," he said.

Warring statements

More signs of an uneasy relationship emerged Sunday when Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi met his Australian counterpart Julie Bishop on the sidelines of the G20 Foreign Ministers' Meeting in Argentina.

When both were asked about the meeting afterward, there were stark differences in their interpretation of the discussion.

Talking to CNN-affiliate Sky News on Tuesday, Bishop said the meeting had been "very warm and candid."

"I have known Foreign Minister Wang Yi for a long time now. I think this is our twelfth formal bilateral meeting, but we've obviously seen each other on many other more informal occasions. It was a really good and positive meeting," she said.

But the Chinese Foreign Ministry statement, released the same day, took a slightly chillier tone. The statement said Australia had to "break away from traditional thinking" if it wanted to improve the relationship between the two countries.

"(Australia should) take off the tinted glasses and look at China's development from a positive angle, and push forward the bilateral cooperation rather than dampen the prospect of relations," the Chinese Foreign Ministry said in Tuesday's statement.

It added Bishop had blamed "negative reports by Australian media" for the recent troubles between Canberra and Beijing, saying the articles were wrong and did not represent the Australian government's position.

On Wednesday, Australian Prime Minister Turnbull said the Chinese Foreign Ministry would make whatever statements it wishes. "We have a free media, a vibrant media, dare I say it," he said.

Backlash to new laws

The chill between Australia and China began in December last year, when the Turnbull government announced it would be introducing a series of new laws to limit foreign influence in Australia.

The proposals would ban all foreign political donations, criminalize attempts by foreign actors to influence the government, and give law enforcement agencies greater powers.

The laws have still not passed, with some parts currently being reviewed by the country's parliamentary committees.

The legislation was proposed after the resignation of opposition Labor Senator Sam Dastyari, after it emerged he had close ties to a Chinese-Australian businessman who donated large amounts of money to the country's major political parties.

While Turnbull has insisted the laws weren't targeted at any particular country, the Chinese government and state media saw them as a challenge laid down to Beijing.

A series of angry editorials and opinion pieces in Chinese state media labeled the laws "disgraceful" and "absurd," while Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said in February that remarks about Chinese influence in Australia were "irresponsible."

The backlash was so severe there were reports in local media of Australian ministers being refused Chinese visas. Turnbull admitted in April the laws had created a "degree of tension" with Beijing.

West Lafayette
Clear
71° wxIcon
Hi: 94° Lo: 71°
Feels Like: 71°
Kokomo
Clear
70° wxIcon
Hi: 92° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 70°
Rensselaer
Clear
66° wxIcon
Hi: 92° Lo: 69°
Feels Like: 66°
Fowler
Clear
66° wxIcon
Hi: 92° Lo: 69°
Feels Like: 66°
Williamsport
Clear
71° wxIcon
Hi: 92° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 71°
Crawfordsville
Clear
67° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 71°
Feels Like: 67°
Frankfort
Overcast
72° wxIcon
Hi: 92° Lo: 71°
Feels Like: 72°
Delphi
Clear
72° wxIcon
Hi: 93° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 72°
Monticello
Clear
72° wxIcon
Hi: 93° Lo: 69°
Feels Like: 72°
Logansport
Clear
70° wxIcon
Hi: 93° Lo: 69°
Feels Like: 70°
WLFI Radar
WLFI Temps
WLFI Planner

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 47432

Reported Deaths: 2687
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion11546683
Lake5104242
Elkhart321144
Allen2737129
St. Joseph190866
Cass16389
Hamilton1538100
Hendricks1390100
Johnson1256118
Porter72037
Tippecanoe6948
Madison65564
Clark64044
Bartholomew58244
Howard56557
LaPorte56326
Kosciusko5354
Vanderburgh5026
Marshall4823
Jackson4693
Noble46928
LaGrange4677
Hancock44035
Boone43743
Delaware43150
Shelby42325
Floyd37144
Morgan32731
Montgomery29320
Grant29126
Clinton2882
Monroe27628
Dubois2666
White26010
Henry25815
Decatur24932
Lawrence24225
Vigo2318
Dearborn22823
Harrison21222
Warrick21229
Greene18532
Miami1822
Jennings17411
Putnam1688
DeKalb1604
Scott1607
Daviess14216
Orange13623
Wayne1366
Steuben1282
Perry1279
Franklin1248
Ripley1157
Jasper1142
Wabash1122
Carroll1102
Fayette987
Newton9810
Starke923
Whitley905
Randolph784
Huntington742
Jefferson722
Wells711
Fulton691
Jay680
Washington681
Gibson672
Knox640
Pulaski641
Clay604
Rush563
Adams501
Benton480
Owen471
Sullivan441
Brown381
Posey380
Blackford372
Spencer371
Crawford300
Fountain302
Tipton301
Switzerland260
Martin220
Parke220
Ohio140
Vermillion140
Warren141
Union130
Pike100
Unassigned0193

COVID-19 Important links and resources

As the spread of COVID-19, or as it's more commonly known as the coronavirus continues, this page will serve as your one-stop for the resources you need to stay informed and to keep you and your family safe. CLICK HERE

Closings related to the prevention of the COVID-19 can be found on our Closings page.

Community Events