Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Thursday responded to a list of grievances from the Chinese embassy in Canberra, saying the country will continue to act in its own interests and would not change its policies.
A dossier with a list of 14 complaints was “deliberately leaked” to Nine Newspapers by China’s Canberra embassy after Australia and Japan on Tuesday signed a historic defence agreement.
It accuses Morrison of “poisoning bilateral relations,” siding with the “United States’ anti-China campaign,” and “spearheading a crusade” on China’s relations with Taiwan and Hong Kong.
Morrison told Seven News on Thursday that he had seen the unofficial document and Australia “won’t be compromising.”
“We will set what our foreign investment laws are or how we build our 5G telecommunications networks or how we run our systems of protecting against interference Australia’s way we run our country,” he said.
“In that list, you would have seen that apparently the media and freely elected politicians apparently aren’t allowed to speak their minds. We won’t be changing that in Australia either.”
Morrison addressed claims that the two key allies of the United Stated had inked the defence pact this week at the behest of the US, saying it was “nonsense.”
“Australia is a sovereign country. We make our own decisions in accordance with our national interests,” he said.
Relations between China and Australia have become increasingly strained this year, after Canberra supported US calls for an investigation into the origins of the coronavirus pandemic.
In recent months, China has placed trade restrictions on several Australian products.