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Accountability: Australian Foreign Minister Rejected China’s “Economic Coercion” and Defended Australia’s Call for Investigating Virus Origin in China

#1: On April 22, Australian Agriculture Minister David Littleproud, at a virtual meeting of Agriculture Ministers of the G20, called for international experts to investigate the coronavirus origin and the wild animal markets in China which China said was the source of the coronavirus.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison last week scolded the World Health Organization (WHO) for supporting the reopening of China’s wet markets, saying it was ‘unfathomable’ to back live animal markets. (Daily Mail)

#2: On April 26, the Australian Financial Review published its interview with the Chinese ambassador to Australia, Cheng Jingye. Cheng threatened Australia with economic impact, where China is the largest consumer of the education and tourism services that Australia offers.

“The Chinese public is frustrated, dismayed and disappointed with what Australia is doing now.”

“I think in the long term… if the mood is going from bad to worse, people would think ‘Why should we go to such a country that is not so friendly to China? The tourists may have second thoughts.

“The parents of the students would also think whether this place which they found is not so friendly, even hostile, whether this is the best place to send their kids here.

“It is up to the people to decide. Maybe the ordinary people will say ‘Why should we drink Australian wine? Eat Australian beef?'” (The Australian Financial Review)

#3: On April 27, Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne rejected China’s attempted “economic coercion” against Australia. Payne said in a statement that Australia had made a “principled call” for an independent review of the COVID-19 outbreak which started in Wuhan. “We reject any suggestion that economic coercion is an appropriate response to a call for such an assessment, when what we need is global cooperation.” (Reuters)

Related postings on Chinascope:

1. Source: Daily Mail, April 22, 2020

2. Source: The Australian Financial Review, April 26, 2020

3. Source: Reuters, April 27, 2020