Global Times recently reported that Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said at a press conference that it was “inappropriate” for him to meet with China’s new ambassador to Australia before Beijing lifts the freeze on ministerial exchanges between Australia and China. In January this year, the new Chinese ambassador made a friendly speech on the day he took office, and then met with people from all walks of life in Australia, showing a very obvious goodwill. Morrison’s preconditions for meeting can be seen as a threat to some extent. However, Morrison said meeting the new Chinese ambassador would be seen as a “weakness” for him. He regarded this as a perfectly proportionate response, especially when China completely cut off minister-to-minister level dialogues between the two countries. He later confirmed, “I assure you, as Prime Minister, this is my last message to China.” Xiao Qian, the 15th Chinese Ambassador to Australia, explained during his meeting with Australian Foreign Minister Payne. He spoke about China’s position and about the relations between the two nations, saying that the China-Australia friendship and mutually beneficial cooperation are in the common interests of both sides. Political analysts expressed the belief that Morrison’s position may be linked to the approaching election. Another specific context for Morrison’s remarks about refusing to meet the Chinese ambassador was the security agreement signed between China and the Solomon Islands.
Source: Global Times, March 28, 2022