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Australia should mend its ways: China Daily editorial

chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2021-04-27 20:00

The Chinese and Australian national flags on a celebration event in Sydney, Australia, on Sept 8, 2019. [Photo/Xinhua]

Australia perceives itself to be an Asia- Pacific country and with this in mind Canberra has issued various policies that aim to strengthen ties with countries in the region in recent years. But the remarks made by its high-ranking officials on Australia's veterans' day on Sunday show it has not yet embraced that identity wholeheartedly.

In a message to his staff, Mike Pezzullo, secretary of the Department of Home Affairs, warned that "free nations again hear the beating drums" and they must prepare "for the curse of war" as military tensions rise in the Asia-Pacific region.

Meanwhile, Australia's Defense Minister Peter Dutton raised the prospect of conflict between the Chinese mainland and Taiwan in his own comments on Anzac Day, adding that Australia was prepared for any conflict.

As if to ward off any adverse impacts of his remarks on the Taiwan question, Dutton did remember to say on the same occasion that Australia was focused on continuing good relations with China. But still the Australian politician needs to be reminded of the sensitivity of the Taiwan question.

Dutton's remarks prompted a terse reply from China's Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin on Monday, who warned against any foreign interference in the Taiwan question as it is China's internal affair.

With anti-China sentiment on the rise in Australia, its politicians should avoid making remarks that could have an adverse impact on bilateral ties as they have already plummeted to the lowest ebb in years. Worse, China-Australia ties at the people-to-people level are being undermined by such remarks and Canberra's hawkish policy toward China.

So far, however, Australian politicians and media have dutifully followed the US playbook of hyping a fallacious and damaging narrative against China and allowing it to constantly poison China-Australia ties.

If Canberra really wants to mend the fences with China, it should show sincerity and see China and bilateral ties through a more objective lens, rather than through the lens provided by the United States, which not only sees China as an adversary but is also soliciting support from its allies to contain China.

The days when Australia could enjoy the benefits of flourishing ties with China seem long gone, as following the lead of Washington, Canberra has taken a hostile stance toward Beijing.

It is high time Australia upheld the principle of mutual respect and equality when dealing with its relations with China and did more to promote mutual trust. Otherwise, there is no guarantee that bilateral ties will not slip onto a road of no return.

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