China puts blame on Scott Morrison as Australia seeks to improve relations
By: Ellen Ransley
11 July 2022
China has demanded Australia “seize the current opportunity” and take concrete actions to improve relations between Beijing and Canberra.
Foreign Minister Penny Wong met with her Chinese counterpart on the sidelines of a G20 meeting in Bali last week, where she said she had a “full and frank” discussion with Wang Yi.
It was the first time the Foreign Ministers had met face-to-face since 2019, and ends a more than two-year long diplomatic freeze between ministers.
Tensions soured in 2020 after former prime minister Scott Morrison called for an independent inquiry into the origins of the Covid-19 pandemic.
In response, China slapped bans and tariffs on billions of dollars worth of Australian exports, namely wine and barley.
Senator Wong said the meeting had been an “important first step” to “stabilise” the relationship.
Mr Yi blamed the former Morrison government for the soured relations, and said moving forward Australia needed to see China as a “partner, rather than a rival”, and pointed at a “series of irresponsible words and deeds” on Canberra’s behalf.