China slapped tariffs of up to 212 per cent on Australian wine. Relations with Australia began to deteriorate after Canberra asked for an international investigation into the origins of COVID-19. Canberra condemns China's “pressure and coercion”. Biden and the European Union are calling for an alliance between democracies against regimes like China’s.
Canberra (AsiaNews) – Tensions between Australia and China are rising.
The Chinese Ministry of Commerce today announced duties of up to 212 per cent on Australian wine imports starting tomorrow. Chinese authorities say the measure is temporary, and was taken to stop Australian subsidies to its wine industry.
Over the past few months, Beijing has imposed tariffs on several Australian imports, including coal, barley, sugar and lobsters. All this points to the fact that relations between the two countries have been going from bad to worse recently.
Australia is concerned about China's growing military activism in the South China Sea. The level of confrontation reached disturbing levels after the Australian government joined other countries in April to call for an international probe into the origins of COVID-19 and Beijing's handling of the pandemic.
In a speech on Wednesday, Australian Foreign Minister Frances Adamson slammed Beijing's "pressure or coercion" in the international arena.
In her view, China is in a situation where it might believe that it can largely set the terms of its future engagement with the world without taking into account the reactions of other countries.
Adamson expressed concepts shared by the United States and Europe. US President-elect Joe Biden has called for the creation of a global alliance of democracies to respond to the challenge posed by regimes like China’s. The EU is on the same wavelength.
On Monday, during a telephone conversion, the High Representative of the (European) Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borrell, informed his Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi that the EU is involved in a bilateral dialogue on China with Washington.