U.S. Secretary of State John Blinken said today that Australia will not be left alone to face economic coercion from the Chinese Communist Party. Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne said she looks forward to a constructive relationship with China, but will not compromise on national security or sovereignty.
Antony Blinken held a bilateral meeting with visiting Marise Payne at the State Department today, and the two held a joint press conference afterwards.
In the face of Chinese economic coercion against Australia, Blinken said the United States would not leave Australia alone in the field. The U.S. also made it clear to the Chinese Communist Party that such actions against America’s closest partner and ally would impede the improvement of U.S.-China relations.
Penn, for his part, said Australia wants to have a constructive relationship with China to discuss mutual differences and seek common interests. But Australia will not compromise on national security or sovereignty issues and will continue to take action to ensure this. Australia and China now have many issues to resolve together, and Australia will continue to work with China to resolve trade issues and, where needed, through appropriate mechanisms.
China and Australia have recently been embroiled in friction over the South China Sea dispute and national security issues. The Chinese Communist Party has imposed tariffs on Australian barley since May last year and wine since August, and has even asked energy companies and steel mills to stop importing coal from Australia. It is widely believed that this is a retaliation against Australia in response to Australia’s ban on Huawei’s participation in 5G network infrastructure, the establishment of the Anti-Foreign Intervention Act, and the initiative to the international community to independently investigate the source of the 2019 Coronavirus Disease (CCP) (COVID-19) outbreak.