Australian prime minister attacks China at Quad and backs Biden’s stand on Taiwan

‘It’s China that has applied sanctions on Australia. There is no justification for doing that’

Maroosha Muzaffar
Tuesday 24 May 2022 16:07
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Australia: Anthony Albanese sworn in as prime minister ahead of Tokyo summit

Australia’s new prime minister Anthony Albanese has criticised China for imposing hefty tariffs on Australian exports two years ago at the Quad summit in Tokyo.

Mr Albanese, just days after being sworn in, said he was concerned about “wide-ranging tariffs on Australian goods from coal to lobster, imposed by China.

The security summit has seen the participation of primary group members India, Japan, the US and Australia as well as a number of other countries.

Mr Albanese also confirmed receiving a congratulatory letter from Chinese premier Xi Jinping, but responded by saying: “I welcome all congratulations from all over the world. We will respond appropriately in time when I am back in Australia.”

In comments that further attacked China, he said it was “not Australia that has changed, it’s China”.

“It’s China that has applied sanctions on Australia. There is no justification for doing that. And that’s why they should be removed,” he added.

The prime minister also seemingly backed US president Joe Biden’s stand on Taiwan.

Mr Biden said the US could intervene with military force if any territorial moves are taken on Taiwan, adding that “we agreed with the One China policy, we signed on to it… but the idea that (Taiwan) can be taken by force is just not appropriate.”

Mr Albanese said Australia’s position on national security remained unchanged. “There should be no unilateral change to the status quo,” he pointed out.

On the issue of the Solomon Islands, the Australian prime minister said China’s attempt to “exert more influence in the Pacific” was discussed in the meeting.

“We know that is the case, and Australia is responding to that alongside the United States, India and Japan. We discussed the need for the Quad to engage more in the Indo-Pacific, and how to engage when China is clearly seeking to exert influence,” he said.

The Quad meeting was also joined virtually by leaders and officials from Brunei, Indonesia, Republic of Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

Australia will host the next Quad summit in 2023.

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