China said on Thursday that the United States should correct its mistakes instead of making baseless comments, after US Trade Representative Katherine Tai (USTR) backed Australia in trade disputes with China. US comments are wrong, and the tensions in China and Australia relations are caused by Australia’s interference in Chinese internal affairs, foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told a regular news briefing. The United States is “closely monitoring” trade tensions between Australia and China and will support Canberra in addressing China’s state-led, non-market practices, Tai told her Australian counterpart on Wednesday. The USTR said in a statement following Tai’s meeting with Australian trade minister Dan Tehan that the two ministers agreed to continue working to develop a digital trade policy that addresses the needs of workers and recognises “the importance of collaboration among those with open, free, democratic systems”. Great first meeting in DC w/ @USTradeRep @AmbassadorTai . We shared perspectives on digital trade in the Indo-Pacific, perspectives on responding to trade challenges from non-market economies, supply chains and on strengthening bilateral trade. pic.twitter.com/xyfVrcDf6I — Dan Tehan (@DanTehanWannon) July 21, 2021 The Chinese embassy in Washington, DC, did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment. Trade tensions between Australia and China, already rocky after Australia banned Chinese telecoms giant Huawei Technologies Co. from its 5G wireless network in 2018, worsened since Canberra called for an international inquiry into the origins of the coronavirus, which was first reported in central China last year. China, Australia’s largest trading partner, responded by imposing tariffs on Australian wine and barley and limited imports of Australian beef, coal and grapes – moves described by the United States as “economic coercion.” Australia in June challenged the wine duties at the World Trade Organization. In May, China’s foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said China “has always held that healthy and stable China-Australia relations are in the fundamental interests of both countries”. Great to meet @DanTehanWannon to discuss continued cooperation to address China’s unfair, non-market, and anti-democratic practices that harm our workers, businesses, and citizens. We also discussed the strong U.S.-Australian trade relationship and Indo-Pacific engagement. pic.twitter.com/fBiEtZKliy — Ambassador Katherine Tai (@AmbassadorTai) July 21, 2021 But Zhao added that the responsibility for the decline in relations between the two countries was not “not at all China’s” and that Australia should treat China with “objectivity” and “rationality”. USTR said Tai “conveyed that the United States stands with Australia to tackle this shared challenge and supports rules-based international trade to promote fair, market-oriented trade practices”. She also told Tehan that the US was committed to engaging with allies, including Australia, to address China’s policies that harm American and Australian workers, businesses, and citizens. The two ministers pledged to continue senior-level discussions on “economic coercion,” the USTR said.