China-Australia relations: Beijing hits back after US ‘baseless comments’ backing Canberra in trade dispute
- US Trade Representative Katherine Tai met with Australian counterpart Dan Tehan in Washington on Wednesday
- Trade tensions between Australia and China worsened since Canberra called for an international inquiry into the origins of the coronavirus
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.
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”.
The Chinese embassy in Washington, DC, did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.
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”.
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.