Australia has ‘started a war with China’ admits official following meeting with US

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With tensions between the countries at a low point, an Australian senator claimed the relationship was now worse than at any point since Tiananmen Square. Joel Fitzgibbon, the Shadow Minister for Agriculture, also criticised the current Australian government for not attempting to restore relations with the emerging power. Mr Fitzgibbon hit out at the crippling 80 percent tariffs placed on Australian barley growers by China.

He also pointed to the suspension of five red meat processing plants and China’s trade investigation into wine.

Mr Fitzgibbon said: “We are in an economic war with China.

“That is a reality.

“The Australia-China relationship has fallen to a point never seen since Tiananmen Square, probably worse than that point.”

The official also criticised the diplomacy coming from the Australian government.

He also warned against the explosive language used by some officials such as former Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, against the Chinese Communist Party.

He added: “There’s no conciliatory language coming out of this government, in fact the prime minister doubled down last week.

“There is no sign the Australian government is taking this seriously or taking any steps to repair the damage done by it.”

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The comments towards Australia’s approach to China comes as the former held a meeting of the ‘Quad’ countries this week.

Australia, Japan, US and India met on Tuesday to discuss tensions in the Asia-Pacific region.

Marise Payne, Australia’s foreign minister, called on China to revise its South China Sea claims, insisting it clashes with international law.

The group first met in 2007 and is viewed as an attempt to enforce co-operation against China.

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Ms Payne’s US counterpart, Mike Pompeo, also spoke of strengthening ties between the two sides in an effort to bolster strategic cooperation against China.

He said: “Successful meeting with Quad counterparts from Japan, Australia, and India in Tokyo.

“The Quad shares a vision for peace, security, and prosperity in a free and open Indo-Pacific.”

Mr Pompeo also praised the ‘Quad’ for “bringing free peoples together”.

He also accused the Chinese government of corruption and coercion”.

He added: “Our partnership isn’t multilateralism for the sake of it.

“When we met now last year, the landscape was very different, we couldn’t have imagined the pandemic that came from Wuhan.”

China has previously stated its caution over the group due to the worsening ties with the US and Australia.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin has called for the states to participate in peaceful cooperation.

He said: “We hope relevant countries can proceed from the common interests of countries in the region, and do more things that are conducive to regional peace, stability and development, not the other way around.”

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