Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has stated that he won't give in to pressure from China and won't make amendments in order to restore the country's ties with its Asian neighbour and one of the biggest foreign contributors to the Australian economy.
"We are an open-trading nation, mate, but I’m never going to trade our values in response to coercion from wherever it comes", Morrison said in an interview for 2GB radio.
His comment comes in the wake of the continuing deterioration of ties between the two states. In light of Canberra's calls to probe China over the origins and spreading of the coronavirus, Beijing urged its residents to reconsider sending their children to study in Australia and visiting the country as tourists thus hitting two major markets for the country. Chinese authorities warned citizens they might face racist attacks in Australia over the coronavirus pandemic.
Morrison branded the motivation for the call "rubbish" and "ridiculous", arguing that Chinese students and tourists have nothing to fear.
In a separate economic measure, China banned Australian beef and imposed hefty tariffs on its barley exports, accusing Canberra of subsidising its farmers in violation of World Trade Organisation regulations. Australia denies Beijing's accusations and vows to challenge them. China so far remains one of Australia's key foreign trade partners, but its government recently promised to find new markets for its goods, without directly addressing current disagreements with Beijing.