Dutton shrugs off ‘comical’ China warning

Date: 2021-11-18 23:30:23

Defence Minister Peter Dutton has shrugged off as “comical” China’s warning Australia must refrain from doing anything “destructive” to the countries’ relationship.

Mr Dutton labelled the comments from China’s acting ambassador to Australia, Wang Xining, “so silly it’s funny”.

The diplomat called Australia the “naughty guy” in an interview with Guardian Australia about the AUKUS pact with the United States and United Kingdom.

He accused Australia of being a “sabre wielder” and warned it against “doing anything that’s destructive to our relationship”.

Mr Dutton said the acting ambassador was reading off a Communist Party script.

“We don’t see (this) from any other ambassador here in Australia. It’s quite remarkable,” the minister told the Nine Network on Friday.

“This provocative sort of comical statements – really, it’s so silly it’s funny.

“Most Australians see through the non-productive nature of the comments and they should be dismissed in that vein.”

The comments followed Mr Dutton saying it was inconceivable Australia would not support the United States in defending Taiwan against China.

Former prime minister Paul Keating previously labelled Australia foolish for seeking a nuclear-powered submarine deal to contain Chinese military efforts.

He said Taiwan was not a vital Australian interest.

Australian coal, barely, beef, lobster, timber and wine imports have been caught up in the deteriorating relationship with China, which has been further inflamed by the AUKUS deal.

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