China slams ‘petty’ AUSMIN statement from Australia, US

The Chinese embassy in Australia has issued a furious response to the joint Australia-US AUSMIN statement after talks were held in the US overnight.

Defence Minister Peter Dutton and Foreign Minister Marise Payne met with their US counterparts just hours after the unveiling of the AUKUS agreement between Australia, the US, and the UK.

The AUSMIN joint statement addressed a range of issues, from COVID-19 to climate change, but there were several criticisms of the Chinese government published as well.

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"Concern" was expressed over China's territorial claims in the South China Sea, over the repression of Uighurs, and the erosion of democratic rights in Hong Kong.

"The Secretaries and Ministers conveyed ongoing concern regarding the People's Republic of China's (PRC) expansive maritime claims in the South China Sea that are without legal basis, called on the PRC to implement relevant domestic legislation, including the Maritime Traffic Safety Law, in a manner consistent with UNCLOS, and reiterated that the 2016 Arbitral Award is final and legally binding on the parties," the statement read.

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"The principals reiterated their strong opposition to the militarisation of disputed features and other destabilising actions, including the dangerous use of coast guard and maritime militia, and efforts to disrupt other countries' offshore resource exploitation activities."

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Australia and the US also confirmed a commitment to supporting Taiwan.

"The United States and Australia reiterated continued support for a peaceful resolution of cross-Strait issues without resorting to threats or coercion," the statement read.

The Chinese embassy responded today, calling the concerns "unfounded" and "erroneous".

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"Those assertions, in disregard of basic facts, violated international law and basic norms governing international relations and grossly interfered in China's affairs," the embassy said in a statement.

"This petty move to put pressure on China will be of no avail but a staged farce.

"We urge the Australian side to abandon the outdated Cold War zero-sum mentality and narrow-minded geopolitical perception, handle its relationship with China in a genuinely independent manner, stop sliding further down on the road of harming China-Australia relations, and do more to enhance mutual trust and promote pragmatic cooperation."

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