Home Politics How Penny Wong hopes to repair relations with China as she secures top role in Albanese government 

How Penny Wong hopes to repair relations with China as she secures top role in Albanese government 

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How Penny Wong hopes to repair relations with China as she secures top role in Albanese government 

2019: Australian intelligence services conclude that China was responsible for a cyberattack on Australia’s parliament and three major political parties in the run-up to the May election.

April 2020: Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison begins sounding out fellow world leaders to investigate the origins of the coronavirus pandemic. Britain and France are initially reluctant, but more than 100 countries eventually back an investigation.

April 15: Morrison is one of the few leaders to express sympathy for Donald Trump’s criticism of the World Health Organization, which the US president accuses of bias towards China.

April, the 21st: China’s embassy accuses Australian Foreign Minister Peter Dutton of “ignorance and intolerance” and “parroting what those Americans have stated” after calling on China to be more transparent about the outbreak.

April 23rd: Australia’s agriculture minister David Littleproud calls on G20 nations to campaign against “wet markets” that are common in China and linked to early coronavirus cases.

April 26: Chinese ambassador Cheng Jingye hints at a boycott of Australian wine and beef, saying tourists and students could avoid Australia “as long as it’s not so China-friendly.” Canberra dismisses threat and warns Beijing against “economic coercion”.

May 11: China suspends beef imports from four of Australia’s largest meat processors. These account for more than a third of Australia’s $1.1 billion beef exports to China.

May 18: The World Health Organization backs a partial investigation into the pandemic, but China says it’s a “joke” for Australia to take credit. On the same day, China imposes an 80 percent tariff on Australian barley. Australia says it could challenge this at the WTO.

May 21th: China announces new rules for iron ore imports that could allow Australian imports, usually worth $41 billion a year, to be subject to additional bureaucratic checks.

5th June: Beijing warns tourists not to travel to Australia, alleging racism and violence against Chinese people in relation to Covid-19.

June 9: China’s Ministry of Education warns students to think carefully before studying in Australia, similarly citing alleged racist incidents.

19th of June: Australia says it is under a cyber attack from a foreign state believed to be China, according to government sources. The attack has targeted industry, schools, hospitals and government officials, Morrison says.

July 9th: Australia suspends extradition treaty with Hong Kong and offers to extend visas for 10,000 Hong Kongers already in Australia due to China’s national security law that effectively bans protests.

August 18th: China launches 12-month anti-dumping investigation into wines imported from Australia in a major threat to a $6 billion industry.

26 of August: Prime Minister Scott Morrison announces he will legislate to prevent states and territories from signing agreements with foreign powers that go against Australia’s foreign policy. Analysts said he is targeting China.

October 13: Trade Minister Simon Birmingham says he is investigating reports that Chinese customs officials have informally told state steelmakers and power plants to stop using Australian coal, leaving it on ships offshore.

November 2: Agriculture Minister David Littleproud reveals China is curbing imports of Australian lobster by testing for minerals.

November 3: Imports of barley, sugar, red wine, logs, coal, lobster and copper from Australia are reportedly unofficially banned under a government directive.

November 18th: China publishes a strange file of 14 complaints with Australia.

November 27: Australian coal exports to China fell 96 per cent in the first three weeks of November, as 82 ships loaded with 8.8 million tonnes of coal were left floating outside Chinese ports where they were denied entry.

November 28: Beijing imposed a 212 percent tariff on $1.2 billion worth of Australian wine exports, claiming they were being “dumped” or sold below cost. Both Australia and the Chinese importers deny the claim.

November 30: Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lijian Zhao posted a doctored image showing a smiling Australian soldier holding a knife to the throat of an Afghan child. The move outraged Australians.

December 12th: Australian coal is added to a Chinese blacklist.

Dec. 24: China is suspending imports of Australian timber from New South Wales and WA after local customs officials said they found pests in the shipment.

January 11, 2021: Australia blocks a $300 million construction deal that would have seen the state-owned China State Construction Engineering Corporation take over Probuild. The candidacy was rejected due to national security concerns.

February 5, 2021: China confirms that Melbourne journalist and single mother Cheng Lei has been formally arrested after being detained in August 2020.

February 23, 2021: In an editorial, China accuses Australia of being on an “axis of white supremacy” with the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada and New Zealand.

March 11, 2021: Australia is accused of genocide by the editor of a Communist Party newspaper.

March 15, 2021: Trade Minister Dan Tehan announced that he wants the World Trade Organization to help mediate discussions between the two countries over the trade dispute.

April 21, 2021: Foreign Minister Marise Payne announces that Australia has scrapped Victoria’s controversial Belt and Road deal with China using new veto powers.

May 6, 2021: China indefinitely suspends all strategic economic talks with Australia, blaming the Morrison Government’s attitude towards the relationship. The move cuts off all diplomatic contact with Beijing under the China-Australia Strategic Economic Dialogue, freezing discussions between key officials below ministerial level.

June 22, 2021: China tries to ‘ambush’ Australia with attempt to officially declare Great Barrier Reef ‘in danger’

September 15, 2021: Australia, the UK and the US announce the AUKUS security pact that will equip Australian military submarines with nuclear propulsion to counter China’s growing aggression in the Indo-Pacific. The move was met with fury in Beijing.

March 24, 2022: Details emerge of a Memorandum of Understanding that could allow Beijing to station warships in the Solomon Islands, just 1,000 miles off the coast of Australia. Canberra warns that it is “concerned about any action that destabilizes the security of our region.”

April 25, 2022: Defense Minister Peter Dutton warns on Anzac Day that the resurgence of Russia and China means Australia must be on a war footing. “The only way to preserve peace is to prepare for war and be strong as a country,” he said. “We are in a period very similar to the 1930s.”

April 27, 2022: Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrew says China is likely to send troops to the Solomon Islands and was using the dispute to derail Australia’s federal election. She said Beijing was “clearly very aware that we are in a federal election campaign right now.”

May 13, 2022: Defense Minister Peter Dutton announces the Australian military is tracking a Chinese spy ship 250 nautical miles northwest of Broome in WA, near the Harold E Holt Naval Communications Station. The sighting was largely dismissed as a pre-election stunt.

June 5, 2022: Chinese fighter jet intercepts Australian spy plane in ‘dangerous maneuver’ on May 26, details revealed weeks later.

November 14, 2022: Chinese President Xi Jinping agrees to meet Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Bali.

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