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Tensions between China and Australia have rocketed after Canberra accused Beijing of spreading disinformation during the pandemic. Last month, China imposed tariffs on Australian imports as retaliation against the the country calling for an investigation into the origins of coronavirus. Conservative MP Tobias Ellwood spoke to talkRADIO about why these events had highlighted the need for western states to “wake up” to the reality of Beijing.
Mr Ellwood agreed China’s handling of the coronavirus crisis, and its behaviour throughout, has been “at best, reprehensible”.
He said: “There are big questions as to the genesis of this. How did this all start?
“Who was patient zero? What happened in Wuhan? Why won’t they allow us in to see?
“I think many people are re-calibrating their view of China.”
The MP continued: “They’ve had an amazing growth, there’s no doubt about it, but we wanted them to mature into a global citizen.
“To be a recognised superpower that actually appreciates, understands and supports our international rule-based order.
“Instead, they’re actually using it against us to promote their own set of rules and their own support base.
“It is really really worrying where this is going.”
Mr Ellwood added: “We need to wake up as to where this could potentially head.
“We are sliding ourselves towards a bipolar world, where you get to choose whether or not you side with China or whether you side with the West.”
There has been no suggestion that China will do anything to learn from the row as they branded the calls for an inquiry “politically motivated” and accused Australian media of spreading “rumours, lies and malicious slanders” of a cyber attack.
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Mr Ellwood told talkRADIO: “It is a really worrying trend. Much is happening under the fog of COVID-19.
“It’s been a massive distraction, we know how its occupied all of us from a very local, personal perspective, but also national as well. Stuff happens when that takes place.
“What we’re seeing now is waking up to China that’s been so active.
“We saw it in Hong Kong with its interest there, I’m sure we’ll see it soon with Taiwan as well.
“Now we’re it, not just with tariffs against Australia, but also what’s happening with India as well.”
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