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PM rejects Chinese envoy ‘no threat’ claim

PM China
Scott Morrison says he doesn't want to give any amplification for the views of China's government. Photo: AAP
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Scott Morrison has rejected a claim by China’s ambassador that Beijing’s cooperation with Pacific island nations is not a threat to Australia.

Ambassador Xiao Qian told the Australian Financial Review the two nations had common interests that should outweigh their differences.

The prime minister said China’s “interference” in the Pacific was of “great consequence”.

“I don’t want to give any amplification for the views of the Chinese government,” he told reporters while campaigning in Launceston on Thursday.

“I support Australia’s national interests, not the Chinese government’s view of what national interests are, whether it be in Australia or across the Pacific.”

The ambassador said while there would inevitably be some different positions and views between China and Australia, the two countries “should uphold the principle of mutual respect, treat each other objectively and fairly, respect each other’s history, culture, philosophy, systems and development path”.

“China’s growing power should not be seen as a threat by Australia,” Ambassador Xiao wrote.

“A big and powerful country that pursues a friendly policy can definitely become a friendly and powerful partner. While growing and growing, China has always been committed to conducting friendly cooperation with countries around the world, including Australia.”

Cooperation with the South Pacific was about “regional prosperity and stability”.

“(It) will by no means threaten Australia’s security.”

– AAP