Scott Morrison insists Australia will stand its ground amid growing tension with China over the coronavirus pandemic.
The Prime Minister has declared China must respect Australia’s values and national interests as the crisis places heavy strain on diplomatic relations.
Australia’s calls for a global inquiry into the origins of the coronavirus have infuriated the Chinese government, which has suspended beef imports from four abattoirs and threatened to slap huge tariffs on Australian barley.
Chinese media has warned that Australian exports could be next in line, including coal and iron ore.
The sectors have helped drive monthly trade surpluses and cushioned the impact of the coronavirus on the Australian economy.
Former Prime Minister Julia Gillard has also backed calls for an investigation into the origins of the pandemic but says it should not be about pointing fingers.
Mr Morrison said his push for an independent inquiry was “completely unremarkable” and Australia would stand its ground.
“We draw very clear lines about things that are very important to us, as does the Chinese government,” he told reporters in Canberra on Friday.
“We respect their lines, as we expect our lines to be respected, whether it’s on our foreign investment rules, or our rules around technology, our rules regarding human rights and things of that nature.
“I don’t think any Australian would want us to compromise on those important things, and those things are not to be traded, ever.”
Mr Morrison’s remarks come amid rising tension with China, as Australia continues to push for an inquiry into the coronavirus pandemic.