'REAL THREAT': China's warning after Albanese meets with Biden

·Associate News Editor
·3-min read

It hasn't taken long for Beijing to fire off a warning in the direction of Anthony Albanese after he rushed to join fellow Quad members in Japan hours after being sworn in as prime minister on Monday.

China has been a reoccurring topic of discussion at recent Quad meets with Australia, the US, Japan and India in agreement that more must be done to counter China's increasing influence in the Indo-Pacific.

On Tuesday, China's foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin was pressed on the Quad's China stance, again highlighting Beijing's opposition to the informal alliance and any suggestion China has not adhered to international law with its maritime pursuits.

"We hope certain countries would not see China through tinted glasses and make unwarranted accusations," he said.

"Building small cliques and stoking bloc confrontation is the real threat to a peaceful, stable and cooperative maritime order."

Wang Wenbin was again critical of the Quad on Tuesday. Source: FMPRC
Wang Wenbin was again critical of the Quad on Tuesday. Source: FMPRC

Taiwan could become sticking point for Albanese

It comes hours after Mr Albanese was pressed on whether Australia would join the US in a war against China after US President Joe Biden said he would use military force if China was to physically move to reunify Taiwan.

While Mr Albanese said Australia's position remained the same, he failed to offer a definitive yes or no answer.

"There should be no unilateral change to the status quo. Our position has not changed," he told reporters in Japan.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has his hands full dealing with the relationship with China. Source: Getty
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has his hands full dealing with the relationship with China. Source: Getty

It's a difficult position for Mr Albanese, as while he has already shown he is willing to be critical of and firm with Beijing, he will want to avoid the kind of rhetoric from former Defence Minister Peter Dutton which China – and his new foreign minister – said was unnecessarily hyping up the threat of war.

In contrast, Mr Wang's message on Taiwan was crystal clear.

"I want to remind the US side that no forces, the US included, can hold back the Chinese people’s endeavour to reunify the nation," he said.

                      

China has offered somewhat of an olive branch to Mr Albanese, stressing it is open to repair a badly-damaged relationship which drastically soured under the Morrison government.

Mr Wang was further pressed on Mr Albanese's commitment to the Quad, to which he declined to comment.

"At the moment I don’t have anything else to add," he said, referencing his comments 24 hours earlier congratulating Mr Albanese on his election victory.

On Wednesday, Treasurer Jim Chalmers appeared to suggest Mr Dutton's rhetoric had contributed to the Coalition's election defeat, stressing the Albanese government's goal is peace in the region.

"The China relationship is a complex one that's becoming more so because of China's actions," he said.

"China has become more aggressive and more assertive and our responsibility as the incoming Government is to manage that complex relationship in a considered and sober fashion."

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