Furious China lashes out with extreme retaliation after coronavirus investigation demand | World | News

Australia’s foreign minister Marise Payne led calls for an independent inquiry into COVID-19 in late April. The idea has since been supported by Prime Minister Scott Morrison. The World Health Organisation (WTO) was first alerted by China to the coronavirus outbreak in December 2019, however Beijing has been accused of not being transparent with its reporting of the disease – something China denies.

Tensions between China and Australia have soared amid the growing scrutiny and Beijing has responded by imposing crippling financial sanctions on Canberra.

Since May 12, China banned Australian beef and put 80 percent tariffs on Australian barley imports.

China is Australia’s largest trading partner and according to figures released by the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs, trade between the two nations totalled £115billion ($214bn) in 2018.

China’s Commerce Minister Zhong Shan insisted the sanctions on barley were part of an anti-dumping investigation along with the WTO.

Mr Shan said this was the only dispute China has raised against Australia since trade relations were agreed and claimed Canberra had raised around a hundred cases against Beijing.

He said: “Since the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Australia, this case on Australian barley is the only trade remedy investigation launched by China against Australia.

“In the same period, Australia has launched 100 trade remedy investigations on China, including three cases against China in this year.”

China expert Richard McGregor, senior fellow at the Lowy Institute, insists Beijing wants to use Australia as an example to the rest of the world.

He told CNN: “When China wants to punish a country they do it in public so that country and its population clearly knows there’s a price for crossing China.”

Meanwhile Mr McGregor added China needs to consider how far it takes action against Australia given countries around the world are set to review its future relationships with Beijing.

READ MORE: Coronavirus map LIVE: UK hospital death toll up 209 – another low

Economists expected Canberra to borrow about £161bn (A$300) billion to support the economy thought COVID-19.

On Tuesday Prime Minister Scott Morrison called for an ideological truce between employers and workers to revive the country’s economy.

Australia has recorded more than 7,100 COVID-19 infections and 102 deaths – which is relatively low to other developed nations.

Mr Morrison said that with the virus now under control and the government’s £133bn (A$250) stimulus spending package would be wound down to enable the economy to stand on its own feet.

He said: “At some point you’ve got to get your economy out of intensive care.”

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