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Tensions between Australia and China remain

08 June 2020

Australia says that China is unresponsive to its efforts to reduce tensions between the countries.

According to reporting in Reuters, Australia says the China remains unresponsive to its weeks-long pleas to ease tensions between the two trading partners. The spat began after Canberra called for an international enquiry into the origins of the coronavirus pandemic.

Australia maintains that the call for an independent investigation into the pandemic, which many believe likely originated in a wildlife market in the Chinese city of Wuhan, was not politically targeted at Beijing.

China accused Australia of playing "petty tricks" and the Chinese ambassador to Australia warned Chinese consumers could boycott Australian products if Australia pursued the inquiry.

China has also since suspended beef imports from four of Australia's largest meat processors and imposed hefty tariffs on imports of barley, although both sides say those moves are unrelated to the spat over the pandemic.

Australian Trade Minister Simon Birmingham, who has been requesting discussions with his Chinese counterpart for weeks, said Beijing has been ignoring Canberra's pleas.

"Unfortunately, our requests for a discussion have so far been met negatively," Birmingham told Australian Broadcasting Corp (ABC) radio on Monday. "That's disappointing."

China is by far Australia's biggest export market, taking more than 30 percent of Australia's exports by value.

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