CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Australian Foreign Minister Petunia Wong called on Monday to de-escalate tensions after Beijing accused her of “pointing fingers” in response to U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s criticism of China’s military exercises during a visit to Taiwan.
Huang criticized China for launching ballistic missiles during ongoing air and sea exercises around Taiwan, which Beijing claims is part of its territory. She also signed a joint statement with the United States and Japan on Saturday, condemning the launch of missiles into Japan’s exclusive economic zone and accusing China of “increasing tensions and destabilizing the region.”
The Chinese embassy in Australia responded to the three-party statement, saying: “It is absolutely unacceptable to accuse China of legitimate actions of safeguarding national sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
The embassy accused Australia of taking orders from the United States, which China said was “the biggest destroyer and destroyer of peace in the Taiwan Strait and the biggest troublemaker for regional stability”.
“We… hope that the Australian side will treat the Taiwan issue with caution, not follow the strategy of certain countries to encircle China with Taiwan, and not create new troubles and troubles in China-Australia relations,” the embassy statement said. .
Huang declined to comment on the state of China-Australia relations after Pelosi’s visit last week. Beijing has signaled a possible recalibration of relations between the two countries following the election of a new government in Australia in May. During the nine years that the previous government was in power, relations between the two countries entered new depths.
“The most important thing at the moment is to cool down the tension between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait and restore calm,” Huang told reporters.
“Australia continues to urge restraint, Australia continues to urge de-escalation, this is not something Australia is calling for alone, the whole region is watching the current situation, the whole region is calling for a return to stability,” Wang added.
Huang’s call for restraint was backed by Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Linkevich, who was in the Australian capital Canberra for the opening of the new embassy.
Rinkevics compared China’s military confidence in Taiwan to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
“It’s very important to understand that China is also watching very carefully what’s going on in Europe, what’s going on in Ukraine,” he said. “It’s very important that we work together, and we’re giving the same message that we need to exercise restraint, not overreact to their actions, and not create another regional and global hotspot.”
Latvia wants Russia to declare its support for terrorism and urges other countries to follow Latvia’s lead by denying all Russians any type of visa.