Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson's Remarks

Reuters: Australia's Victoria state said China has banned the import of Australian timber after they found pests in Australian timber. Some in Australia have speculated that it is no coincidence that China found pests in Australian timber imports at this particular moment of deteriorating relations with China and China's restrictions on imports from Australia. What is China's comment?

Wang Wenbin: After detecting pests in Australian timber, relevant Chinese authorities have suspended timber import from Queensland since October 31, 2020. But recently, Chinese customs found pests on timber imported from the state of Victoria. These pests, once introduced, will pose a serious threat to China's agriculture and forestry as well as ecological security. In order to stem risk at the source and in accordance with relevant Chinese laws and regulations and international standards, the General Administration of Customs of China (GACC) has decided to suspend the import of timber from the state of Victoria from November 11, 2020.

The GACC has informed the competent authorities of the Australian side of the above situation and required the Australian side to improve the plant quarantine management system for timber exported to China. The measures taken by the GACC are normal bio-security precautions, which are science-based and reasonable and in line with relevant Chinese laws and regulations and international practices.

I also want to tell you that the relevant measures taken by the competent Chinese authorities against products exported to China are in line with Chinese laws and regulations and international practices. They are what must be done to protect China's domestic industries and consumers. At the same time, I would like to stress once again that a healthy and stable China-Australia relationship serves the fundamental interests of the two peoples. Mutual respect is the basis and guarantee for practical cooperation among countries. We hope that the Australian side will match its words with deeds, do more to enhance mutual trust and cooperation, and follow the spirit of the China-Australia comprehensive strategic partnership so as to create favorable conditions and atmosphere for practical cooperation between the two sides.


Bloomberg: Further to your answer about Australia. You said that Australia should do more to improve relations with China and the relationship should be based on mutual respect. What are the actions you are looking for from Australia that are necessary to improve relations?

Wang Wenbin: China's position on developing China-Australia relations is consistent and clear. The reason why China-Australia relations are in a difficult situation is very clear. Over a period of time, the Australian side has repeatedly spoken and acted out of turn on issues concerning China's core interests like Hong Kong, Xinjiang and Taiwan and grossly interfered in China's internal affairs in blatant violation of the basic norms governing international relations, In the absence of any evidence, some people in Australia slandered and accused China of engaging in so-called "intervention and infiltration activities" in Australia, and they sought to politicize, stigmatize and create barriers for normal exchanges and cooperation between China and Australia. These practices have seriously damaged the mutual trust between the two countries, poisoned the atmosphere of bilateral relations, and clipped the developing momentum of China-Australia relations.

Let him who tied the bell on the tiger take it off. One's fault should be amended by oneself. In order to get out of the predicament, the key lies in Australia facing squarely the crux of the current setback, looking at China and China's development objectively and rationally, handling bilateral relations in accordance with the principles of mutual respect and equal treatment, and doing more things conducive to enhancing mutual trust and promoting pragmatic cooperation between the two countries.

Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in the Commonwealth of Australia
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