Don’t be hasty to judge China, MPs warned

TRADE Minister Simon Birmingham has warned his colleagues against outbursts attacking China as tensions rise with Australia's largest trading partner.

Queensland sent $26 billion worth of exports to China last year, leaving its hugely exposed to any conflict with the world superpower.

Global tensions with China have been increasing, and even reflected locally with protests at the University of Queensland over its involvement in Hong Kong turning violent.

Following comments from Parliament's security and intelligence committee chairman Andrew Hastie this week, comparing China's rise the that of Nazi Germany, Senator Birmingham warned his colleagues against "unhelpful" public comments.

He told his colleagues to think before speaking on China.

"Is the making of those comments in a public way necessary? And is it helpful to Australia's national interest?" he said.

 

Simon Birmingham
Simon Birmingham

 

 

Andrew Hastie
Andrew Hastie

 

 

 

"The trade figures are as strong as they've ever been. And we want to continue to work hard

to build that relationship as a pillar that can also influence other aspects of the relationship."

Labor deputy leader and Opposition defence spokesman Richard Marles also criticised Mr Hastie's "incendiary" comments.

"There isn't a Cold War going on here. China is not the Soviet Union," he said.

The Chinese embassy in Australia on Friday accused Mr Hastie of a "Cold War mentality and ideological bias".

While several senior Ministers have slapped down Mr Hastie, he as backed by Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton who said there was "no point pretending there's nothing to see here".

Opposition leader Anthony Albanese said the government was "all over the shop" and divided on its position on China.