Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian has argued that this suspension of imports is not related to the dispute they had with Australia following the latter’s call for an independent investigation into the causes of the coronavirus.

At the end of April, the Chinese Ambassador to Australia, Cheng Jingye, threatened to boycott the consumption of Australian products after Canberra insisted on such an investigation.

“Chinese society is frustrated and disappointed by what Australia is doing,” Jingye said at the time. But she went one step further: “If it gets worse, people will wonder whether it’s worth going to a country that’s not as friendly to China as it seems; tourists might think twice.

In an interview with the Australian Financial Review, he stressed that this measure only depends on the people. “They may wonder why they should drink Australian wine or eat its meat,” he said.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison was quick to echo these words and support an independent, international investigation into the birth of the coronavirus in China and its health response.

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