Top Chinese diplomat says Australia’s call for coronavirus inquiry was ‘shocking’

Top Chinese diplomat says Australia’s call for coronavirus inquiry was ‘shocking’

  • Wang Xining tells National Press Club that Australia was ‘supposed to be a good friend of China’

A senior Chinese diplomat has pushed back at claims of rising interference in Australian politics while calling on both countries to take steps to repair the rift in the relationship.

Wang Xining, the deputy head of mission of China’s embassy in Australia, argued diplomatic channels between the two countries remained open but there were “some shadows” over the relationship “so we need to make our position much more clear in order to remove the shadows”.

Addressing the National Press Club in Canberra on Wednesday, Wang revisited one of the major sources of diplomatic tension in recent times, saying China had been offended by Australia’s call for an inquiry into the origins of coronavirus because it came at a time when Wuhan was coming out of restrictive lockdown.

But he refused to say whether he accepted the coronavirus originated in China, saying it should be left to scientists to determine.