WASHINGTON – The United States and Australia work together on their criticism of China, taking the country to the task of aggressive behavior throughout the Asia-Pacific and not acting quickly to hold back corona virus.
US and Australian foreign and defense ministers pledged on Tuesday to renew and strengthen the united front against China and what they called the defaming behavior of Beijing across the region and beyond what they said had worsened in recent years.
The two sides – represented by Secretary Mike Pompeo, Defense Minister Mark Esper, Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne and Defense Minister Linda Reynolds – accused China of violating international norms in the South China Sea and promised to uphold freedom of navigation and state government. law and democratic freedom in Hong Kong.
Pompeo said the US and Australia faced a “direct crisis” which must be dealt with simultaneously. That includes COVID-19 and the “ambitions of the Chinese communist party,” specifically “its slandering activities in the Indo-Pacific region and indeed throughout the world.”
Pompeo praised Australia for delaying an extradition treaty with Hong Kong, something the Trump administration is also trying to do when China moves to impose restrictions on dissent in the former British territory. He also criticized China for using pressure to stop Australia from taking such action by targeting exports to the country.
Payne said Australia would work to hold all countries accountable for violating the rule of law and would support allies in combating “the erosion of Chinese freedom in Hong Kong.” “We will step up and ensure that we support our partners,” he said.
Payne added that the US and China would form working groups to combat Chinese disinformation about COVID-19 and other issues.
Payne, Reynolds and their delegation met with Pompeo and Esper at the State Department despite concerns about coronavirus. They will voluntarily carry out their own quarantine when returning to Australia.
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