Scott Morrison ‘confident’ Australia can avoid conflict with China as diplomatic tensions grow

Anthony PiovesanNCA NewsWire
Prime Minister Scott Morrison holds talks with US President Joe Biden. Adam Taylor
Camera IconPrime Minister Scott Morrison holds talks with US President Joe Biden. Adam Taylor Credit: Supplied

Scott Morrison says he is confident Australia can avoid conflict with China as tensions grow between Australia and Beijing.

Following talks with US President Joe Biden, the Australian Prime Minister spoke from New York on Wednesday morning and said they had discussed diplomatic tensions with China.

“I am confident that we can avoid the conflict that we all want to avoid,” he told reporters.

“I believe that includes not only Australia and the many countries in our region, and our friends across ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations), but I believe it extends to our partners in the QUAD, Japan and India … and no doubt China.”

Prime Minister Scott Morrison holds talks with US President Joe Biden. Adam Taylor
Camera IconPrime Minister Scott Morrison holds talks with US President Joe Biden. Adam Taylor Credit: Supplied

Relations between Australia and China have spiralled in the past year, with both countries lodging complaints against the other with the World Trade Organisation.

A freeze on high-level diplomatic relations remains in place after China slapped taxes on key Australian exports.

The dispute took a nasty turn late last year when a spokesman for the Chinese government tweeted a doctored image of an Australian soldier holding a knife to the throat of an Afghan child.

Mr Morrison assured the Australian public that the US remained a close ally.

“The president (Mr Biden) has a deep understanding of the Indo-Pacific – a very deep understanding,” he said.

“He’s been around this space for a very long time and he knows it intimately. that’s a great assurance to our partnership that he understands these issues at this level and we are joined in this objective of peace.

“We’re joined in this objective of doing all we can to ensure that the stability that we can provide will deliver the peace that is necessary.”

Mr Morrison landed in New York on Tuesday for key security discussions with the US President Joe Biden.

He immediately got on the front foot over the contentious nuclear-powered submarine decision.

He told reporters at the tarmac at John F. Kennedy International Airport that he was adamant dropping the French submarine deal was the right thing to do for Australia, despite the diplomatic fallout with France and potentially Europe.

“It was always going to be a difficult decision,” Mr Morrison said.

The Prime Minister will this week participate in a series of meetings in the first face-to-face Quad leaders’ summit.

Originally published as Scott Morrison ‘confident’ Australia can avoid conflict with China as diplomatic tensions grow

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