South China Sea dispute: Australia a country of ‘inglorious history’ says Chinese media outlet after Canberra statement
A nationalist media outlet in China has lambasted Australia as a “country with an inglorious history” that doesn’t rate being called a “paper tiger” following Canberra’s decision to support an international tribunal that ruled against Beijing’s territorial claims.
“Australia is not even a ‘paper tiger,’ it’s only a ‘paper cat’ at best,” the Global Times said in an opinion piece published on Saturday.
“At a time when its former caretaker country the UK is dedicated to developing relations with China…Australia has unexpectedly made itself a pioneer of hurting China’s interest with a fiercer attitude than countries directly involved in the South China Sea dispute.”
“But this paper cat won’t last.”
The editorial follows Australia’s decision to issue a statement, in coordination with the US and Japan, in support of an international tribunal that rejected China’s ambitious claim to the South China Sea.
“The ministers expressed their strong support for the rule of law and called on China and the Philippines to abide by the Arbitral Tribunal’s Award of July 12 in the Philippines-China arbitration, which is final and legally binding on both parties,” the statement said on earlier this week.
A worker of a restaurant bar puts up a banner which partly reads: “South China Sea is China’s territory” in Beijing Wednesday,. Photo: AP
Foreign minister Julie Bishop, issued the statement with US Secretary John Kerry and Japan’s Foreign minister Fumio Kishida after an Association of Southeast Asian Nations meeting in Laos issued a weaker statement.
The opinion piece describes Australia as “a unique country with an inglorious history.”
Sunset over the South Chinese Sea from a boat heading towards Scarborough Shoals from Subic Bay, Philippines. Photo: New York Times
“It was at first an offshore prison of the UK and then became its colony, a source of raw materials, overseas market and land of investment.
“This country was established through uncivilised means, in a process filled with the tears of the aboriginals.”
A Chinese H-6K bomber patrols the islands and reefs in the South China Sea. Photo: Xinhua/AP
The English-language editorial also takes issue with Australia’s “disputes” with other countries over its 5.9 million square metre claim over Antarctica. The Global Times editorial also says Australia “lauds Sino-Australian relations when China’s economic support is needed, but when it needs to please Washington, it demonstrates willingness of doing anything in a show of allegiance.”
Global Times is owned by the People’s Daily, which is owned by the Chinese Communist Party.
A Chinese missile frigate Yuncheng launches an anti-ship missile during a military exercise in the waters near south China’s Hainan Island. Photo: AP
In mid-July, the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague ruled China has no claim to large tracts of the South China Sea and Beijing has violated the Philippines’ sovereignty with artificial island building.
The South China Sea, where $US5 trillion ($7 trillion) in trade passes each year, has been the home of competing claims for decades. China’s rise has seen that country undertake an aggressive campaign to build up artificial islands and reefs in order to bolster its claim.
The US has recently begun freedom of navigation patrols through the air to demonstrate that China’s claim, which includes the major part of the sea, is not recognised by the international community.
China and Russia announced plans this week to conduct naval exercises in the South China Sea in September, in a move expected to increase tension. China and Russia are strategic partners in a number of areas.