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China tells Australia: You’re wrong on trade

Speaking in public after that meeting, Mr Wang said the Chinese government would not bow to threats on trade, Reuters reported.

Mr Wang put his views to an event held by the National Committee on US-China Relations and the US China Business Council, where he said the US should not try to force China to change its development model.

“Negotiation cannot take place under threat or at the expense of China’s legitimate right to development,” he said.

Mr Wang said China remained a developing country still far behind the United States and would not play “Game of Thrones on the world stage” with the US.

“For now and for the foreseeable future, the United States is and will still be the strongest country in the world,” he said.

Amid Chinese anxiety, Mr Morrison moved to contain the blowback over his declaration by rejecting the idea that Australia had to choose between the United States and China.

“The United States is our great ally, China is our comprehensive strategic partner,” he said.

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“We continue to maintain that this isn’t a matter of choosing, it is a matter of working closely with both nations in the spirit of both of those histories and those relationships.

“I’ve been saying for some time now that I reject the binary narrative that keeps being thrust towards me on this.

“I don’t buy it and I don’t support it and I’m not going to make decisions based on it. I think it is a very narrowcast analysis.”

In another test of the relationship between the two countries, Australia is reportedly joining a “quadrilateral” meeting at the UN between the foreign ministers of four democratic nations in the Indo-Pacific.

Senator Payne is expected to join the meeting with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and the foreign ministers of India and Japan, triggering complaints from China that it is being excluded.

Australia is reportedly joining a Quadrilateral Security Dialogue with the three other nations – all democracies in the Indo-Pacific – on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, according to The Times of India.

While it is said to be an informal dialogue, it has been strongly opposed by China in the past and was dropped under pressure in 2008. The meeting this week would be the first held at ministerial level.

An Australian statement issued after Senator Payne met Mr Wang said the two foreign ministers discussed trade and investment as well as human rights.

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Senator Payne said Australia’s relationship with China was underpinned by their Comprehensive Strategic Partnership and the free trade agreement struck five years ago.

“I held a constructive meeting with my counterpart, State Councillor Wang Yi, where we had the opportunity to discuss a range of matters in our relationship, including trade and investment, human rights and consular issues,” she said.

The event was draped in the Australian and US flags rather than election campaign material but was dominated by Trump supporters.

Mr Morrison dismissed the Labor complaints.

“They change their position in a desperate search for relevance on a day to day basis – I would urge them to take a more mature reading of these things,” he said.

Confirming the common ground between the US and Australia, Mr Trump also questioned China’s status as a developing nation.

An earlier version of this story said Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told Foreign Minister Marise Payne directly of Chinese concern about Australia’s statement China should be treated as a developed nation. The Australian government states Mr Wang did not comment in the meeting about the question of China’s status as a developed or developing country. Mr Wang has made public comments on the matter in defence of China’s position that it is a developing country.

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