China offended by Australian chatter but hungry for iron ore
Despite the war of words between the Australian Government and China, exemplified by the recent break down in the Belt and Road trade deal in Victoria, figures reveal Australia exported more than 70% of its iron ore to China in the last month.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Scott Morrison responded to questions on Darwin radio on Thursday about the Port of Darwin deal in 2015 with a Chinese state-owned corporation. Mr Morrison said he hasn't received any advice that a Chinese company's 99-year lease of the Port of Darwin is against Australia's interests - in other words, attracting similar veto interest to that applied to the Victorian Belt-and-Road deal.
The Northern Territory government awarded a lease to Landbridge in 2015, sparking national security concerns about the port's strategic importance.
Mr Morrison said he would act if advice changed about the deal's implications for Australia's national interest:
" That is not something that has been presented to me or suggested to me."
Mr Morrison said the Port of Darwin was the name for a section of the area, rather than the entire port:
"Military and defence capabilities are not compromised by that, but I understand the perception here.
"What has to determine our decisions has to be the national interest.
“It has to be based on proper advice from defence, security and intelligence agencies.
"We scan the horizon and we understand what Australia's national interests are, and then we equip our forces accordingly."
A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman recently labelled Home Affairs boss Mike Pezzullo a troublemaker after he warned "the drums of war are beating" and raised the prospect of armed conflict with China.
Foreign Ministry spokesman, Zhao Lijian, labelled Mr Pezzullo's remarks extremely irresponsible:
"Some individual politicians in Australia, out of their selfish interests, are keen to make statements that incite confrontation and hype up threat of war, which is extremely irresponsible.
"These people are the real troublemakers."
Australian Defence Minister, Peter Dutton, recently said that armed conflict between China and Taiwan could not be discounted.
Treasurer Josh Frydenber also said recently that Australia's focus was on maintaining peace but the defence force needed to be well resourced.
The relationship between the two nations has crumbled recently, in part sparked by Australia's early call for an inquiry into the origins of coronavirus and voicing concerns about human rights abuses in the Xinjiang province directed at the Uighur people.
China has since launched multiple trade strikes on Australian commodities as tensions continue to increase between the two nations.
According to the latest Australian Bureau of Statistics data $10 billion of the $14 billion worth of Australian iron ore exports went to China in the month of March alone.
China has imposed tariffs on Australian barley, wine and coal effectively halting trade in those commodities between the countries.
China's hunger for Australian wool and iron ore nonetheless continues unabated.
Australia's high-grade iron ore assists with China's rapid construction boom in housing, offices, bridges, but also for growing China's arsenal of warships, guns and missiles.