Tue, 09 Mar 2021

Beijing [China], February 6 (ANI): Amid deteriorating relations between Canberra and Beijing, China has issued a fresh warning to Chinese students in Australia due to the recent anti-Chinese attacks in the country and COVID-19 pandemic.

In an announcement on Friday, the Chinese Ministry of Education warned Chinese students to make a full risk assessment and consider carefully whether to go or return to Australia to study, Chinese state media Global Times reported.

It noted that a "series of vicious attacks on Chinese students that have happened recently in multiple places in Australia have posed a serious threat to their personal safety". The raging pandemic also makes international travel risky.

This comes amid heightened tensions between Beijing and Canberra.

Sino-Australian relations have been in a downward spiral since April last year, when Canberra infuriated Beijing by proposing an independent international inquiry into the origins of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Beijing has, in recent months, slapped several restrictions amounting to billions of dollars of Australian exports, including beef, barley and wine, citing dumping and other trade violations that analysts widely view as pretexts to inflict economic retaliation.

The experts on Australia-China relations have predicted that the ties between the two nations will worsen in 2021.

Although Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has stressed his openness to dialogue for resolving tensions, few observers see a diplomatic breakthrough on the horizon as Canberra and Beijing show no sign of budging on what appear to be increasingly non-negotiable differences, reported South China Morning Post (SCMP).

The tension between the two nations started escalating in 2017 and had come to an abysmally low in the backdrop of Australia's leading role in the COVID-19 blame against China as the origin of the pandemic, as well as Canberra's policy to lockout Chinese tech giants such as Huawei from its 5G rollout.

In retaliation, China too restricted Australian imports citing anti-dumping probes and strict quarantines. It accused Australia of discriminating against Chinese companies and cited the example of Mengniu Dairy, which in August was blocked from completing a 600 million Australian dollar bid to acquire Melbourne-headquartered Lion DairyDrinks.

Australia sends about 40 per cent of exports to China, with two-way trade in 2019-2020 worth about 240 billion Australian dollars, reported SCMP. (ANI)

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