China has tried to 'break' Australia economically, US official says

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  • Joe Biden
    Joe Biden
    46th and current president of the United States

The Biden administration's Indo-Pacific coordinator, Kurt Campbell, said on Wednesday that China has tried "break" U.S. ally Australia through "dramatic economic warfare," Reuters reported.

"China's preference would have been to break Australia, to drive Australia to its knees," Campbell told an audience at the Lowy Institute, a think tank in Sydney.

China has blocked a number of imports from Australia since mid-2020 in what is perceived to be retaliation for Australia curbing foreign investment and questioning the origins of COVID-19, according to Bloomberg.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said of Australia in July, "We will not allow any country to reap benefits from doing business with China while groundlessly accusing and smearing China and undermining China's core interests," according to Bloomberg.

Campbell also talked about the U.S. commitment to new security and economic alliances in the Indo-Pacific region, including the defense technology pact with Great Britain and Australia referred to as AUKUS and the Quad of India, Japan, U.S. and Australia, according to Reuters.

Campbell added that the collective focus on technology, education, climate and pandemic cooperation shows the U.S. was bringing value to the region.

"The United States is not leaving the Indo-Pacific, and we're not in decline," Campbell said.

Campbell's comments comes after President Biden mentioned the treatment of Australia during his meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping last month, Reuters reported.

Campbell also said the U.S. was concerned about Beijing's lack of communication over its buildup of nuclear deterrent capabilities, hypersonic and anti-satellite systems, saying the actions "run risks of triggering an unforeseen crisis, or a misunderstanding," Reuters noted.

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