Australian envoy reportedly describes China as ‘vindictive’

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Australia’s ambassador to Beijing has reportedly described China as a vindictive and unreliable trading partner. Ambassador Graham Fletcher told a China-Australia business group in an online briefing from Beijing on Thursday he did not know if China was aware of the damage its trade practices were causing in Australia and internationally. A diplomatic rift between the free trade partners has worsened since Australia called for an independent inquiry into the coronavirus pandemic a year ago. Australian exports of coal, wine, barley, cotton, lobsters and wood have either been blocked or severely disrupted, usually for unclear reasons. Prime Minister Scott Morrison welcomed Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s criticism of China’s blatant economic coercion of Australia.