A Chinese state news outlet published two bizarre cartoons mocking Australia on the eve of a summit of democracies in Washington, claiming the country will become ‘cannon fodder’.
Scott Morrison met with Joe Biden and the leaders of Japan and India on Saturday to discuss regional security, Covid and exports at The Quad Summit.
The meeting angered China, which warned Australia, India and Japan that the US would eventually dump it ‘like trash’.
The Global Times, a Chinese government mouthpiece, published two cartoons ahead of the meeting depicting Australia as an unhinged kangaroo and the other as a pawn of the United States.
The news outlet lashed the four nations as ‘four ward mates with four different diseases’.
A bizarre cartoon from The Global Times depicted The Quad attendees as all attempting to drive a bus as the outlet mocked the attendees as ‘four ward mates with four different diseases’
Scott Morrison met with Joe Biden as part of The Quad summit in Washington, a meeting whihc saw China claim Australia could become ‘cannon fodder’
Mr Morrison, India’s Narendra Modi, Biden and Australia’s ‘dear friend’ Japan’s Yoshihide Suga gathered for Quad talks at the White House
It also boasted the alliance was ‘incapable of inflicting substantial harm to China’.
The outlet quoted ‘analysts’ claims that typical American behaviour was to divide Asian nations and ‘abandon its allies like dumping trash in front of its interests’.
‘If Japan, India and Australia went too far in following the US strategy of containing China, they will become cannon fodder as China will resolutely safeguard its interests, Chinese analysts warned,’ the Global Times predicted.
The outlet also produced two cartoons, one showing the three regional allies – with Australia represented by an unhinged-looking kangaroo – all trying to drive a bus, with Uncle Sam in the front.
The other showed an American eagle imagining a plan in which the United States, Japan, India and Australia surround China.
Following a long period of escalating Chinese militarisation, bullying towards neighbours, influence in the region and its trade war with Australia, Mr Morrison signed another alliance with the US this month.
China has taunted Australia about the possibility of missile strikes on Australian soil
A second cartoon in the Global Times showed an American eagle imagining a plan in which the United States, Japan, India and Australia surround China – though it also claimed the alliance was ‘incapable of inflicting harm’ to China
The AUKUS alliance, with the US and UK, includes a deal which will see Australia build nuclear-powered submarines.
Mr Morrison has expressed the reality of a possible conflict with China and Beijing has taunted Canberra about possible missile strikes on Australian soil.
Last year the Global Times editor, Hu Xijin, tweeted: ‘Preparing for war? Then build an antimissile system!’
The Washington gathering was the second time The Quad partners had met, following their virtual meeting in March.
The four leaders discussed security in the Indo-Pacific region, the Covid response – and especially plans to help vaccinate neighbours in the Asia-Pacific region – climate change and the worrying issue of Chinese dominance of essential rare mineral exports.
The latter issue is significant because rare minerals are needed to manufacture crucial technology components such as semi-conductors, which there is a global shortage of.
There are fears China could block access to minerals such as palladium and lithium, which are essential for popular consumer goods, such as smartphones, but also in defence manufacturing.
Semiconductors are essential components in everything from car computers to ATMs to personal computers, smartphones and refrigerators.
The summit will discuss supply of the materials which could be good news for Australian mining as Australia has untapped reserves of the rare earth minerals.
Speaking after the summit on the White House lawn Mr Morrison was typically keen to talk up the mateship between the four leaders, and joked at length about his friendship with Japanese PM Suga.
He said Mr Suga had ribbed him about winning more judo medals at the recent Olympic Games.
But Mr Morrison was equally serious about the role of the The Quad.
‘The Quad is a great partnership making a very positive contribution, a very practical contribution to the region that we call home, the Indo-Pacific,’ he said.
‘The Indo-Pacific is a region that we wish to be always free from coercion, where the sovereign rights of all nations are respected and where disputes are settled peacefully and accordance with international law.’
Mr Modi (left), Mr Biden (second left), Mr Morrison (centre right) and Mr Suge (front right) met at the White House to discuss regional security, Covid vaccines, climate change and rare minerals
Scott Morrison spoke with The Quad leaders at the White House and is also due to speak at the United Nations on Saturday
Mr Morrison said the group wanted to ‘demonstrate how democracies get things done in the region’.
He was keen to point our how The Quad partners were making and distributing 1.2 vaccines to people in ‘developing countries’ in the region, including in Fiji.
‘The quad delivering those vaccines has really turned that country around and they’ll be opening up soon and I’m sure welcoming visitors.’
There have been deep concerns about Chinese influence in the Asia-Pacific region, where the fear is investment from Beijing could give the Communist dictatorship too much influence.
Mr Morrison is also set to speak at the United Nations on Saturday, where he will emphasize Australia’s leading role in the region.
‘The global strategic environment has rapidly changed, indeed deteriorated in many respects – particularly in the Indo-Pacific region where we live here in Australia,’ Morrison will say, Nine newspapers reported.
‘The changes we face are many, whether it’s tensions over territorial claims, rapid military modernisation, foreign interference, cyber threats, disinformation and indeed economic coercion.
‘We must reinforce a sustainable rules-based order, while ensuring it is also adaptable to the great-power politics of our time. Our voice is clear, it’s respectful, it’s constructive.’