In its first response to the Prime Minister’s re-election, Beijing has accused his government of treating it with “bias and suspicion”.
An editorial in the state-owned China Daily newspaper accuses Mr Morrison of having a “superficial perception” of the rising superpower, calling on his government to “refresh its perspective on China”.
“Apart from delivering his campaign promises to the Australian people, of which he made few, Morrison may also need to recalibrate his country’s relations with China,” the editorial states.
It draws on heightened tensions between Canberra and Beijing in recent years, saying the relationship has been “one of mixed flavours”.
“While the 2015 China-Australia Free Trade Agreement laid a solid foundation for bilateral economic ties to thrive, Canberra’s obstinacy in raising false alarms about China’s interference in its domestic affairs and its politicians’ reckless remarks about the South China Sea and China’s normal co-operation with Pacific island nations have more often than not poisoned the atmosphere for bilateral co-operation,” the editorial reads.
And then, in a direct hit at Mr Morrison: “Hence, it came as no surprise when Morrison described the United States as a ‘friend’ while referring to China as a ‘customer’ just a few days before Australians went to polls. Although his remarks immediately drew a lot of criticism, they do reflect a superficial perception of China’s role in Australia.”
The editorial closes by urging Canberra to “refresh its perspective on China and treat it with respect and as an equal partner”.
China’s reaction to Mr Morrison’s re-election comes in stark contrast to several other world leaders.
The morning after the election, Mr Trump posted a tweet congratulating the Australian leader on his “great win”.
Congratulations to Scott on a GREAT WIN! https://t.co/IKxDrQmHfV
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 18, 2019
In a subsequent phone call, he likened Mr Morrison’s win to that of his own surprise victory at the US federal election in 2016, the ABC reported.
Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu similarly tweeted his support of Mr Morrison, hailing him as a “dear friend” and saying “the great friendship between Australia and Israel will grow even stronger” under his leadership.
Congratulations to my dear friend @ScottMorrisonMP for the election victory. I know that under your leadership the great friendship between Australia and Israel will grow even stronger. 🇮🇱🇦🇺
— PM of Israel (@IsraeliPM) May 18, 2019
Mr Morrison also received congratulatory phone calls from UK Prime Minister Theresa May, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.