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Fake image row: China refuses to apologize to Australia

Beijing: China has refused to apologize to Australia for posting a controversial doctored image depicting war crimes by Australian soldiers in Afghanistan and instead, accused the latter of trying to “deflect public attention”.

Even though Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison had slammed Beijing for the “outrageous and disgusting slur”, China said that Canberra should be ‘ashamed’ of its soldiers ‘committing such atrocities’.

“The accusations made are simply to serve two purposes. One is to deflect public attention from the horrible atrocities by certain Australian soldiers. The other is to blame China for the worsening of bilateral ties. There may be another attempt to stoke domestic nationalism,” the Chinese embassy in Australia said in a statement.

According to BBC, the tweet with the fake image was posted in response to a damning report last month about alleged Australian war crimes.

The Australian Defence Force said it had found “credible information” that 25 Australian soldiers were involved in the murders of 39 Afghan civilians and prisoners between 2009 and 2013.

Bilateral relations between China and Australia have been deeply strained this year after Canberra led calls for an inquiry into the origins of the Covid-19 pandemic.

A few months ago the last two correspondents working for Australian media in China were evacuated on the advice of diplomats.

More recently two Australian academics were banned from entering China.

‘Taiwan may be used as scapegoat by China’

Taipei: Amid growing tension between China and Australia, Taiwan has called on Canberra to help defend the island territory against threats from Beijing.

Taiwan foreign minister Joseph Wu has warned that matters with China can escalate amid aggressive military activities, ABC News reported. He said that Taipei could be used as a scapegoat to relieve increasing pressures at home.

“If you look at the Chinese military activities around Taiwan, it’s been intensifying. We see that the Chinese military vessels, as well as its military airplanes, cross into Taiwan’s ADIZ, especially in the southwest corner of Taiwan’s ADIZ almost on a daily basis,” Wu was quoted as saying by ABC News.

The foreign minister has called on like-minded countries including Australia to back Taiwan against the Chinese “expansionism”.

“I see like-minded countries like Japan and Australia and India and the United States can also work together to prevent China from further expansionism,” Wu said.

China continues to regard Taipei as a “breakaway province” and has said that it wouldn’t mind using force to claim it.

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