AUSTRALIA will block China from selling off its biggest offshore tuna fishery, after the country’s Minister for Fisheries and Aquaculture Peter Leese refused to allow China to buy up the entire sector.
Key points:Mr Leese said he would not allow Chinese buyers to buy the entire fisheryIn a letter to China’s ambassador to Australia, the Foreign Minister said Australia was not “in a position to prevent” China from buying up the sectorThe letter comes amid rising tensions between the two nations and the recent collapse in bilateral trade after a diplomatic row.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry said it was deeply concerned by the letter and reiterated its support for Australia’s fisheries and the protection of our interests in the region.
“We are concerned that Australia’s decision to restrict the activities of China in the waters off the coast of Australia is not only a breach of the international law but also a breach with our international obligations,” a spokesperson for the Chinese Foreign ministry said in a statement.
“It is in line with the interests of the Australian people and the interests we share in a peaceful and cooperative relationship with China.”
Mr Leasee said Australia’s actions were based on the principle that Australia does not seek to interfere in international affairs, but was not in a position “to prevent” Chinese buyers from purchasing the entire market.
“I will not allow China from purchasing our largest fish market,” Mr Leese told reporters.
“If it becomes an issue, we will take appropriate action to ensure that the interests are protected and that Australian fishers are not disadvantaged.”
He said Australia would “take appropriate action” if China did not purchase the entire fish market.
The fisheries minister, who is also the Minister for Environment, said he was “deeply concerned” by the decision.
“As an independent country we do not have the right to dictate to a foreign power how we should treat foreign affairs,” he said.
“There is a need to be able to have a frank, open and candid discussion with China about our affairs, and I’m confident that if China continues to ignore Australian interests, we’ll act accordingly.”
China has been one of Australia’s closest allies in the Middle East and has been increasingly aggressive in its pursuit of a greater share of the global market.
But the fishing industry in the South China Sea has been in crisis in recent years with commercial vessels increasingly forced to circle and often collide with Chinese fishing vessels.
Topics:world-politics,government-and-politics.fisheries,federal-government,foreign-affairs,asia,china,franceFirst posted April 05, 2019 16:00:26Contact James Young: email: [email protected]