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Chinese diplomat blasts Australia’s ‘negative image in China’ over port backlash

Chinese diplomat blasts Australia’s ‘negative image in China’ over port backlash

One of China’s highest-placed Pacific diplomats has offered a scathing appraisal of the “political suspicion” heaped upon his nation, branding it “very negative for the image of Australia”.

Wang Xining, deputy to China’s Australian ambassador, made the comments when asked about the national reaction to the controversial 99-year leasing of Darwin’s port to Chinese-owned company Landbridge in 2015.

“In China, everybody, I mean the people in the street, think very positively of Australia,” Mr Wang said.

“They think Australia is a great nation with friendly people, and the recent report[s] about the unnecessary doubts and the political suspicion of China’s strategic move is something very negative for the image of Australia in China.

The leasing of the port to Landbridge by the Northern Territory’s former Country Liberal Party government received widespread backlash after the deal, including a reprimand from then-US president Barack Obama.