Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian said Mr Dutton was “driven by selfish political gains” as he was asked to comment on the Minister’s latest remarks about China’s acting ambassador to Australia Wang Xining during a press conference on Monday.
Mr Wang had slammed Australia’s plan to acquire nuclear-powered submarines under the AUKUS deal in an interview with The Guardian – with Mr Dutton describing his comments as “silly” and “funny”.
“We don’t see it from any other ambassador here in Australia,” Mr Dutton told Channel 9.
Peter Dutton has been lashed by China’s Foreign Ministry Spokesperson and Labor Senator Penny Wong. Picture: Getty Images
“It’s quite remarkable. It’s not just in Australia, it [happens] in India and Japan, in most other countries we see this type of diplomacy.
“These provocative comical statements — it’s just so silly, it’s funny.”
Mr Zhao returned the serve during questions, telling the press conference Mr Dutton’s remarks are “extremely absurd and irresponsible”.
“As a senior official of the Australian government, he is obsessed with the Cold War mentality and ideological prejudices,” the spokesperson said.
“Driven by selfish political gains, he has repeatedly made provocations, sensational and astonishing statements on China-related issues.
“He wouldn’t scruple to hijack Australia onto the chariot in confrontation with China.”
Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian said Mr Dutton is “driven by selfish political gains”. Picture: Roman BalandinTASS via Getty Images
Mr Zhao added Australia continues to “grossly interfere” on issues relating to Taiwan.  
“Its nuclear submarine cooperation with the US and the UK undermines international nuclear non-proliferation efforts, aggravates arms race, and has caused grave concern among regional countries,” he said.
“Such acts run counter to the trend for peace, development and cooperation in today’s world and is detrimental to Australia’s own interests and its international image.”
It comes as Senator Wong also takes aim at comments made by Mr Dutton earlier this month where he said it was “inconceivable” that Australia would not back the United States if there was a war over Taiwan.
The Labor Senator said “the greatest risk to peace, stability and prosperity in our region is the risk of conflict in Taiwan” as she delivered an address to the ANU National Security College on Tuesday.
She said Mr Dutton knows exactly what he is doing by using words like “inconceivable”.
Senator Penny Wong on Tuesday said the Defence Minister “does Australians no favours by amplifying Beijing’s fatalism”. Picture: NCA Newswire / Gary Ramage
“In maintaining this position of strategic ambiguity, the US declines to declare a definitive position on military conflict including whether to join a war if one was started by others and, as a US ally, Australia has taken a position consistent with theirs,” she explained.
“And this strategy has rightly been adopted as the path most capable of averting conflict and enabling the region to live in peace and prosperity.
“So when Peter Dutton talks about it being “inconceivable” that Australia would not join a war over Taiwan, he is wildly out of step with a strategy long adopted by Australia and our principal ally.”
Senator Wong went on to accuse Mr Dutton, along with Prime Minister Scott Morrison, of playing “political games” amid the tensions with China.
“Amping up the prospect of war against a superpower is the most dangerous election tactic in Australian history,” she said.
“It is a tactic deployed by irresponsible politicians who are desperate to hang on to power … Mr Dutton does Australians and Taiwanese no favours by amplifying Beijing’s fatalism.”
Australians need to know whether Labor will be ‘grand appeasers’ of China

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