Jacinda Ardern says NZ not taking sides in China-Australia feud

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The post came amid a bitter war of words after China's foreign ministry spokesman tweeted a doctored image of an Australian digger holding a knife to the throat of an Afghan child.

Social media giant WeChat has taken down Scott Morrison's gushing tribute to Chinese Australians as tensions between Canberra and Beijing continue to escalate.

Australia's prime minister said Monday that a Chinese official's tweet showing a fake image of an Australian soldier appearing to slit a child's throat was "truly repugnant" and merits an apology. By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.

On Wednesday, Mr Morrison made a direct appeal to the Chinese public on WeChat, saying the provocative tweet would not diminish Australia's respect for the Chinese community at home or overseas.

Canberra recently unveiled a comprehensive report about how its military force committed war crimes during their mission in Afghanistan, which nave seen the killings of innocent civilians, including infants.

Australia's Prime Minister Scott Morrison has used Chinese social media platform WeChat to criticise a "false image" of an Australian soldier posted on Twitter by the Chinese government.

There was further embarrassment for Australia on Tuesday when the Guardian published an image purporting to show an Australian soldier chugging beer from a dead Taliban fighter's prosthetic leg.

Other nations, including the United States, New Zealand and France - and the self-ruled island of Taiwan which China claims as its own - have expressed concern at the Chinese foreign ministry's use of the manipulated image on an official Twitter account.

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She added that Australia "wants to divert attention, avoid the real issue and relieve some pressure off its shoulder" by reacting strongly. "Why is that? Do they think that their merciless killing of Afghan civilians is justified but the condemnation of such ruthless brutality is not?"

Asked if she would condemn the Australian war crimes, she said: "We're already seeing Australia taking action on that and responding to it". "It owes the Afghan people a formal apology and a solemn promise that it will never ever commit these frightful crimes again", said Hua.

Also, hampering relations between the two closing trading partners is the spat over China's "falsified" tweet on the Australian army.

China has now imposed 212.1 per cent tariffs on Australian wine, just weeks after the country aired 14 grievances against Australia.

The risk sentiment remains undeterred by the Australian-Sino tensions, as the coronavirus vaccine-driven economic optimism supersedes. China reacted by targeting Australian exports after Morrison's government joined a multilateral inquiry looking at China's handling of the pandemic.

It's prompted hits on a wide range of Australian exports including coal, timber, grain and seafood with bans and tariffs.

"The way the Chinese government has been acting is not one of a friend".

Instead, she is sitting on two containers of deferred shipments after Australian producers became the latest casualty of the country's rapidly deteriorating relations with Beijing.

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