The visit by a group of Australian MPs to Taiwan risks sabotaging efforts to improve Beijing-Canberra relations, Chinese state media has warned.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese came under criticism overnight for failing to condemn the visit, in an editorial by the Global Times newspaper

“Considering Albanese’s vague and cop-out remarks which will undoubtedly encourage the arrogance of anti-China forces and pro-Taiwan secessionist forces in Australia, there is a big question mark hanging over Australia’s sincerity on improving its relations with China,” the publication said.

Former deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce is part of a delegation of MPs visiting Taiwan. (Alex Ellinghausen/Sydney Morning Herald)

A delegation of six MPs, including former deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce, is visiting Taiwan – a self-ruling territory that China maintains is part of the mainland.

The other MPs are Labor MPs Meryl Swanson and Libby Coker, Liberal National Party members Scott Buchholz and Terry Young, and Liberal Gavin Pearce, The Sydney Morning Herald reported.

Earlier, Albanese insisted the visit was separate from government business.

“There remains a bipartisan position when it comes to China and when it comes to support for the status quo on Taiwan,” he said on Saturday.

Last month Albanese held met China President Xi Jinping in Bali at the G20 summit in Bali, Indonesia.

But the parliamentary trip to Taiwan would “cast a shadow” on attempts to rebuild ties between Beijing and Canberra, the Global Times editorial said.

Anthony Albanese and Xi Jinping (AP)
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese met China President Xi Jinping at the G20 summit last month. (AP)

“Those who play with fire will perish by it. The politicians from certain countries who visit Taiwan to seek limelight are like political god (sic) of plague and pestilence,” it said.

“They bring nothing but risks and tension to Taiwan and no benefit to their own countries, and they also hijack their own country’s China policy.

“As the Australian MPs’ Taiwan visit is under way, it has already generated negative impacts on the China-Australia relationship.”

The MPs arrived in Taiwan yesterday for a five day visit and are scheduled to meet the territory’s President Tsai Ing-wen and Foreign Minister Joseph Wu, News Corp reports.

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