"Well we agree with that sentiment, that big nations should not bully small ones but there seems to be a bit of a disconnect between the words and the actions," Frydenberg said.
He pointed out that Australia had been on the receiving end of the "pretty harsh actions" by the Chinese regime when it comes to trade but reiterated Prime Minister Scott Morrison's stance that Australia won't compromise on its national interest or its values to appease the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
These issues include the rights of politicians to "speak as they see fit" about the CCP.
In its list, the regime had also sought to curb the freedom of Australia’s press and wanted the government to rescind its call for an inquiry in the origins of COVID-19, along with its ban on Huawei from Australia's 5G network. It also mentioned Australia's foreign investment policies and new foreign interference laws as a grievance.
Frydenberg asserted that Australia makes its decisions on foreign investment in line with its national interest, "and of course on human rights, we continue to speak out when there are injustices as we’ve done in the past, as we’ll do in the future," he said.
But New Zealand's trade minister thinks Australia should follow his country in speaking with a “little more diplomacy” to the Chinese regime.
“I can’t speak for Australia and the way it runs its diplomatic relationships, but clearly if they were to follow us and show respect, I guess a little more diplomacy from time to time and be cautious with wording, then they too could hopefully be in a similar situation,” he said.
Instead, Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta wrote on Twitter on Jan. 7: "Aotearoa New Zealand is deeply concerned by the recent arrest of a number of pro-democracy advocates in #HongKong. This represents another effort to erode the rights and freedoms of the people of Hong Kong and further undermine the one country two systems framework."
Beijing has also implemented trade bans and tariffs on eight of Australia's major exports to China, including cotton, coal, lamb, beef, barley, wheat, wine, and timber.
Frydenberg is the second politician in the past week to reiterate Australia's tough stance on China, which has at times gained international support from like-minded nations including the United Kingdom, the United States, France, and Canada.