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In an interview with political editor Peter Hartcher, Prime Minister Scott Morrison says Australia would prefer a better relationship with China but that Beijing’s trade sanctions are like the traditional Chinese lion dance – mostly theatrical.

“There can be a lot of diplomatic atmospherics but at the end of the day the relationship is still going on,” he said.

Composite: Scott Morrison, Xi Jinping

Composite: Scott Morrison, Xi JinpingCredit:Dominic Lorrimer, Getty Images

China’s government has imposed coercive restrictions on Australian exports of beef, barley, wine, thermal coal, copper, cotton, seafood, sugar and timber, and warned students and tourists against travel to Australia because of the danger of violent racism.

Last week the Global Times, a media outlet owned by the Chinese Communist Party, said Beijing could inflict “more carnage for the Australian economy” if Canberra kept increasing defence spending.

But Mr Morrison said the two countries were still dealing with each other.

“The relationship still exists, look at trade alone – there have never been bigger volumes. That’s a bit of a proof point. When all’s said and done, there’s still great value in the relationship,” he said.

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