Economic decoupling from China 'act of national self-sabotage': Australian MP

People take pictures of Australian lobster at an Australia food booth during the third China International Import Expo (CIIE) in Shanghai, Nov 6, 2020. (Photo: Agencies)

CANBERRA - Economic decoupling from China would be "an unprecedented act of national self-sabotage" for Australia, a Labor member of parliament said Tuesday.

"Over the past 20 years, the scale of Australia's economic interactions with China has greatly benefited both countries," said Tim Watts, Labor's shadow assistant minister for communications and cyber security, at an event organized by the China Matters think tank at parliament house.

A productive relationship between Australia and China is in the interest of both sides, Watts said, adding "there are international issues where Australia and the PRC (People's Republic of China) share similar interests and should constructively work together, like climate change and disaster response."

As the Australian Labor Party has become increasingly frustrated about a lack of communication from the government on long-term China policy, Watts asked the administration of Prime Minister Scott Morrison to keep communicating with opposition parties and maintain "long-term consistency of message" when engaging with China.