China lays claim to the Japan-administered Senkaku Islands, a group of uninhabited islets in the East China Sea that it calls Diaoyu, and frequently sends coast guard ships nearby to assert their control.
Zhao made it clear China holds Australia responsible for the deterioration in ties, saying that "whoever started the trouble should end it".
Zhao said that it is normal for China and Australia, countries with different historical traditions, social systems and at different development stages, to have differences, but what's important is to properly manage those differences in a constructive manner rather than impose one's own ideas on others based on the pretext of safeguarding national interests and values.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Thursday morning said that Australia was not making China the enemy, but that our nation would not compromise on its national interests either.
Relations have been strained in recent years amid Chinese anger over a range of issues, including Australia's crackdown on perceived political interference by Beijing, Chinese investments and a call for an independent investigation into the origins of the coronavirus pandemic that was first detected in China late last year.More news: USA coronavirus deaths reach 250,000
"The only other such agreement that Japan has struck with another country is with the United States 60 years ago", the prime minister went on to say.
The Reciprocal Access Agreement will see Japan and Australia use each other's military bases and conduct joint exercises in the East and South China Seas.
When it comes to Australia, China is not even pretending that it is not on the path of retribution.
Japan and Australia have been strengthening defense ties, this month holding naval drills along with the United States and India.
Moreover, some people in Australia slandered and accused China of engaging in so-called intervention and infiltration activities in the country without giving any evidence, Zhao said, adding that Australia even sought to politicize, stigmatize and create barriers for normal exchanges and cooperation between the two countries.More news: Group rallies at Camas district headquarters for in-person school
The Chinese Embassy's decision to hand the list to the media seems created to ratchet up the pressure on Australia to make concessions on key issues.
"We need to keep that strong relationship with China going".
The Morrison government has declared it stands ready to rebuild respectful and mutually beneficial relations with China.
That naval drill, code-named "Malabar", was centered on India's Vikramaditya naval carrier group and the USA navy's Nimitz carrier group, said India's Defense Ministry.
Australian government ministers have recently said they want to improve communication with Beijing, but China's foreign ministry has said Australia needs to "take concrete actions to correct their mistakes".More news: Apple to Reduce App Store Fee to 15 Percent for Most Developers
"We are a liberal democratic society with a free media and a parliamentary democracy, where elected members and media are entitled to freely express their views", the spokesperson said.