Prime Minister Scott Morrison within the Home of Representatives throughout Query Time at Parliament Home on February 14, 2019 in Canberra, Australia.

Tracey Nearmy | Getty Pictures

SINGAPORE — Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison has demanded an apology from the Chinese language authorities after a senior official posted a doctored picture of an Australian soldier holding a knife to the throat of a kid.

“Australia is in search of an apology from the Ministry of Overseas Affairs, from the Chinese language authorities, for this outrageous publish. We’re additionally in search of its elimination instantly and have additionally contacted Twitter to take it down instantly,” Morrison told reporters.

Lijian Zhao, who’s a spokesperson and a deputy director basic on the Chinese language overseas ministry, earlier tweeted the doctored picture with a caption that learn: “Shocked by homicide of Afghan civilians & prisoners by Australian troopers. We strongly condemn such acts, &name for holding them accountable.”

The Chinese language authorities ought to be completely ashamed of this publish. It diminishes them on the planet’s eyes.

Scott Morrison

Australia Prime Minister

The image confirmed an Australian soldier smiling and sitting on an Australian flag that was eclipsed with Afghanistan’s flag.

Morrison described the tweet as a “repugnant publish” and stated it was “deeply offensive” to each Australian, together with previous and current members of the Australian Defence Pressure.

“It’s totally outrageous and it can’t be justified on any foundation by any means. The Chinese language authorities ought to be completely ashamed of this publish. It diminishes them on the planet’s eyes,” Morrison stated.

Twitter has but to take down the tweet. The social media platform didn’t instantly reply to CNBC’s request for remark asking if it plans to take action.

Zhao’s tweet was in reference to a report earlier this month of a four-year investigation by the inspector-general of the Australian Defence Force. The report discovered that Australia’s particular forces allegedly killed 39 unarmed prisoners and civilians in Afghanistan. The inquiry timeframe lined incidents rumored to have occurred between 2005 to 2016.

The inquiry stated it discovered credible info that junior troopers had been required by their patrol commanders to shoot a prisoner with the intention to obtain the soldier’s first kill — a follow that was referred to as “blooding.” All these illegal killings had been stated to have been completed exterior the “warmth of battle.”

Australia stated 19 present and former troopers will likely be referred for potential prison prosecution, Reuters reported.

The bilateral relationship between China and Australia has soured in current months. Earlier this yr, Australia supported a growing call for an international inquiry into China’s dealing with of the coronavirus pandemic. Beijing has taken measures in opposition to Australian exporters, together with imposing steep anti-dumping duties on Australian wine exports to China.

Morrison stated whereas tensions undoubtedly exist between the 2 nations, it ought to be addressed in a mature and accountable approach by in search of engagement at management and ministerial ranges.