(Bloomberg) -- Former Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison used his final speech before the nation’s parliament to criticize China as his successor faces an increasingly challenging task of improving ties with Beijing.

Morrison, who led Australia from 2018 to 2022, described Beijing to be part of an “arc of autocracy” along with Russia, North Korea and Iran. While his election loss nearly two years ago had given Beijing a chance to “step back from their failed attempts at coercion,” future governments shouldn’t be naive about the threat from China, he said on Tuesday.

“We must not be deluded,” said the former leader under whose term the Aukus defense pact with US and UK was struck in 2021. “Tactics change, but the strategy remains the same,” he said. Morrison announced in January that he would be resigning from Parliament to take up a role in the private sector. He will be joining former Trump adviser Robert O’Brien’s American Global Strategies LLC as non-executive vice chairman.

The comments from the ex-prime minister come as Canberra’s warming relations with Beijing were again clouded earlier this month after a Chinese court issued a suspended death sentence against Australian writer Yang Hengjun. The decision prompted the country’s foreign minister to summon the Chinese ambassador, though no broader repercussions have ensued.

Morrison’s time in office saw a rapid deterioration of relations between Australia and China. Following a call by his government for an international investigation into the origins of Covid-19 in 2020, China retaliated by imposing trade sanctions including heavy tariffs on Australian exports.

While Morrison’s leadership during the pandemic was notable, concerns over a slow vaccine rollout eventually stirred frustration among voters that led to his election loss.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese’s center-left government has moved to repair relations with China over the past 18 months that saw some high-level ministerial meetings resume and Beijing’s trade restrictions on Australian barley, coal and timber removed. Australia expects China to similarly scrap wine tariffs within weeks.

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