Australia defence minister says conflict with China over Taiwan likely

Henrietta Strickland
April 28, 2021

Pezzullo noted that this year marks the 70th anniversary of Australia's defense treaty with the United States.

"People need to be realistic about the activity", Mr Dutton said. "We're pursuing peace for a free and open Indo-Pacific".

Conflict with China over Taiwan "should not be discounted", but Australia will work with its allies in the region to try and maintain peace, Australian Defence Minister Peter Dutton said today.

Defence Minister Peter Dutton, for his part, drew the public's attention to the military build-up in the Pacific, suggesting there is a "significant amount of (military) activity" there amid an "animosity" between Taiwan and China, with Beijing claiming the former is its territory under the "One China" policy. "I don't think it should be discounted", he said.

Western Australia state Premier Mark McGowan, the Labor government leader of the state that exports Australia's most lucrative export, iron ore, to China, called on the federal government to "tone down" its language on military tensions. He cited USA wartime generals Douglas MacArthur and President Dwight Eisenhower, saying Australians should not forget the lessons of World War II and the subsequent build-up of Soviet military power.

Australia must reduce the likelihood of war, "but not at the cost of our precious freedom", Pezzullo said. The Chinese Embassy in Australia said in a statement the decision would "bring further damage to bilateral relations and will only end up hurting" Australia.

Australia canned two infrastructure deals between China and the Victorian government last week, and Minister Dutton said Australia's foreign minister is reviewing the Port of Darwin deal and will take action if it's found not to be in Australia's national interest.

China - Taiwan's largest trading partner - has also continued to pressure the island economically and diplomatically.

Australia-China ties have been steadily worsening since PM Scott Morrison urged Beijing past year to allow an independent probe into the origins of the novel coronavirus, which was first registered in Wuhan, Hubei, in December 2019.

Australia's relationship with China, its top trading partner, started to significantly deteriorate in April past year, when Prime Minister Scott Morrison called for an independent inquiry into the origins of the coronavirus, which was first registered in Wuhan in the country's Hubei province in December 2019. But then we're also concerned with all sorts of other aspects of coercion that don't quite reach the level of a military invasion.

The disputed South China Sea has become a theatre for tensions between China and its neighbours.

The four bases in line for the funding are used by the Australian Defence Force and U.S. marines based in the territory. "Which facilities are expected not to be smoking ruins?"

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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