Australia says China’s ‘alarming’ actions at odds with peaceful rhetoric

Australian Minister of Defense Peter Dutton speaks throughout a information convention with Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin (not pictured) at the State Department in Washington, U.S., September 16, 2021. Andrew Harnik/Pool through REUTERS

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CANBERRA, Nov 26 (Reuters) – China’s “alarming” actions don’t match its rhetoric about selling peace and prosperity within the area, Australia’s defence minister stated on Friday after a Chinese navy ship was tracked crusing by way of the nation’s unique financial zone.

Defence Minister Peter Dutton listed China’s militarisation of the South China Sea, latest aggression in direction of Taiwan and the introduction of a nationwide safety legislation in Hong Kong as examples of China’s actions being at odds with its rhetoric.

“We’re all familiar with the frequent claims of the Chinese government that it is committed to peace, cooperation and development,” Dutton stated in a speech in Canberra.

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“And yet we bear witness to a significant disconnect between the words and the actions. We’ve watched very closely as the Chinese government has engaged in increasingly alarming activities.”

The Chinese embassy in Canberra stated Dutton had distorted China’s international coverage, misled the Australian individuals and was “fanning conflict and division between peoples and nations”.

“It is inconceivable that China-Australia relationship will take on a good momentum… if the Australian government bases its national strategy on such visionless analysis and outdated mentality,” it stated in an announcement.

Relations between Australia and its largest export market reached a low in 2020 when Canberra backed a United Nations inquiry into the origins of COVID-19, which was first recorded in China.

China responded by reducing off ministerial contacts and imposing hefty tariffs on Australian exports of wine, barley, beef, coal and seafood, successfully nullifying a 2015 free commerce settlement. Australia and its ally the United States branded the transfer “economic coercion”.

The newest alternate of barbs got here as Australia confirmed it had monitored a Chinese intelligence ship crusing in August inside Australia’s unique financial zone however not in Australian territorial waters.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison stated the ship – the second of its kind monitored off the Australian coast in as many months – was travelling legally.

“But don’t think for a second that we weren’t keeping our eye on them, as they were seeking to keep an eye on us,” Morrison instructed reporters in Adelaide.

“What it demonstrates is now no one can be complacent about the situation in the Indo-Pacific.”

In September, a brand new safety pact between Australia, the United States and Britain, dubbed AUKUS, was extensively considered as an try to shore up regional army muscle within the face of China’s rising presence. China known as AUKUS a hazard to world peace.

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Reporting by Colin Packham and Byron Kaye; Editing by Stephen Coates

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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