National Security

Australia raises concern over Chinese military drills

May 28, 2024

Tuesday 28 May 2024
Dominic Giannini

Australia has raised concerns about China's large-scale military drills as Beijing exercised a show of force around Taiwan.

Australia had expressed concerns about the "unsafe, unprofessional and unacceptable incidents involving the PLA Navy", Foreign Minister Penny Wong said, following a widely condemned incident that involved an Australian helicopter.

"We have seen large-scale Chinese military operations and the Taiwan Strait becoming a routine event, the risk of an accident and potential escalation is growing," she said in a video message to a security summit on Tuesday.

Australia working to increase dialogue and engaging with China "is not concession", she added.

"Australia is working to build momentum for dialogue and preventive architecture to reduce the risks of escape escalation, miscalculation and catastrophic conflict," she said.

"Diplomacy ... builds coalitions, reduces tensions, negotiates agreements, and resolves disputes."

Senior Liberal frontbencher James Paterson called on the government to be "really firm about just how dangerous and how malign this conduct is".

"There is no justification for the Chinese government doing what it's doing in response to a democratic election in Taiwan and a new leader of Taiwan being sworn in," he told AAP.

"It's dangerous, it's escalatory, it's provocative and it could cause a serious incident."

The military drills around Taiwan followed an incident where a Chinese jet fighter forced an Australian navy helicopter to take evasive action after launching flares in front of it earlier this month.

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