National Security

China's cold war threat

April 19, 2024

Friday 19 April 2024
Ellen Ransley
The Daily Telegraph

 Beijing claims US is the real danger and no need for Australia to build up  its military
 Beijing has urged Canberra to drop its "Cold War mentality" and  denied China poses any risk to regional stability.
 Defence Minister Richard Marles unveiled the Albanese Government's national  defence strategy on Wednesday, announcing Australia will bolster its navy  over the next decade to compete with an increasingly aggressive and coercive  China in pursuit of its "strategic objectives".
 He warned China's military build-up and tensions with the United States had  created an environment "where the risk of miscalculation is more ominous  and the consequences more severe".
 Overnight, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lin Jian said China posed  "no threat" to the region, pointing the finger instead at  "major countries outside the region" who posed the biggest risk to  security.
 "We stay committed to the peace and stability of the AsiaPacific region  and the wider world, and pose no threat to any country," he said.
 In a veiled critique of the United States, Mr Lin said the formation of  "exclusive groupings" had stoked "bloc confrontation" and  muddied the waters in the South China Sea.
 "As if the world needed any more instability. China firmly opposes  it," he said.
 "We hope Australia will correctly view China's development and strategic  intentions, abandon the Cold War mentality, do more things to keep the region  peaceful and stable, and stop buzzing about China." Mr Marles yesterday  doubled down on his comments, saying the national strategy had been  underpinned by the "very complex set of strategic circumstances".
 "We are seeing a very significant military build-up in the region. China  is engaging in the biggest conventional military build-up since the end of  the Second World War. That is just a fact," he said.
 "And it does change the strategic landscape. It's not just ourselves,  but it's all countries of the region and in fact, the world. We need to be  making sure that we are the most capable nation that we can be, that we can  resist coercion." Asked what coercion might look like, he pointed to sea  trade operations.
 "The reason why we make the observation that an invasion of Australia is  a very unlikely scenario, is because any adversary that wished to do us harm  could do so much to us before ever setting foot on Australian soil, and  disrupting those specific sea lines of communication, which I've described,  would obviously achieve that," Mr Marles said.
 The Coalition's home affairs spokesman, James Paterson, said he wished the  grounds for the Chinese government to be angry were "stronger than they  actually are", hitting out at the Albanese Government's decision to  slash programs.
 Mr Paterson said Mr Marles had slashed $72bn: "That adds to the $8bn in  cuts he's previously announced, so $80bn of cuts to defence and, to  compensate for that, he says we're going to have an extra $5.7bn over the  next four years".

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