Colin Packham, Byron Kaye
CANBERRA (Reuters), – China’s “alarming” actions don’t match its rhetoric of promoting peace and prosperity within the region, Australia’s defence minister stated on Friday. The statement was made after a Chinese Navy ship was reported to have been tracked through Australia’s exclusive Economic Zone.
Peter Dutton, the Defence Minister of China, cited China’s military intervention in the South China Sea, Taiwan’s aggression recently and Hong Kong’s adoption of a national safety law to protect its citizens as evidence of China’s disregard for its rhetoric.
Dutton spoke in Canberra, saying that the Chinese government has made repeated claims about its commitment to cooperation, peace and development.
Yet, we witness a notable disconnect between the words spoken and their actions. “We have closely observed the Chinese government engage in alarming activity.”
Beijing will be furious at these remarks, which come just days after Australia acknowledged it had observed an intelligence vessel from China sailing within Australia’s exclusive economic area. However, the observation was not made in Australian territorial waters.
Scott Morrison, the Prime Minister, said that the ship was traveling legally. It is the second vessel of this type being monitored from the Australian coast.
Morrison, who spoke to reporters from Adelaide, said that “But don’t believe for a second we weren’t keeping an eye on them. As they were trying to keep one eye on us.”
It shows that no one should be indifferent to the Indo-Pacific situation.
The 2020 United Nations inquiry by Canberra into COVID-19 was a major step in lowering relations between Australia, China and Australia.
China responded by cutting off ministerial communications and imposing high tariffs on Australian wine, beer, beef, seafood and coal exports. This effectively ended a 2015 free-trade agreement. Australia and the United States called the action “economic coercion”.
A new security agreement between Australia, America and Britain was signed in September. It was commonly viewed by many as an effort to strengthen regional military power against China’s increasing presence. China called AUKUS an affront to international peace.
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