Defense Secretary Peter Dutton has stated that China sees other countries in the region as “contributing states” and warns that Beijing will quickly dominate Asia if it succeeds in invading Taiwan.
- The defense minister warns that China will conquer other territories if it succeeds in invading Taiwan
- Sir. Dutton says he does not believe China wants to occupy Australia or other countries
- But, he says, Australia must act as a strong deterrent to Chinese aggression in the region
Sir. Dutton said Australia’s main desire was to secure peace by deterring China from aggression with the help of other neighboring countries.
But, he said, if China took control of Taiwan, it would quickly conquer other disputed territories, including the Senkaku Islands, which both China and Japan claim.
“What I am pointing out is that the regional order on which our prosperity and security are based would change almost overnight,” he told the National Press Club.
“In the absence of counter-pressure, the Chinese government will be the sole security and economic partner for the Indo-Pacific countries. Now it is a dangerous military and economic situation for our country, but for so many more.
Labor has criticized Dutton’s recent statement that it was “inconceivable” that Australia would not join the United States if there was a war over Taiwan, and accuses the Secretary of Defense of creating tensions with China for electoral gain.
China accuses Dutton of ‘finding conflict’
A spokesman for the Chinese Embassy in Australia said Mr Dutton’s press club’s address was “to create conflict and division”.
“[Mr] “Dutton continued to preach his quixotic misunderstanding of China’s foreign policy, which distorted China’s efforts to ensure sovereignty and territorial integrity,” the statement said.
“It is unthinkable [the] “Relations between China and Australia will gain momentum, or the overriding interests of regional countries, including Australia, will be better promoted if the Australian Government bases its national strategy on such a visionless analysis and outdated mentality.”
But Mr Dutton said that while Australia was “striving for peace” and “striving for deterrence”, the region had to calculate the cost of inaction.
“Yes, there would be a terrible price for action, but the analysis must also extend to the price of passivity,” he said.
“If Taiwan is taken, the Senkaku are definitely next. Please do not trust your imagination. The Chinese Communist Party could not be clearer – not always with their words, but certainly with their actions.”
Sir. Dutton again criticized China for its militarization of the South China Sea, its repression of Hong Kong, and the encroachment of Chinese coastguard ships into disputed waters in the East China Sea.
He also said that his comment that it was “inconceivable” that Australia would not join the United States did not constitute a formal prior commitment to fight in a future war, but was a statement of the coalition’s confidence in the US Australian Alliance.
“Under the Alliance, regardless of who is in government on the day [Australia] would have to make a decision in the best interests and other characteristics of our country, we would consider at that time, including the relationship with the United States and other partners, whether we would go into that conflict or that campaign or that blockade or whatever had to be, “Mr Dutton said.
“And none of it is considered or known.”