‘Nobody wants to see conflict!’ Australia won’t take ‘bullying’ from China following AUKUS
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Peter Dutton, Australian Minister for Defence, made a statement on Friday on the opportunities brought on by the AUKUS nuclear pact and responded to certain criticisms Australia received from China in the past few days, Sky News Australia reported. As the US and the UK will share nuclear intelligence with Australia to strengthen their alliance, China has suggested the agreement be dropped.
Beijing and Canberra have been locked in a trade war for more than a year as relations have deteriorated.
Asked by journalist Annelise Nielsen whether he thought the nation would “be at war at some point with China,” Peter Dutton said the desire of his country was “to maintain peace.”
However, the Australian Minister for Defence said he does think China is not on the same page.
“The Chinese spokespersons for the Communist party are very clear of their intent with regard to Taiwan. Now equally, the United States has been very clear of their intention towards Taiwan,” said Mr Dutton.
“Nobody wants to see conflict but that really is a question for the Chinese.”
“We are living in the most uncertain period since the Second World War,” he continued.
“There is great uncertainty in the Indo-Pacific into the future as well and that’s what makes this historic agreement so significant.”
“We’re a small population of 25 million relatively and we need to make sure we’ve got the best friends in the world and we do in the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, New Zealand and many partners beyond that.”
The minister said the agreement will allow Australia to deepen its collaboration with the US and the UK over the next century.
“We want peace and stability, not coercion, not interference, not bullying, in our region,” he said.
“Our desire is to maintain peace but you don’t maintain peace from a position of weakness.”
On Friday, the Chinese embassy in Australia rejected “unfounded accusations” against China made by the defence and foreign ministers of Australia and their U.S. counterparts after annual talks in Washington.
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The embassy dismissed their accusations as a futile pressure tactic.
“This petty move to put pressure on China will be of no avail but a staged farce,” a spokesperson for the Chinese embassy in Canberra said in a statement.
“We firmly oppose and reject the unfounded accusations and erroneous remarks against China on issues related to the South China Sea, Xinjiang, Hong Kong, Taiwan and other China-related issues.”
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