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Αustralia: Ready for war against Chinese hegemony in Asia Pacific and invasion of Taiwan

Australian Defence Minister Peter Duttonchose Anzac Day to warn Beijing that it would never surrender gives a peek into how Canberra plans to counter the rising military threats by China.Anzac Day marks the anniversary of the first major military action fought by Australian and New Zealand forces during the First World War. Dutton’s statement comes in the wake of China found to be militarising ports around Australia. The bilateral relations between these two countries took a bitter turn after Canberra asked for an independent inquiry into the source of Covid-19 a year ago. China has already suspended imports of barley and beef from Australia as a part of economic coercion. However, China’s aggressive military expansion in Asia Pacific and intentions to invade Taiwan appear to be the reasons for Australia to adopt assertive military postures.

Defence Minister Dutton has asked Australian armed forces to turn their attention to nearer shores amid growing threats from China. “We need to recognise that our region is changing. China is militarising ports across our region. We need to deal with all of that, and that is exactly what we are now focused on,” said Dutton, after paying tribute to tens of thousands of Australians who saved the country from foreign attacks.A few weeks ago, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison had acknowledged threats emanating fromChina’s increasing military and economic expansion “It’s an imperative we now proceed with the creation of a sovereign guided weapons capability as a priority,” Morrison said. Australia has begun upgrading its missile technology and guided weapons system to counter Chinese aggression.

China is in talks with the government of Papua New Guinea (PNG) to build a city on the island of Daru, which is just a few kilometres from Australia.  Chinese controlled territory too close to Australian border has raised questions over the national security of the island continent. A report by think tank the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) suggested infiltration of Australia by China maritime and port expansion.“Beijing’s greater willingness to flex its muscles, both politically and militarily, is supported by its overseas investments in critical infrastructure. The People’s Republic of China has become increasingly willing to project military power overseas while coercing and co-opting countries into accepting the objectives of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP),” reads the report.


China’s increasing power and international assertiveness is going to drawing the UK and other western powers in the Asia Pacific, where Chinese hegemony has become a big issue.  And now deteriorating relations between Canberra and Beijing has brought the region to the possibilities of “real war”. Former Australian Defence Minister Christopher Pyne said there was higher chances of war between Australia and China. “Five years ago, I would've said that the possibility was very unlikely, now I would have to say that the possibility is more likely than it was then," he said.  

The bilateral relations between Australia and China relationship are at its lowest point since diplomatic relations were established in 1972. China has demanded to Australia to compromise on key national interests as prerequisite for resumption of talks and for cooperation, said Australian Foreign Affairs and Trade secretary Frances Adamson. "As China adopts a more authoritarian approach domestically and asserts itself internationally in ways which challenge and undermine those rules, Australia is experiencing a range of difficulties in its bilateral relationship with China… China expects compromise on key national interests in exchange for dialogue and cooperation,” Adamson said.  
 
It is argued China wants to establish its hegemony in the Asia Pacific region as a part of its plans to replace the US as sole dominant global power. And Australia is a big hurdle. It has stood up to China despite economic coercion and military threats. Michèle Flournoy, who was a senior defence official working with former US President Barack Obama, has lauded Australia’s hardliner stance against China. “Australia is seen as very courageous in Washington right now in that you are standing up for your interests, you are standing up for your values,” she said.

By bringing the issue of Taiwan into the international forum,which China consider its integrated part, Australia has sent a clear signal about road it is going to walk on ahead. Australian Defence Minister Dutton said the chance of a conflict involving China over Taiwan should not be discounted. Australia may engage in a direct military confrontation with China. However, it will certainly join the US forces to defend Taiwan in case China tries to invade it.

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