Peter Dutton attacks Penny Wong on China, declaring he aims to deter “aggression” against Taiwan | Peter Dutton
Australian Defense Minister maintained comments on potential military conflict in Taiwan, insisting he was not committing Australia to war, but stating that he wanted to deter Party “aggression” Chinese Communist.
Peter Dutton also stepped up his warnings about how China had changed under the reign of its president, Xi Jinping, saying, “It’s really important that we understand what point in history we are at. [at]. “
Dutton went on the attack on Tuesday in response to a substantial foreign policy speech by Labor Senate leader Penny Wong, who accused the defense minister of amplifying the threat of war against Taiwan in a pre-election tactic “dangerous”.
Dutton also denied hissing a dog when he told parliament that Wong “today is not standing up for” Australian values. Another Labor MP called Dutton’s remark “appalling” and “inappropriate”.
With the Morrison government facing an election by May and lagging behind Labor in major opinion polls, there has been speculation the coalition may seek to make national security a key issue before the ballot.
Wong, the shadow foreign minister, said Dutton’s “binary” comments on Taiwan were not “the way we are most likely to create this incentive” to preserve the status quo.
The Australian government and Labor have both raised concerns of late over increased Chinese military pressure against Taiwan, a democratically ruled island of 24 million, as part of the long-term goal. of Beijing’s “unification” with what it considers to be its territory.
Wong targeted Dutton for telling the Australian newspaper earlier this month: “It would be inconceivable that we did not support the United States in action if the United States chose to take this step. “
She called this out of step with US policy as a strategic ambiguity, while agreeing that the risk of conflict over Taiwan had increased.
In a home interview in parliament late Tuesday, Dutton said Australia must “offer a deterrent against actions … because the Communist Party has been very clear on its intentions regarding Taiwan.”
He also criticized the CCP for its “totally unacceptable” activities in the South and East China Seas, the repression in Hong Kong, the border clashes with India and “the coercive and gray area activities and cyber attacks against our country. countries and our close neighbors. ”.
Dutton, a prominent conservative figure in the Morrison government, said his comments focused on what might happen if China invades Taiwan and the United States responds with military action.
He reiterated that “in my opinion, it would be inconceivable within the framework of the alliance if Australia did not side with the United States”. He said he didn’t think there was “anything remarkable” about that statement.
“But it was not a pre-engagement – it was nothing more than a statement of reality, and if Labor has a different position I would love to hear it, as it seems today that they have a different position, ”Dutton told reporters.
At 7:30 a.m. on ABC, Dutton accused Labor of “starting to walk away” from its bipartisan commitment to the Australia-UK-US (Aukus) partnership.
He quoted Wong’s speech and claimed that it “could have been written by Paul Keating,” a reference to the former Labor PM telling the press club that the Aukus submarines would have no impact on the China.
Earlier, Dutton also argued that Wong should have condemned Acting Chinese Ambassador to Australia Wang Xining for his recent comments that Aukus’ nuclear submarine plan would label Australia a “sword bearer.” And “dangerous guys”.
Wang told Guardian Australia last week that China’s infamous list of grievances against Australia should exceed 14 points and that politicians like Dutton should refrain from any “destructive” comments.
Dutton accused the Labor Party of being ‘weak’ on national security, telling Parliament: ‘I notice the acting Chinese Ambassador attacked Australian values and Senator Wong today is not standing up for those values; instead, she retreats into a fit of weakness.
Labor leader Andrew Giles said: “It was a dreadful, false, inappropriate and far-reaching allegation – which should not have been made and should be withdrawn.”
Wong then fired back at Dutton. “Mr Dutton proves my point by lying about what I said in my speech today, by lying about the Labor Party’s position on Aukus and Anzus and by abandoning long-standing positions on bipartisan foreign policy, ”Wong said.
“Labor is supporting Aukus, we are supporting Anzus and we are sticking to the long-standing bipartisan stance on Taiwan, even though Mr Dutton is moving away from it.”
When asked if his comments were a dog whistle, Dutton said that in his 20 years in parliament, he could not recall “an ambassador from another country who followed the path of l ‘Chinese Ambassador’.
He said the acting ambassador’s comments were an example of Chinese ‘wolf warrior’ diplomacy and the Labor spokesperson for foreign affairs should have condemned them.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian accused Dutton on Monday of “extremely absurd and irresponsible” words and of “exaggerating” the Chinese threat.
Zhao said the US-UK-Australia submarine deal “deliberately exacerbates regional tensions, spurs [an] arms race, threatens regional peace and stability and undermines international nuclear non-proliferation efforts ”.
Xi told Southeast Asian leaders at a summit on Monday that China “would never seek hegemony, let alone intimidate small countries.” The Chinese president said his country was “ready to sign the protocol to the Southeast Asia Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Treaty as soon as possible.”
But Dutton said China’s criticism of Aukus does not stand up to scrutiny, in light of its own rapid military build-up. He said China has 355 ships and submarines, and that figure is expected to rise to 460 by 2030. He said Australia’s submarines will be powered by nuclear power, not nuclear.
Dutton challenged critics to point out anything he said that was factually incorrect, while conceding “it might be, you know, diplomatically more adequate for me not to mention some of these facts” . He said it would be wrong to “pretend that China is like 10 years ago”. Dutton said China was “a very different country under the current president”.
In his speech at Australian National University, Wong supported the Australian government’s position opposing trade actions China has taken against Australia’s export sectors over the past 18 months – what the Morrison government has called of “economic coercion”.
Wong said China has changed and its actions in various contexts are not “the behavior of a responsible world power.”
“There will be lasting differences that need to be managed and addressed by whoever is in government,” Wong said.