China Is Australia’s ‘Biggest Security Anxiety’: Australian Deputy Prime Minister

Richard Marles, Australia’s Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister has said China is Australia’s “biggest security anxiety” as Beijing expands its influence among the Pacific island nations.Marles warned that China would “maintain an interest” in the Pacific, even though Beijing was forced to shelve a sweeping security and economic deal with 10 nations in the region. “We can expect China will maintain an interest in the Pacific, and really the point here is we need to be focusing on our own relationships in the Pacific,” he told Sky News Australia’s Pete Stefanovic. “Unlike the former [Coalition] government, we’re actually going to do the work, and I believe if we do the work, we will be the natural partner of choice for the countries in the Pacific.” Despite shelving the proposed deal, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) vowed to continue to “make greater efforts to advance the comprehensive strategic partnership” with Pacific nations. Meanwhile, Beijing and leaders from 10 Pacific nations did pledge increased bilateral cooperation in a range of areas, including scholarships, infrastructure, maritime industries, humanitarian and COVID-19 assistance, and climate change. Australia’s new Prime Minister Anthony Albanese (C) poses with his new cabinet ministers, Penny Wong (L) and Richard Marles, after the oath-taking ceremony at Government House in Canberra, Australia, on May 23, 2022. (Saeed Khan/AFP via Getty Images) The Deputy Prime Minister argued that Beijing’s actions in the Pacific region have affected Australia’s strategic framework and posed “enormous challenges for us.” “It shapes our strategic circumstances… and our strategic circumstances are as complex as they have been since the end of the Second World War and China is a key part of that,” he said. “We need to make sure we are doing everything we can to have the courage to articulate Australia’s national interests when that differs from Chinese action.” Beijing’s move to reach a security deal with the Solomon Islands first drew international concern in April. As Wang Yi, China’s Foreign Minister, embarked on an eight-nation tour of the Pacific, Australia sent its newly appointed Foreign Minister, Penny Wong, to the region to dampen concerns and counter the CCP’s influence. Wong travelled to Fiji just before Wang Yi met with government officials in the capital city Suva, promising climate change investment in the Pacific. Liberal Senator James Paterson in the Senate at Parliament House in Canberra, Australia, on Nov. 21, 2016. (AAP Image/Mick Tsikas) Liberal senator James Paterson, who chaired the parliamentary committee on intelligence and security under the Coalition, said Canberra needs to be upfront in calling China the biggest security threat to Australia. “It’s true to say it’s Australia’s greatest anxiety, but we should also be honest and speak plainly and say they are our greatest security threat as well,” Paterson told Sky News. “We are not investing $270 billion over the next decade in acquiring new defence capability just for the fun of it. “We’re acquiring it because we believe it’s necessary to deter potential aggressors, including China.” Follow

China Is Australia’s ‘Biggest Security Anxiety’: Australian Deputy Prime Minister

Richard Marles, Australia’s Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister has said China is Australia’s “biggest security anxiety” as Beijing expands its influence among the Pacific island nations.

Marles warned that China would “maintain an interest” in the Pacific, even though Beijing was forced to shelve a sweeping security and economic deal with 10 nations in the region.

“We can expect China will maintain an interest in the Pacific, and really the point here is we need to be focusing on our own relationships in the Pacific,” he told Sky News Australia’s Pete Stefanovic.

“Unlike the former [Coalition] government, we’re actually going to do the work, and I believe if we do the work, we will be the natural partner of choice for the countries in the Pacific.”

Despite shelving the proposed deal, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) vowed to continue to “make greater efforts to advance the comprehensive strategic partnership” with Pacific nations.

Meanwhile, Beijing and leaders from 10 Pacific nations did pledge increased bilateral cooperation in a range of areas, including scholarships, infrastructure, maritime industries, humanitarian and COVID-19 assistance, and climate change.

Epoch Times Photo
Australia’s new Prime Minister Anthony Albanese (C) poses with his new cabinet ministers, Penny Wong (L) and Richard Marles, after the oath-taking ceremony at Government House in Canberra, Australia, on May 23, 2022. (Saeed Khan/AFP via Getty Images)

The Deputy Prime Minister argued that Beijing’s actions in the Pacific region have affected Australia’s strategic framework and posed “enormous challenges for us.”

“It shapes our strategic circumstances… and our strategic circumstances are as complex as they have been since the end of the Second World War and China is a key part of that,” he said.

“We need to make sure we are doing everything we can to have the courage to articulate Australia’s national interests when that differs from Chinese action.”

Beijing’s move to reach a security deal with the Solomon Islands first drew international concern in April.

As Wang Yi, China’s Foreign Minister, embarked on an eight-nation tour of the Pacific, Australia sent its newly appointed Foreign Minister, Penny Wong, to the region to dampen concerns and counter the CCP’s influence.

Wong travelled to Fiji just before Wang Yi met with government officials in the capital city Suva, promising climate change investment in the Pacific.

Epoch Times Photo
Liberal Senator James Paterson in the Senate at Parliament House in Canberra, Australia, on Nov. 21, 2016. (AAP Image/Mick Tsikas)

Liberal senator James Paterson, who chaired the parliamentary committee on intelligence and security under the Coalition, said Canberra needs to be upfront in calling China the biggest security threat to Australia.

“It’s true to say it’s Australia’s greatest anxiety, but we should also be honest and speak plainly and say they are our greatest security threat as well,” Paterson told Sky News.

“We are not investing $270 billion over the next decade in acquiring new defence capability just for the fun of it.

“We’re acquiring it because we believe it’s necessary to deter potential aggressors, including China.”


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