Canberra (Reuters) – Australia’s defense minister said on Friday that China’s “dangerous measures” in promoting peace and prosperity in the region were not compatible with the sighting of a Chinese naval vessel in the Australian Special Economic Zone.
Defense Minister Peter Dutton cites China’s militarization in the South China Sea, the recent occupation of Taiwan and the introduction of a national security law in Hong Kong as examples of the conflict between China’s actions and its rhetoric.
“We are all well aware of the frequent assertion that the Chinese government is committed to peace, cooperation and development,” Peter Dutton said in a speech in Canberra.
“Yet we see a significant contradiction between words and deeds. We are paying close attention to how the Chinese government is engaging in increasingly dangerous activities.”
The Chinese embassy in Canberra said Peter Dutton had distorted China’s foreign policy, deceived the Australian people and “provoked conflict and division between people and nations.”
“If the Australian government bases its national strategy on such an analysis, it is unthinkable that the Sino-Australian relationship will develop properly,” he said in a statement.
(Colin Backham and Byron Gay; French version by Camille Renaud)