Canberra (Reuters) – Australia’s defense minister said on Friday that China’s “dangerous measures” were inconsistent with promoting peace and prosperity in the region.
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 “incited 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)