Chinese State Media Issues ‘Extreme Danger’ Warning To Australia After 2024 National Defense Strategy Paper

Chinese state media has issued an “extreme danger” warning to Australia after the key U.S. ally released its 2024 National Defense Strategy on Monday.

Australian Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles, who is also the minister for defense, posted a speech online on Wednesday outlining the country’s defense concerns.

“Our environment is characterized by the uncertainty and tensions of entrenched and increasing strategic competition between the United States and China; large-scale war has returned to the European continent; and conflict is once again gripping the Middle East,” Marles said.

He then quoted the 2024 National Defense Strategy, which states: “China has employed coercive tactics in pursuit of its strategic objectives, including forceful handling of territorial disputes and unsafe intercepts of vessels and aircraft operating in international waters and airspace in accordance with international law.”

The defense strategy includes an additional $5.7 billion over the next four years and $50.3 billion over the next 10 years to be poured into defense investments, including $11.1 billion over the next decade “to deliver the Government’s response to the independent analysis of Navy’s surface combatant fleet.”

The Global Times, a nationalistic English-language tabloid published by the propaganda department of the ruling Communist Party, criticized Australia’s defense strategy in an opinion piece published on Thursday, calling it “a serious miscalculation of the situation in the Asia-Pacific region, a misjudgment of China’s strategic intentions and a wrong position.”

Tensions between China and Taiwan in the South China Sea continue to grow. China claims sovereignty over the Tiawan Strait, as it does most of the South China Sea. Taiwan and the U.S., which considers Taiwan a key partner in the Indo-Pacific, have disputed China’s claims.

This month, the U.S. and Australia conducted joint naval deployments in the South China Sea despite objections from China.

The U.S. Navy’s Seventh Fleet said on April 9 that the USS Mobile, an Independence-class littoral combat ship, operated in the waters the previous day alongside the Australian navy’s Anzac-class frigate HMAS Warramunga.

Both warships were part of a multinational naval joint patrol on April 7 in support of the Philippines—the U.S.’s oldest treaty ally in Asia—which is pushing back against sweeping Chinese territorial claims in Manila’s exclusive economic zone.

The Global Times, whose views do not always reflect official policy in China, painted Australia as the problem, writing that the two nations “have no historical grudges or fundamental conflicts of interest, and China has no intention of treating Australia as an enemy, but it is always described as a ‘threat’ by Australia.”

The newspaper warned that “it’s Australia’s defense strategy of aligning itself with the US against China that may actually increase its own risks in the long run. This approach is self-inflicted, and it will not bring any benefits to Australia, but rather pose extreme danger.”

When asked for comment by Newsweek on Friday about the Global Times’ opinion piece and Australia’s recent actions, the Chinese Embassy referred to a statement made by Lin Jian, the spokesperson of China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Monday.

“China is committed to peaceful development and a national defense policy that is defensive in nature. We stay committed to the peace and stability of the Asia-Pacific region and the wider world, and pose no threat to any country,” Lin said.

“The security risks in the region mainly come from some major countries outside the region. They have been forming exclusive groupings, stoking bloc confrontation, and in particular, muddying the waters in the South China Sea, as if the world needed any more instability. China firmly opposes it.

“We hope Australia will correctly view China’s development and strategic intentions, abandon the Cold-War mentality, do more things to keep the region peaceful and stable, and stop buzzing about China.”

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