Defence Minister calls out China as “unsettling” the region and risking Australian security.
Western Australian Linda Reynolds has stopped shying away from the C-word… China.
In a speech to the Australian Strategic Policy Institute in Canberra today, Defence Minister and WA Senator Linda Reynolds won’t hold back in singling out China as one of the biggest threats of the region.
It marks a major change in rhetoric from the Government, which has up until the last few months spoken in more vague terms about “geopolitical changes” and “sophisticated state actors”, while avoiding the C-word at all costs.
But that all changed this week.
The Prime Minister also starts calling out our not-so-friendly neighbour
Scott Morrison yesterday released a Defence Strategic Update that unveiled $270B in spending to protect Australia in the new, “more dangerous” post-COVID world order.
But, a quick control-F of his speech finds numerous mentions of China, something which really hasn’t been the case in how the Government has tackled the issue until now.
“Tensions over territorial claims are rising across the Indo-Pacific region, as we have seen recently on the disputed border between India and China, and the South China Sea, and the East China Sea,” he said in Canberra.
Mr Morrison followed the talk about these border disputes with a warning that the “the risk of miscalculation and even conflict is heightening”.
Reynolds steps it up a notch
While Mr Morrison talked about the “tension” China was causing the whole Indo-Pacific, Senator Reynolds stepped up the rhetoric today and said, unequivocally, Australia’s stability was being threatened by the communist state
“They have not positively contributed to Australia’s… security and stability,” she said.
Senator Reynolds said while Australia would continue its relationship with China, it was committed to “the careful management” of that relationship.
Keeping up with the rising superpower
Many of the capabilities outlined in the Defence Strategic Update yesterday were in line with the capabilities China has already mastered.
For example about $10 billion will be spent to acquire hypersonic missiles, something Australia currently doesn’t have.
A further $7 billion will be put into space.
“To counter rapidly emerging space threats, we will invest in the Australian Defence Force’s space control capabilities – such as space-based intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance,” she said.
It comes after China launched its sixth satellite as part of a series that will “monitor the oceans”, something which will allow them to keep an eye on countries’ naval movements.
Subs subs subs
Given the threats to Australia would likely come from – you guessed it – the ocean, a huge amount of money is being put into naval capabilities.
But of most importance are submarines (not as easy to be “monitored” from above).
Senator Reynolds said submarines would “underpin Australia’s credibility and influence as a modern military power”.
And yet, there’s still no date on when we can expect that decision on Full Cycle Docking.
Remember that? The one meant to be made by the end of last year?
Turns out that despite releasing an extensive Defence Strategy Update and Force Structure Plan, the Government still has no date for us on when it will decide whether FCD will be based out of SA or WA.
Twitter: Defence Minister @lindareynoldswa discusses China and the government’s new military strategy.
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