Peter Dutton seemed to suggest that he would be willing to send Australian troops to fight and die over Taiwan.
After an aggressive speech about the threat from China, the defense minister was asked whether ADF parents can expect their children to “go to Taiwan to fight and maybe die.”
The minister did not immediately answer the question, but said it would be “disastrous” for Australia if it did not support the US in a possible conflict with China.
Peter Dutton (pictured today) has warned that Chinese missiles could reach any Australian city in an aggressive speech about Beijing’s growing military might.
“I would like to say to those parents that we stand up for the values that their ancestors stood up for and that we as a country have always stood for,” he told the National Press Club.
“And we will do it with a capacity, ability and power that is respected around the world and that makes us a valuable partner with those wonderful friends.
And if we are a weak and untrustworthy and untrustworthy friend, then in the future we don’t expect support from those countries, especially the United States, and I think that would be disastrous not only for this generation, but for generations. moms and dads and members of the ADF and we have to be very honest about that.’
China’s Growing Military Power
355 ships and submarines
Coastguard of 130 ships of 1,000 tons
2,000 ballistic ground missiles with a range of up to 5,500 km
Expect to reach between 700 and 1,000 warheads
Source: speech by Peter Dutton
Earlier this month, Mr Dutton warned it would be “unthinkable” if Australia did not join its main ally, the US, in a war over Taiwan.
China claims Taiwan as its own territory and has vowed to take it by force if necessary, while Taiwan says it is an independent country and will defend its freedoms and democracy.
The US has taken a stance of “strategic ambiguity,” meaning it doesn’t make it clear whether it would support Taiwan, but at the same time sell weapons to the island.
Mr Dutton made his comment after former Prime Minister Paul Keating said Australia must stay out of any war.
“Taiwan is not a vital Australian interest,” he told the National Press Club earlier this month.
‘We have no alliance with Taipei, none. In my opinion, Australia should not be involved in a military engagement over Taiwan, whether or not sponsored by the US.’
Also in his aggressive speech, Mr Dutton warned that Chinese missiles could reach any Australian city.
The defense minister said China has the largest navy in the world, consisting of 355 ships and submarines, and also warned of its growing nuclear capability.
Over the next decade, nuclear stockpiles in China, estimated to be in the 200s last year, are expected to reach between 700 and 1,000 nuclear warheads, he told the National Press Club.
“Every major city in Australia, including Hobart, is within range of China’s missiles.”
His comments came after it was revealed that a Chinese spy ship had been lurking off the Australian coast for three weeks, passing several major military bases in August and September.
The Dongdiao-class spy ship entered the 200km exclusive economic zone off the coast of Darwin in August.
The ships are equipped with advanced antennas and radar technology that allow them to monitor the defenses. China has used them to spy on Taiwan.
The ship ventured south and sailed along the east coast before passing ‘one of Australia’s premier military training areas’ at Shoalwater Bay, Queensland.
Last month, Taiwan reported that 148 Chinese Air Force planes had flown over its air defense zone (pictured) over a four-day period, starting the same day China marked a major patriotic holiday, National Day
A Chinese spy ship was spotted lurking off the Australian coast for three weeks, passing several major military bases (photo, surveillance ship used by China to monitor military exercises between Australia and the United States)
It then passed several training areas used by the Royal Australian Airforce before traveling offshore to Sydney.
The ship then traveled across the Tasman and to New Zealand in September.
Defense sources say they were surprised by the ship’s arrival, the Daily Telegraph reported.
China has regularly sent guard ships to Australia and followed the Talisman Saber’s military exercises with the United States in 2017, 2019 and July 2021.
Three Chinese warships also entered Sydney Harbor unannounced on the eve of the anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre in 2019.
A defense source described the most recent visit as unusual because no military exercises took place.
The route of the Chinese spy ship (above)
Foreign ships may enter the exclusive economic zone, but may not enter within 12 nautical miles of the coast.
The Dongdiao-class spy ship was shadowed by the Australian naval boat HMAS Supply.
A Defense spokesman said the ship had been closely monitored.
“Australia is monitoring all ships operating in our maritime (area),” the spokesperson said.
“Australia supports and respects the rights of all states to exercise the lawful freedom of navigation … in international waters, just as we expect them to respect our right to do so.”
The ship’s sighting comes as tensions between Australia and China continue to mount.
China’s acting ambassador to Australia Wang Xining called Australia the “naughty guy” in an interview with Guardian Australia about the AUKUS pact with the United States and the United Kingdom.
China has in recent years ignited tensions in the South China Sea by expanding its claimed territory, over objections from its Asia-Pacific neighbors
He accused Australia of being a ‘saber-bearer’ and warned it against ‘doing anything that could be destructive to our relationship’.
Defense Secretary Peter Dutton called the comments “so stupid it’s funny”.
Dutton said the acting ambassador read a script from the Communist Party.
“We don’t see (this) from any other ambassador here in Australia. Remarkable,” the minister told the Nine Network on Friday.
“These provocative kind of comedic statements – really, it’s so stupid it’s funny.
“Most Australians see through the unproductive nature of the comments and they should be rejected in that vein.”
Ship sighting comes as tensions between Australia and China continue to mount