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  • Defence Minister Peter Dutton said on Sunday that conflict with China over Taiwan “should not be discounted”
  • He added that while the Australian defence force is prepared to meet any threats, Canberra will work to keep the status quo
  • Last week, Beijing warned Australia of “further damage to bilateral relations” after two deals made by Victoria with China were cancelled
  • Australia’s relationship with China was first frayed in 2018, when Australia became the first country to publicly ban Huawei from its 5G network
  • The situation then worsened last year after Canberra called for an independent inquiry into the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic

Defence Minister Peter Dutton said on Sunday that conflict with China over Taiwan “should not be discounted” but that Australia would work with its allies in the region to maintain peace.

“People need to be realistic about the activity,” Dutton said in a televised interview with the ABC, noting China’s increasingly clear ambitions about its unification with Taiwan.

“There is militarisation of bases across the region. Obviously, there is a significant amount of activity and there is an animosity between Taiwan and China.”

He added that while the Australian defence force is prepared to meet any threats, Canberra will work to keep the status quo.

“We want to make sure we continue to be a good neighbour in the region, that we work with our partners and with our allies and nobody wants to see conflict between China and Taiwan or anywhere else,” Dutton said.

Last week, Beijing warned Australia of “further damage to bilateral relations” after two deals made by Victoria with China under the Belt and Road Initiative were cancelled on Wednesday.

Australia’s relationship with its largest trade partner first began to fray in 2018, when Australia became the first country to publicly ban Chinese tech giant Huawei from its 5G network.

The situation then worsened last year after Canberra called for an independent inquiry into the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic.

It’s therefore little surprise that China has taken a negative view on Australia’s defence of Taiwan and its battle to maintain independence.

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