Australia should be “very concerned” about China’s ambition to woo Pacific island nations and its intention to expand foreign military operations, a defense analyst says.
Chinese state media reported this week that President Xi Jinping had signed an order expanding the legal basis for the country’s military to conduct “armed forces operations” other than war in other territories.
Kori Schake, director of foreign and defense policy studies at the Washington DC-based American Enterprise Institute is the latest to warn against China’s motives.
She described what effectively amounts to new military doctrine for the Chinese People’s Liberation Army as “potentially very serious.”
“The Chinese are trying to push back their base and parking agreements more and more to complicate a possible defense of Taiwan by the United States and other countries,” she told ABC Radio on Friday morning.
“We must ensure that we maintain the ability to provide Taiwan with the kind of assistance that will enable it to protect itself against a potential Chinese invasion, blockade or attack.”
Asked about China’s charm offensive in the Australian region, Ms Schake didn’t mince words.
“I think Australia should be very concerned,” she said.
Ms. Schake is steeped in defense history and previously worked for US Secretary of State Colin Powell and Senator John McCain, who lost the presidential election to Barack Obama in 2008.
She believes Australia is a “frontline state” to counter China’s external aggression.
Since taking office, Australia’s new foreign minister, Penny Wong, has made a whirlwind trip to Pacific island nations in a bid to improve bilateral relations – which US observers say is key to curbing China’s “malicious” expansion.
“Australia is acting with such confidence, commitment and wanting to help Pacific nations maintain their sovereignty against Chinese pressure, that’s really valuable,” Ms Schake said.
“Your country and mine have left too much unchallenged space for the Chinese to provide investment, to provide security [in the Pacific]”.
The official decision this week by the Chinese leader to expand his country’s military remit has raised eyebrows, with some observers comparing it to the language used by Vladimir Putin to justify his invasion of Ukraine.
Do you have a tip for the story? Email: [email protected]
You can also follow us on Facebook, instagram, ICT Tac and Twitter and download the Yahoo News app from the App store Where google play.