Defense Minister begins high-level talks with Australia


China has cut off the freeze on diplomatic relations with Australia and cut off its relationship with China’s defense minister, Wei Fenghe, who will have dinner with Australia’s new deputy prime minister and defense minister, Richard Marles.

Mr. Mars said that the conference held in Singapore was Shangri-La Dialog Sunday’s Defense Summit was welcomed, allowing Australia’s new Albany government to make a “very straightforward and complete exchange” between “the two countries of the Indo-Pacific result.”

“It’s been three years since the defense ministers of both countries met. This was an important meeting welcomed by the Australian government,” Marls told reporters at a press conference in Singapore.

“Opportunity for a very frank and complete exchange that raises many concerns about Australia, including the May 26 incident on Australia’s P-8 aircraft and Australia’s relentless interest in the Pacific Ocean and our concerns. It was to prevent Pacific countries from being in a position to promote militarization. “

Mr. Mars commented that the conference was an important first step and that “it is very important to have an open dialogue space in this era” by U.S. Secretary of State Jane Austen. Repeated.

“The relationship between Australia and China is complex, and it is really important that we are now engaged in dialogue because of this complexity,” Marls said.

The comment from Mars is after the left-wing Labor government does not hesitate to defend Australia’s national interests, but “respects us, including those with which we have complex relationships.”

“This includes China,” he said. He also said there would be “changes in Australia’s tone” under New Labor Prime Minister Anthony Albanese.

“Australia’s approach is based on our determination to protect national interests and support the security and stability of the region in accordance with the rules. We are steady and consistent, China’s growing power and that is us. Finding a way of cooperation in which they exist, recognizing how they are reshaping their region. “

and interview Marls, along with Bloomberg, also emphasized that Australia has one China policy and will not support Taiwan’s independence.

“We do not support Taiwan’s independence. We do not support unilateral actions that would change the status quo on either side of the Taiwan Strait. The resolutions of the Taiwanese people must be agreed, by agreement. It’s a problem that must be taken, and that’s our point of view. We have one Chinese policy firmly and we don’t support Taiwan’s independence, “he said.

Epoch Times Photo
Australia’s Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister Richard Marles will speak at the Shangri-La Dialog Summit in Singapore on June 11, 2022. (ROSLAN RAHMAN / AFP via Getty Images)

Comments said Marls did not disclose his “pro-China” speech at the Chinese embassy in Canbella, and a parliamentary trip to Beijing in 2019 that cost taxpayers $ 6,191 ($ 4,390). It will come about two months after being criticized.

The May federal elections also revealed that Marls had been involved with Chinese diplomats at least 10 times since 2017, despite deteriorating bilateral relations between Australia and China. .. Mars defended his actions, stating that holding these meetings was completely transparent to the coalition government at the time.

The Labor Party’s Shadow Minister at the time also wrote a short book entitled “The Tide of Binding: Australia in the Pacific” advocating a stronger presence from Beijing in the Pacific region.

Defense Minister Andrew Hasty welcomed the talks between Mars and the Chinese defense minister, saying the former coalition government would have welcomed the talks with Beijing sooner. But he said he wasn’t surprised that it was Mars that Beijing felt comfortable with the meeting.

“We always wanted to talk. We needed a dialogue, but it was frozen for some reason, so this is good to see,” Hasty said. interview On Sunday Sky News. “But it’s no surprise that they chose Richard Mars, given his previous comments on his defense cooperation with China in Beijing and, of course, his relationship with the former Ambassador of Canberra. “

But Hasty said the meeting was not “the moment Nixon went to China.”

“The meeting test is the result of that, so I want to know if the Chinese have withdrawn their 14 demands,” Hasty said. “Did you apologize for the P-8’s crew becoming lazy in the Arafura Sea in February and the P-8’s crew in the South China Sea being intercepted by Chinese fighters last month?”

He also warned that Australia would exchange its value or sovereignty in these discussions.

“We certainly can’t trade off our values ​​and sovereignty. It doesn’t matter here. We limit press freedom in this country, abolish foreign interferometry, Huawei 5G. We did not issue 14 requests, including requests to get them to participate in the network, “he said.

Meanwhile, Australia’s defense secretary and former Australian Security Intelligence Organization (ASIO) Secretary Dennis Richardson from 2012 to 2017, Beijing has pressured and challenged local players to establish it. A military presence in the Pacific that said it would continue.

He said this would greatly complicate the Australian and US defense programs. It is “ultimately what the Chinese are”.

“This is not only a challenge for today or tomorrow, but also a challenge for the next decade,” says Richardson. I told ABC Radio.

“Every time the Chinese step into this area to promote security interests in the South Pacific, we have to repel and always win the contest.”

“We have to win everything, they have to win only once.”

Nina Nguyen contributed to this report.

Victoria Kelly Clark


Victoria Kelly-Clark is an Australian-based reporter focusing on the national political and geopolitical environment of the Asia-Pacific region, the Middle East and Central Asia.