China ‘seriously concerned’ by Australian defense document

AP

Chinese officials say they are “seriously concerned” by an Australian strategic evaluation of the South China Sea and warned Australia against compromising the stability of the Asia-Pacific region.

Australia announced a 20-year plan Thursday to bolster its naval strength with more submarines and warships as part of a military buildup it said was needed to maintain peace in the region.

The strategic document, the Defense White Paper, said Australia was “particularly concerned by the unprecedented pace and scale of China’s land reclamation activities” in the South China Sea.

While not taking sides on competing territorial claims, Australia opposed “the use of artificial structures in the South China Sea for military purposes” and the assertion of maritime rights not recognized by international law.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told a press conference later Thursday that China was “seriously concerned about and dissatisfied with the White Paper’s negative statement on issues concerning the South China Sea and the development of China’s military strength.”

Chinese Defense Ministry spokesman Col. Wu Qian appeared to warn Australia against following the United States’ lead by sailing near one of the Beijing-controlled islands in the Paracel chain.

“We urge the Australian side to cherish the hard-won good momentum of development in bilateral relations and don’t take part in or conduct any activities that may compromise the stability of the region,” he said.

“The military alliance between Australia and the U.S. should get rid of the Cold War mentality,” he added. Chinese officials use the phrase “Cold War mentality” to refer to thinking that harks back to an era when the world was less integrated.

Asked for comment about the document, the Chinese Embassy on Friday referred The AP to the two officials’ comments.

The document also said the United States will remain the pre-eminent global military power and will continue to be Australia’s most important strategic partner over the next two decades.

A major conflict between the United States and China was unlikely, but friction between the two powers over the East China and South China Seas could raise tensions, it said.

“It will be important for regional stability that China provides reassurance to its neighbors by being more transparent about its defense policies,” it said.

  • Anaguma

    China is the one doing the “destabilizing,” and its unaccountable government is able to carry one action and give lip service to another. It’s expanding at the expense of Vietnam, the Philippines, and Malaysia forming what could be construed as a new “East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere.”

  • CLJF

    China can be “concerned” and “dissatisfied” all it likes but the fact is that it brought this on itself. If it thinks neighboring countries are going to sit idly by and do nothing while China builds illegal structures, steals territory and continually harasses, threatens and bullies others then is gravely mistaken. No wonder it doesn’t have any real friends.

    • Exnavydiver

      We all have sofar, thats what bullies thrive on. United we stand. Devided we fall!

  • CLJF

    China can be “concerned” and “dissatisfied” all it likes but the fact is that it brought this on itself. If it thinks neighboring countries are going to sit idly by and do nothing while China builds illegal structures, steals territory and continually harasses, threatens and bullies others then is gravely mistaken. No wonder it doesn’t have any real friends.

  • CaptainAsia

    Boy o boy, the hypocrisy of red China. Shut ur trap China, mind your own business and stay out of Australian internal decisions.

  • Exnavydiver

    Its a sick joke! We know China along with Russia, Nth Korea and Iran are all in bed with each other. On one hand we politely say in the white paper that China is our regions biggest threat, but on the other we let them come in by the 10’s of thousands, buy up all our farms, dairies and realestate. Its akin to allowing a bunch Catholic Pedofile priests take your kids for the school holidays, and promising you can trust them. How stupid are we! As for the rest of the region they should have grown some balls along with that useless Obama and showed unity years ago when the Chinese started the reclamations. He has shown all the bad guys he’s nutless! The world (Australia especially) should apply the same rules and restrictions they subject us to, back to them. Including the orcastrated minupulation of their undervalued currency!