Australian defense officials and politicians alike are striking an increasingly hawkish tone on China. This week, it was revealed that a former top general warned his troops last year of the “high likelihood” of war with China. This comes just days after Australian Defense Minister Peter Dutton raised eyebrows with his assessment that Chinese bullying of Taiwan could lead to a regional conflict.
Canberra’s more muscular posture, coupled with an increase in defense spending even amid the pandemic, spells an unusually confrontational approach toward China for a country that once tried to balance its economic relations with its largest trading partner against its decades-old defense commitments to the United States. Washington is repaying Canberra’s efforts, redoubling diplomatic and military engagement with Australian counterparts to jointly plan any response to Chinese aggression toward Taiwan.
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