Marles responds to Dutton for criticism of China

Marles responds to Dutton for criticism of China

Defense Minister Richard Marles has hit back at Opposition Leader Peter Dutton over accusations that the Albanian government is “weak” on China, criticizing the Coalition for allowing the relationship to fall apart when they were in government.

Defense Minister Richard Marles met his Chinese defense counterpart at the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore. Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles said the pair “covered a lot of ground” at the meeting. “It was also a good meeting; It lasted longer than expected,” Marles told Sky News political editor Andrew Clennell.

“It’s not what adults do,” Marles said, responding to the suggestion that he should take a more confrontational approach with his Chinese counterpart.

Richard Marles spoke to Sunday Agenda following his meeting with his Chinese counterpart Dong Jun, in which the Defense Minister raised two “unsafe and unprofessional” incidents in the South China Sea.

Australia’s Defense Minister has responded to opposition leader Peter Dutton following criticism of the Albanian government’s approach to China. Image: Sky News Australia

Asked about Coalition criticism that the Albanese government was “weak” on China, Marles responded, criticizing the Coalition for allowing the relationship with China to fall apart when they were in office.

“We heard Peter Dutton say you should answer the phone; There was no telephone when the liberals were in power,” he said.

“If you look at the way they got involved, it basically consisted of standing up and yelling at the world. I mean, the result of that was, to be frank, not treating China with respect,” he said.

“They may say they don’t care, but the consequence of not participating in a professional and respectful manner meant two things. Firstly, it meant that everything stopped in the areas where we can cooperate, such as trade.

“But it also meant that in areas where we have differences, where there are interactions, where our men and women are on the front lines wearing our nation’s uniform in our defense force, there was actually no possibility of having a conversation with China about that as well. .

“They had absolutely no ability to communicate with China about anything, not even to give a difficult message.”

Defense Minister Richard Marles met his Chinese counterpart on Saturday, a month after a Royal Australian Navy helicopter was forced to take evasive action when a Chinese fighter jet fired flares in its vicinity. Image: supplied.

Minister Marles met with China’s Defense Minister at the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore on Saturday, with the aim of increasing understanding so that military operations can be carried out as safely as possible.

“Obviously, we have seen some…incidents that were both unsafe and unprofessional,” the Defense Minister said.

“But having a dialogue like this allows us to understand much better what we are doing and creates much greater security for our men and women who wear uniform.”

Last month it was revealed that a Royal Australian Navy helicopter was forced to take evasive action after a Chinese fighter jet fired flares in its path. This followed revelations in November last year that navy divers were subjected to sonar pulses from a nearby Chinese warship.

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Both incidents occurred in the South China Sea, international waters over which China illegally claims sovereignty.

“I obviously raised both issues,” Marles said.

“One of the things we must do in our relationship with China… is to speak clearly and make sure that we are as we say, we do not agree on what we should.

“That means making it clear where we have differences and where there are issues that need to be raised and highlighted, and certainly those two incidents in the last six or seven months justify that.”

Beijing claims Australia was trying to spy on naval exercises and changes its explanation for why it confronted an Australian helicopter last week. An incident occurred in the Yellow Sea when a Chinese fighter jet entered the airspace of an Australian helicopter, after which the fighter jet emitted flares, forcing the helicopter to perform an emergency evasive maneuver. Both parties blame each other for this incident, which occurred last Saturday. A Chinese military spokesman said the helicopter had approached Chinese airspace. However, China has now claimed that the Australian helicopter was trying to spy on a naval exercise. The Australian government has denied this claim.

Asked if there were any other incidents between the Australian Defense Force and the Chinese military, Marles said there was “a lot of interaction” between the two countries’ militaries, but the only “unsafe and unprofessional” incidents that have occurred are the two that have already been made public.

“When there have been incidents that have been unsafe and unprofessional, we have spoken about them… because they pose a significant danger to Australian Defense Force personnel.

“And it’s important for the world to understand what’s happening here, and that’s why we’re making it public. Of course, we also raised these issues with China immediately, as we did with both incidents that occurred.”

“There are many directorates among our defense forces that are professional and safe… But it cannot be that way most of the time. It has to be all the time.