And senator Eric Abetz said China‘s increasingly belligerent rhetoric was viewed with unease in his country – stressing conflict needed to be averted at all costs. Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced plans to increase Australia’s defence budget sharply earlier this year – and while he did not mention China by name, it was clear Beijing’s activities in the waterway, where it has built military fortifications on numerous uninhabited islands, were a major factor.
Tasmanian senator Mr Abetz, who is a member of the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Legislation Committee, told Express.co.uk: “Australia allowed its defence expenditure as a percentage of its GDP to slip to historically low levels, something which the Liberal Government has been rectifying since its election in 2013.
“Further, there is unease at the aggressive build-up by a major player in our region.
“The extra outlays are to modernise defence materiel and preparedness in all spheres of our defences – from submarines through to land warfare.”
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Xi Jinping, President of Chinaa
Senator Eric Abetz said China’s behaviour was “highly provocative”
Mr Abetz said: “The Chinese Communist dictatorship’s illegal land grab is seen as indicative of a mindset