China’s actions not Australian words are the problem

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By Michael Shoebridge*

There’s a greater likelihood of major conflict in the Indo-Pacific region now than at any time since the end of the Vietnam War.

That’s why the Australian government’s 2020 defence strategic update ended the longstanding planning assumption for the Australian Defence Force that we would have 10 years of strategic warning time to prepare for military conflict.

The Chinese government under Xi Jinping is the major driver of this stark assessment because of its creation of a People’s Liberation Army that is able to project power—and in particular because of its use of the PLA to take over disputed areas in the South China Seaand build military bases there, its use of the PLA on the India–China border, and the high tempo of its aggression in the East China Sea and in the airspace and sea around Taiwan.

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