Australian Defense Minister Says Possibility of Military Conflict in Indo-Pacific Region No Longer Distant

Australian Defense Minister Peter Dutton said Australia will not build deep military cooperation with China; it wants more military cooperation with its ally, the United States, and would like to see more U.S. troops in Australia.

“The Sydney Morning Herald and Melbourne’s Century newspaper reported on Thursday that Peter Dutton was speaking at a conference at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute.

Dutton also pointed out that the Indo-Pacific region has entered the most complex and unpredictable period since World War II, which he attributed to the intense strategic competition between China and the United States, the emergence of new disruptive technologies, and the frequent “gray zone” nuisance behavior of some countries.

Duden criticized the actions of some countries in the Indo-Pacific region as undermining regional peace; as a result, “the possibility of military conflict has become less remote than in the past.

There is no doubt that this is a problem for China to face; it is our position and historical reality in Australia,” Durden said.

We are committed to seeking a constructive relationship with China, but we don’t accept lawlessness, we don’t accept interference in our elections, we don’t accept interference through democratic or non-democratic processes, we crave regional peace and we will continue to work for that,” said Durden, according to the Central News Agency.

Duden mentioned the possibility of additional U.S. military presence in Australia; he believes this is in the national security interests of both Australia and the United States.

According to the Australian Department of Defense website, the U.S. Marine Rotation Force-Darwin (MRF-D) has been training in the Northern Territory of Australia in arid terrain since 2012; from 200 personnel in 2012, there will be as many as 2,500 in 2019.

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) reported that Duden mentioned during a conference at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute that a U.S. warship could be stationed at HMAS Stirling near Perth, the capital of Western Australia, in the future.

At one point during the conference, Durden was asked if the world was moving toward a war situation in which the two camps of democracy and dictatorship were pitted against each other; Durden said, “I think so.”