Australia has noted concerns over a Chinese funded port in Sri Lanka and China’s Belt and Road Initiative.
China funded and jointly operates the Hambantota port.
Australian Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton warned Australia would “call out” foreign interference in universities, as well as cyber hacks and theft of intellectual property (IP), insisting it was the right thing to do, ABC News reported.
It represents some of the strongest language yet from a Federal Government minister on the threat posed by China.
“Our issue is not with the Chinese people, not with the amazing Chinese diaspora community we have here in Australia, my issue is with the Communist Party of China and their policies to the extent that they’re inconsistent with our own values,” Dutton said.
Dutton criticised China’s Belt and Road Initiative, which promises to be the biggest infrastructure project in history.
Roads, railways and sea ports are being built to facilitate trade and link China’s economy to two thirds of the world’s population, with about 7,000 projects to be completed in more than 70 Asian, African and European countries.
“We have got issues in the South China Sea, issues in Sri Lanka in the development of a port there. There is discussion in Pakistan and India on these matters at the moment, issues in Africa as well. The Belt and Road Initiative is well known, the Chinese have laid that out and I think the frank conversation is the right one to have.”
Dutton also defended the Federal Government’s decision to ban Chinese telecommunications company Huawei from supplying equipment to Australia’s 5G mobile network.
“The cyber world that we’re on the cusp of is hardly imagined by many Australians,” he said.
“5G, the internet of things, the connectivity, buildings of devices around the world that will be upon us within a matter of years is part of the reason the Government made a decision not to allow certain vendors into the 5G market.
Immigration Minister David Coleman and Treasurer Josh Frydenberg agreed that in many cases China’s values were inconsistent with Australia’s.