South China Sea: Beijing ‘dissatisfied’ with ‘negative’ remarks in Australia’s Defence White Paper


China has responded angrily to the Federal Government’s Defence White Paper.

Key points:

China said South China Sea comments in the Defence White Paper were “negative”
Defence Minister Marise Payne said the Government knew the South China Sea was a “point of difference”
Meanwhile, US said it would increase freedom of navigation operations in the South China Sea
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said China was “dissatisfied” with what it saw as “negative” comments about the South China Sea in the document.

Ms Hua said China did not want to see an arms race and hoped relevant countries could give up joint drills and withdraw their military presence in the region.

“We have noticed Australia has released its white paper,” Ms Hua said.

“It mentions Australia is willing to enhance cooperation with China, China welcomes that and hopes it can translate these positive statements into concrete actions.

“We also noticed that this white paper made some remarks about South China Sea and East China Sea.

“These remarks are negative and we are dissatisfied about this.”

Defence Minister Marise Payne told 7:30 the Government knew the South China Sea was a “point of difference” between Australia and China.

“We obviously have very significant relationships with China across a range of areas and not least of which is our trading relationship,” she said.

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