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27 Apr, 2021 14:44

Australia security official warns nations are ‘beating drums’ of war amid Asia-Pacific tensions

Australia security official warns nations are ‘beating drums’ of war amid Asia-Pacific tensions

Australia’s Home Affairs Secretary Mike Pezzullo issued a warning to department staff on Tuesday that “the drums of war beat” over tensions in the Asia-Pacific region and South China Sea.

Pezullo’s comments came as the country celebrated Anzac Day, a day of remembrance for Australians and New Zealanders who served and died in military service for their nations.

“In a world of perpetual tension and dread, the drums of war beat – sometimes faintly and distantly, and at other times more loudly and ever closer,” the Home Affairs Secretary said in his statement to staff.

Let us continue to search unceasingly for the chance for peace while bracing again, yet again, for the curse of war.

The statement was backed up by Australia’s Home Affairs Minister, Karen Andrews, who claimed the country must be “alert but not alarmed”, while Defense Minister Peter Dutton said that, while they don’t want conflict between China and Taiwan, “I don’t think it should be discounted.”

Prime Minister Scott Morrison did not comment on whether he agreed with Pezullo’s sentiment or Dutton’s remarks, claiming he’s focused on “pursuing peace for a free and open Indo-Pacific.”

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Tension has been rising in the region, with increased activity around the South China Sea in recent months. Australia, the US, EU, UK, France, Japan and the Philippines claim China’s actions there threaten “freedom of navigation,” while Beijing says it’s simply protecting its sovereign territory.

Meanwhile, America, France and Japan are set to hold military drills in the area from May 11 and the UK has deployed a strike group to East Asia. China has been sending jets to fly over Taiwan’s airspace, while the US sent a military ship to sail through the Taiwan Strait. Beijing considers the island an integral part of its territory and objects to Washington sending diplomatic delegations there and meddling in China’s internal affairs.

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