Australia’s defence strategy focuses on the Pacific

23 April, 2024

Australia has unveiled its national defence strategy, with a particular focus on the Pacific to counter China’s “coercive tactics”.

The 80-page document paints a bleak picture of security in the Pacific and calls for a significant increase in military spending to re-equip the nation’s armed forces.

“The optimistic scenarios that underpinned post-Cold War defence planning are long outdated,” said Australian Defence Minister Richard Marles. Stressing that “China has used coercive methods in pursuit of its strategic objectives”, Marles assessed that “Australia can no longer afford to have a ten-year strategic warning window in the event of conflict”, as its policy had been.

Beijing responded that it “poses no threat to any country”.

“China is committed to the path of peaceful development, resolutely pursues a national defence policy of a defensive nature, and is committed to maintaining peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region and the world at large,” said Lin Xiang, a spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry.

“We hope the Australian side can (…) abandon its Cold War mentality, do more to safeguard regional peace and stability, and refrain from making groundless accusations against China,” he added.

Instead of concentrating on building forces capable of carrying out various missions almost anywhere in the world, Australia will now focus on protecting its interests in its immediate region, Marles said.
“We are an island nation engaged in maritime trade,” he noted, adding that Australia should be able to prevent its enemies from closing vital sea lanes.

Central to this strategy is the deployment of a fleet of untraceable nuclear submarines, the tripling of the country’s missile capabilities and the development of a large fleet of warships.


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