Dutton defends comments on Taiwan action

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Defence Minister Peter Dutton has defended his comments about a potential military action in Taiwan, saying critics were ignoring the realities of the region.

Mr Dutton previously said it was inconceivable Australia would not follow the US to send troops to support an American military intervention in Taiwan against China.

Labor has attacked the defence minister for what the opposition has described as the government amping up the threat of conflict in Taiwan ahead of the next election.

"If you look at what's happening in the Indo-Pacific at the moment, and you see the ramp up by the Communist Party of China, we need to be realistic about the threat now, and over the course of the next couple of decades," he told the ABC's 7.30 program.

"There is no sense sticking your head in the sand pretending it is not happening. We want prevailing peace in our region."

Meanwhile, talks are under way between diplomatic officials for a visit to Australia by South Korean president Moon Jae-in.

It's expected the president will visit the country in mid-December, which would send a signal to China about Australia's partnerships in the Indo-Pacific.

Mr Dutton's rebuttals were made following a major policy speech by Labor's foreign affairs spokeswoman Penny Wong, who said the government was using the threat of war for political gain.

Senator Wong said Mr Dutton was working against the status quo maintained by previous prime ministers in regards to the region.

"He is radically out of step with a strategy that successive Australian governments have long adopted," she told ABC Radio on Wednesday.

"His motivations do go to election tactics, and I think that is the most dangerous election tactic Australia has seen."

Senator Wong said the government was trying to use international issues for domestic political gain.

However, she said her view on China was different to that of former Labor prime minister Paul Keating.

Mr Keating used a recent appearance at the National Press Club to say China did not represent a threat to Australia.

"I have a view about China to the way in which China is behaving. China has changed and our relationship with them has changed," Senator Wong said.

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