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Australia's major move to counter China's military rise

Canberra continues to spend big in an effort to send a clear message to Beijing.

Australia is set to take a further step to counter China's growing dominance in the region, after a government review outlined the need to significantly ramp up the country's arsenal of long-range missiles.

It's the latest move that will further increase defence expenditure as Canberra remains committed to maintaining stability in the Indo-Pacific with Beijing continuing to ramp up its own military alongside increasingly assertive behaviour. It follows last month's landmark $368 billion AUKUS submarine deal widely seen as a direct counter to China.

Defence Minister Richard Marles told Sky News the inevitable rise in spending "is a function of the strategic landscape in which we exist".

China has hit out after Australia's vaccine requirement for Chinese tourists entering the country from next week. Source: Getty
China has hit out after Australia's vaccine requirement for Chinese tourists entering the country from next week. Source: Getty

Minister for Defence Industry Pat Conroy said the Defence Strategic Review's (DSR) recommendations are key amid the "greatest strategic uncertainty since World War II".

"We're seeing a regional arms race at the moment... So what you can expect is a DSR that radically reshapes the defence policy," he told ABC News Breakfast.

"This investment in long range strike missiles is about deterring any potential adversary."

Australia facing 'most confronting circumstances in decades'

Foreign Minister Penny Wong last week stressed the Albanese government would not involve itself in the continued speculation of war, however did note the region faced "the most confronting circumstances in decades".

China's unwavering desire to reunify the democratic island state of Taiwan remains a major concern, with Australia expected to support key ally the US in any decision it takes over the conflict.

Senator Wong said war over Taiwan "would be catastrophic for all". "We know there would be no real winners," she added.

A declassified version of the Defence Strategic Review is due to be released on Monday along with the Albanese government's response.

The landmark report was commissioned by the Albanese government in August last year. More than 100 recommendations expected to remain classified. The Opposition has expressed concerns other areas will endure damaging cuts.

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