Peter Dutton said the Australian government is focusing on having “good relations” with China in order to avoid conflict. However, he warned that hostility between Beijing and the island state it wants to assert control over could lead to a clash.
He told ABC Insiders: “I don’t think it [conflict] should be discounted.
“China has been very clear about the reunification and that’s been a long-held objective of theirs. They have been very clear about that goal.
“People need to be realistic about the activity. There is militarisation of bases across the region.
“Obviously, there is a significant amount of activity and there is an animosity between Taiwan and China.”
Mr Dutton stressed that Australia’s intention was to be “a good neighbour in the region” who cooperated with its allies.
He added: “Nobody wants to see conflict between China and Taiwan or anywhere else.”
The minister highlighted the importance of keeping “good relations” with Beijing, for both their trading links and the wellbeing of the Chinese diaspora community in Australia.
He said: “We have good relations with a number of countries, including China, a very important trading partner.
“We have an incredible diaspora community here in Australia, people who have contributed to our country over generations that are incredibly important Australians.