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Scott Morrison says an ‘arc of autocracy from Beijing to Moscow’ is ‘challenging the rules-based world order’ our ancestors fought to secure as he rallies Australians ahead of ANZAC day. 

As Aussies across the country gather on Monday to remember fallen soldiers, the prime minister will deliver a speech in Darwin to mark the 80th anniversary since the northern port city was bombed by Japan in World War II. 

But with Ukraine reverberating with Russian artillery and Australia’s security now under threat from Chinese expansion, Mr Morrison will focus on how the ‘ultimate sacrifice’ of previous generations to obtain peace is now becoming undone.

Writing in The Australian, the PM said in his address he will remind fellow countrymen of the hard-won freedoms of their forefathers – and how they should be honoured now, more than ever, as the world is ‘changing before our eyes’. 

‘War stalks Europe again, ­coercion troubles our own region once more, and an arc of autocracy from Beijing to Moscow is challenging the rules-based world order our grandparents’ generation sought to secure,’ Mr Morrison says.

‘In facing this world, we must remember again.’

Scott Morrison has warned China would be crossing a 'red line' if it builds a military presence less than 2000km away from Australia on the Solomon Islands

Scott Morrison has warned China would be crossing a 'red line' if it builds a military presence less than 2000km away from Australia on the Solomon Islands

Scott Morrison has warned China would be crossing a ‘red line’ if it builds a military presence less than 2000km away from Australia on the Solomon Islands

In his speech, Mr Morrison will say that the ‘most sacred day in our nation’s calendar’ is a reminder of the values more than 100,000 Australians paid the ‘ultimate sacrifice’ for, which were once again under attack.

‘It’s true that when it comes to the defence of Australia, military capability matters. Alliances matter. Strategy matters,’ he will say.

‘But what ultimately matters is a people with a fierce and protective love – a love of home, family, community and country.

‘A willingness to live – and possibly die – for something greater than themselves.

‘In remembering, we see the character and values of Aus­tralians who have faced the worst and sacrificed the most.’

The insight comes as Mr Morrison warns China establishing a military base on Australia’s ‘doorstep’ would be a ‘red line’ after Beijing signed a new security agreement with the Solomon Islands. 

The federal government has come under fire for not taking preventative action to stop the communist superpower from securing a foothold in the South Pacific after the two nations finalised the controversial pact on Tuesday. 

Solomon Islands have cemented ties with China with a new security pact finalised this week. Pictured are Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang in 2019

Solomon Islands have cemented ties with China with a new security pact finalised this week. Pictured are Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang in 2019

Solomon Islands have cemented ties with China with a new security pact finalised this week. Pictured are Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang in 2019 

The alliance has sparked fears China will act swiftly to set up a military base less than 2,000km from Australian shores, with experts predicting armed forces could arrive on the island within weeks. 

Author Clive Hamilton, a public ethics professor at Charles Sturt University, told Daily Mail Australia that Mr Morrison and his government had ‘no foresight into China’s intentions’ and that ‘we should all be worried’.

But the prime minister on Sunday brushed off criticism over his handling of the situation, dubbed the ‘worst Australian policy failure’ in decades, and asserted his confidence that China will not encroach any closer. 

Although he refused to pinpoint exactly when they last spoke, Mr Morrison said Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare insisted he has no plans to allow China to build a military presence on his shores. 

‘He was very clear in his latest communication with me not that long ago that he has no intention of putting a naval base on the Solomon Islands, and so we have always upped the investment across the Pacific,’ Mr Morrison told reporters.

‘The most important discussions I’ve had have been with other Pacific nations that share Australia’s view… and they have been also directly communicating those views to the Solomon Islands government.

The alliance has sparked fears China may expand its military presence in the Pacific. Pictured: Chinese troops take part in marching drills in September 2019

The alliance has sparked fears China may expand its military presence in the Pacific. Pictured: Chinese troops take part in marching drills in September 2019

The alliance has sparked fears China may expand its military presence in the Pacific. Pictured: Chinese troops take part in marching drills in September 2019 

‘This is a shared concern… I share the same red line that the US has when it comes to these issues.’ 

Mr Morrison’s comments come after President Joe Biden earlier this week sent two top diplomats to the archipelagic state for crisis talks with Mr Sogavare, where they urged the leader to resist Chinese pressure to erect a military base. 

In a meeting in Honiara on Friday, White House Indo-Pacific co-ordinator Kurt Campbell and ­Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Daniel Kritenbrink warned Mr Sogavare the move would risk stability in the Pacific. 

Pictured: Clive Hamilton

Pictured: Clive Hamilton

Pictured: Clive Hamilton

However, Mr Sogavare showed his indifference towards Australia’s objection and the American delegation’s visit by extolling his strong union with China during a press conference hours earlier. 

Standing alongside Chinese ­ambassador Li Ming to open a sporting centre, Mr Sogavare said he had created diplomatic ties with China three years ago ‘for very, very good reasons’.

Meanwhile, Mr Li called for other countries to respect the two nations’ agreement.

‘I sincerely hope the sovereignty and security interests of Solomon Islands and China will be duly respected,’ he said.

‘The Pacific region should ­become a stage for international co-operation, not geopolitical competition.’

Although Mr Sogavore has vowed to not allow China to develop a military base, Australian and US officials fear he will not be able to resist pressure from Beijing. 

Labor has slammed the government for ‘dropping the ball’, accusing the Coalition of failing to make serious diplomatic moves because senior members were too busy campaigning for the upcoming federal election. 

Prime Minister Sogavare and his Cabinet met with US officials earlier this week after signing the deal with China

Prime Minister Sogavare and his Cabinet met with US officials earlier this week after signing the deal with China

Prime Minister Sogavare and his Cabinet met with US officials earlier this week after signing the deal with China

ALP foreign affairs spokesperson Penny Wong lashed the Coalition on Wednesday, raising concerns the deal would incite security instability in the region. 

‘Yet again Mr Morrison has gone missing and might talk a tough game, but what we are seeing on his watch is the worst Australian foreign policy blunder in the Pacific since the end of world war II,’ Ms Wong told ABC News. 

In a last-ditch bid to quash the deal, Minister for the Pacific Zed Seselja was sent to the Solomon Islands on an unsuccessful visit to ‘respectfully’ ask Mr Sogavare to reconsider signing.

Foreign affairs minister Marisa Payne and Mr Seselja, said they were ‘deeply disappointed’ by the pact, and would ‘seek further clarity on the terms of the agreement, and its consequences for the Pacific region’. 

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has said the Solomon Islands government led by prime minister Manasseh Sogavare had guaranteed it would not allow the Chinese to build naval bases. The pair is pictured together

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has said the Solomon Islands government led by prime minister Manasseh Sogavare had guaranteed it would not allow the Chinese to build naval bases. The pair is pictured together

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has said the Solomon Islands government led by prime minister Manasseh Sogavare had guaranteed it would not allow the Chinese to build naval bases. The pair is pictured together

‘We are concerned about the lack of transparency with which this agreement has been developed, noting its potential to undermine stability in our region,’ they said in a statement late on Tuesday. 

Professor Hamilton agreed with Labor, saying the security deal was a major blunder on behalf of the government. 

‘The China-Solomons security pact is a huge win for Beijing’s political and military ambitions in our region. And disastrous for Australia’s security,’ he told Daily Mail Australia. 

‘Unless it can be reversed, it changes everything. We knew China was looking for a site for a naval base in the Pacific but the government was complacent. It didn’t drop the ball, it wasn’t even playing the game.

‘Beijing keeps surprising us with how fast it can move. We can expect ships and security personnel on the Solomon Islands within weeks.’ 

Mr Hamilton said Australia and the West’s strategy of engaging in the communist power in the hope it would liberalise took hold in the 1990s, but the CCP has ‘gone the opposite way’.

The US has warned Prime Minister Sogavare the establishment of Chinese military bases in the Solomon Islands would destabilise the region

The US has warned Prime Minister Sogavare the establishment of Chinese military bases in the Solomon Islands would destabilise the region

The US has warned Prime Minister Sogavare the establishment of Chinese military bases in the Solomon Islands would destabilise the region

He explained the dream to liberalise the authoritarian regime was jettisoned by the Turnbull government, and Mr Morrison and Ms Payne should be held to account for the ‘catastrophic failure’. 

‘Although the United States should have been doing more, most of the blame is down to Morrison and Payne. They had no real foresight into China’s intentions and no strategy to counter its tactics. They are boy scouts up against Don Corleone,’ he said.

‘Morrison and Payne say we must respect the Solomon Islands’ sovereignty while Beijing just bribes its political leaders. We sent our security forces in to prop up Sogavare’s rule, but Beijing has Prime Minister Sogavare in its pocket.’

Mr Hamilton said the agreement was ‘shrouded in mystery for a reason’ and ‘that should worry us’. 

He called for our Pacific engagement strategy to be torn up and redrafted to reflect the new situation. 

Instructors from a China Police Liaison Team train Solomons Islands Police Force officers in March this year. The Chinese instructors were teaching the local police  unarmed combat skills and how to use automatic weapons

Instructors from a China Police Liaison Team train Solomons Islands Police Force officers in March this year. The Chinese instructors were teaching the local police  unarmed combat skills and how to use automatic weapons

Instructors from a China Police Liaison Team train Solomons Islands Police Force officers in March this year. The Chinese instructors were teaching the local police  unarmed combat skills and how to use automatic weapons  

How China’s feud with Australia has escalated

2019: Australian intelligence services conclude that China was responsible for a cyber-attack on Australia’s parliament and three largest political parties in the run-up to a May election.

April 2020: Australian PM Scott Morrison begins canvassing his fellow world leaders for an inquiry into the origins of the coronavirus pandemic. Britain and France are initially reluctant but more than 100 countries eventually back an investigation. 

April 15: Morrison is one of the few leaders to voice sympathy with Donald Trump’s criticisms of the World Health Organization, which the US president accuses of bias towards China. 

April 21: China’s embassy accuses Australian foreign minister Peter Dutton of ‘ignorance and bigotry’ and ‘parroting what those Americans have asserted’ after he called for China to be more transparent about the outbreak.  

April 23: Australia’s agriculture minister David Littleproud calls for G20 nations to campaign against the ‘wet markets’ which are common in China and linked to the earliest coronavirus cases.  

April 26: Chinese ambassador Cheng Jingye hints at a boycott of Australian wine and beef and says tourists and students might avoid Australia ‘while it’s not so friendly to China’. Canberra dismisses the threat and warns Beijing against ‘economic coercion’. 

May 11: China suspends beef imports from four of Australia’s largest meat processors. These account for more than a third of Australia’s $1.1billion beef exports to China. 

May 18: The World Health Organization backs a partial investigation into the pandemic, but China says it is a ‘joke’ for Australia to claim credit. The same day, China imposes an 80 per cent tariff on Australian barley. Australia says it may challenge this at the WTO. 

May 21: China announces new rules for iron ore imports which could allow Australian imports – usually worth $41billion per year – to be singled out for extra bureaucratic checks. 

June 5: Beijing warns tourists against travelling to Australia, alleging racism and violence against the Chinese in connection with Covid-19.  

June 9: China’s Ministry of Education warns students to think carefully about studying in Australia, similarly citing alleged racist incidents.   

June 19: Australia says it is under cyber-attack from a foreign state which government sources say is believed to be China. The attack has been targeting industry, schools, hospitals and government officials, Morrison says.

July 9: Australia suspends extradition treaty with Hong Kong and offers to extend the visas of 10,000 Hong Kongers who are already in Australia over China’s national security law which effectively bans protest.

August 18: China launches 12-month anti-dumping investigation into wines imported from Australia in a major threat to the $6billion industry. 

August 26: Prime Minster Scott Morrison announces he will legislate to stop states and territories signing deals with foreign powers that go against Australia’s foreign policy. Analysts said it is aimed at China.

October 13: Trade Minister Simon Birmingham says he’s investigating reports that Chinese customs officials have informally told state-owned steelmakers and power plants to stop Aussie coal, leaving it in ships off-shore.

November 2: Agriculture Minister David Littleproud reveals China is holding up Aussie lobster imports by checking them for minerals.

November 3: Barley, sugar, red wine, logs, coal, lobster and copper imports from Australia unofficially banned under a directive from the government, according to reports.

November 18: China releases bizarre dossier of 14 grievances with Australia. 

November 27: Australian coal exports to China have dropped 96 per cent in the first three weeks of November as 82 ships laden with 8.8million tonnes of coal are left floating off Chinese ports where they have been denied entry. 

November 28: Beijing imposed a 212 per cent tariff on Australia’s $1.2 billion wine exports, claiming they were being ‘dumped’ or sold at below-cost. The claim is denied by both Australia and Chinese importers. 

November 30: Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lijian Zhao posted a doctored image showing a grinning Australian soldier holding a knife to the throat of an Afghan child. The move outraged Australians. 

December 12: Australian coal is added to a Chinese blacklist.

December 24: China suspends imports of Australian timber from NSW and WA after local customs officers say they found pests in the cargo.

January 11, 2021: Australia blocks $300million construction deal that would have seen state-owned China State Construction Engineering Corporation takeover Probuild. The bid was blacked over national security concerns. 

February 5, 2021: China confirms Melbourne journalist and single mother Cheng Lei has been formally arrested after being detained in August, 2020.

February 23, 2021: China accuses Australia of being in an ‘axis of white supremacy’ with the UK, USA, Canada and NZ in an editorial.

March 11, 2021: Australia is accused of genocide by a Communist Party newspaper editor. 

March 15, 2021: Trade Minister Dan Tehan announced he wants the World Trade Organisation to help mediate discussions between the two countries over the trade dispute. 

April 21, 2021: Foreign Minister Marise Payne announces Australia has scrapped Victoria’s controversial Belt and Road deal with China using new veto powers. 

May 6, 2021: China indefinitely suspends all strategic economic talks with Australia, blaming the Morrison Government’s attitude towards the relationship. The move cuts off all diplomatic contact with Beijing under the China-Australia Strategic Economic Dialogue, freezing discussions between key officials below a ministerial level.

June 22, 2021: China tries to ‘ambush’ Australia with a push to officially declare the Great Barrier Reef ‘in danger’ 

September 15, 2021: Australia, the UK and the US announce the AUKUS security pact which will give the Australian military nuclear-powered submarines to counter China growing aggression in the Indo Pacific. The move is met with seething anger in Beijing. 

March 24, 2022: Details of a Memorandum of Understanding emerge which could allow Beijing to station warships on the Solomon Islands, just 1,000 miles off the coast of Australia. Canberra warns it is ‘concerned by any actions that destabilise the security of our region’.

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Source: DailyMail

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