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‘We are going to have to make a choice’: Security experts say Australia will have to choose between China and the US

The impact of Chinese growth and burgeoning influence on Australia is becoming as a hot topic.

Last week, Liberal MP Andrew Hastie ignited debate when he compared China to Nazi Germany.

Leading international relations academic, John Mearsheimer, is in Sydney, where he has called on Australia to choose a side amid rising tension between China and the US.

Security analyst, Dr David Wright-Neville, agrees Australia will have to choose a side, but says it won’t be straightforward.

“The point is coming where we are going to have to make a choice,” he told 3AW’s Neil Mitchell.

“I don’t think it’s as stark as what some people would like us to believe.

“It’s not simply going to be a matter of picking China or the United States.

“There’s a way of navigating a path between the competing interests of both powers, but that navigational effort is becoming increasingly complex,” he said.

Dr Wright-Neville says Australia is in a tough situation because we rely on China economically, but side with the US politically.

“We’re absolutely dependent upon China economically and to damage that relationship would be an act of economic suicide,” he said.

“China doesn’t take kindly to this sort of criticism or obstacle we could present in the future.

“They do have alternative markets for their iron ore, or their coal, or whatever they need, and they would be willing to use those if we were seen to be too belligerent.”

Dr Wright-Neville said China has a long term diplomatic plan to become the preeminent power in the Asia Pacific region.

“It wants to leverage the United States out of the region,” he said.

“Australia is obviously a complication to that goal.”

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