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‘We need to prepare’: Security expert says Australia is ‘vulnerable’ to risk posed by China

Fears about the risk posed to Australia by China are growing, with unrest in Hong Kong, Chinese expansion in the Pacific Ocean, allegations of Chinese influence in Australian universities, cyber attacks and hacking.

Dr John Coyne, head of the North and Australia’s Security program at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, said there is cause for concern.

“We’re more vulnerable than we have been in the past,” he told 3AW’s Neil Mitchell.

“We need to prepare.”

Although there has been a recent increase in investment into Australian military capabilities, new technology won’t be operational for another two or three decades.

“If we go to war any time in the next decade or so we’ll be going to war with what we have now,” Dr Coyne warned.

“What we need to do is invest in our industries in Australia and our capacity to support military operations.

“We have to double down on creating the relationships of trust that are needed to keep peace in the region.

“We need to reignite our relationships and nurture them in countries like the Philippines and Indonesia.”

Dr Coyne said Australia is “not totally confused” about mitigating the risk posed by China, but greater defence capacity in the north of the country is vital to protecting our interests.

“I think we’re turning a corner. In the past we’ve been very timid to actually deal with them,” he said.

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