Australia to spend almost $1 billion to boost cyber security

Scott Morrison to outline bolstered defence spending

Scott Morrison to outline bolstered defence spending Politics Sco Mo goes ballistic Australia splashes out on new weapons

While acknowledging the nation of 25 million people can not match its rivals in the region - China officially plans to spend $178 billion on defence in 2020 alone - Morrison framed Australia as a regional power committed to an "open, sovereign Indo-Pacific, free from coercion and hegemony".

As reported by EurAsian Times, Beijing has accused Australia of escalating the conflict and "waging an intensifying espionage offensive against China".

Other regional tensions, such as border skirmishes between China and India and China's intransigence over the South China Sea, have worsened in recent years.

The plan is expected to detail how Australia's defence force will use the huge amount of money over the coming decade to increase the country's military protection amid growing competition in the Indo-Pacific between the likes of the United States and China. "Malicious cyber activity undermines that", Mr Morrison said.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison will reveal details of the military package on Wednesday
Prime Minister Scott Morrison will reveal details of the military package on Wednesday

"But we can not allow consideration of such contingencies to drive our force structure to the detriment of ensuring we have credible capability to respond to any challenge in our immediate region", he said.

Although Mr Morrison did not name China, Australia's muscular posturing towards the Pacific is seen as a signal that Canberra intends to be more assertive in its dealings with Beijing and less reliant on the US.

Rory Medcalf, head of the Australian National University's National Security College, said the announcement showed Australia was "getting serious about deterrence and the prospect of armed conflict in the Indo-Pacific region".

Since coming to power in 2013, Morrison's conservatives say they have increased the nation's defense spending from 1.56% of gross domestic product - the lowest level since 1938 - to an estimated 2% this year "despite the many pressures on the budget".

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Last month, he warned that Australian institutions and businesses were being targeted by cyber attacks from a "sophisticated state actor".

"Relations between China and the United States are fractious, " he'll say.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said that Australia is sending agents to China to spy, gather intelligence, recruit assets and instigating defection among Chinese nationals.

The post coronavirus pandemic world was seen as "more dangerous" and "more disorderly" with regional military modernisation occurring at an unprecedented rate, he said in his speech.

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He said: "The largely benign security environment that Australia has enjoyed, basically from the fall of the Berlin Wall to the global financial crisis, that's gone".

"(Australia) must be able to hold potential adversaries' forces and infrastructure at risk from greater distance, and therefore influence their calculus of costs involved in threatening Australian interests", he will say.

"China is the unspoken elephant in the room", said Sam Roggeveen, director of the Sydney-based Lowy Institute's International Security Program. Beijing was also miffed when Canberra demanded an independent inquiry into the origins of Covid-19.

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