Richard Marles in India, says China will have a more powerful say in world affairs but must follow rules-based order

“I do not come here to lecture India on how it should respond to this conflict, or how it should manage its relationship with Russia. Every country needs to make its own choices,” Marles said.

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“But Russia’s war on Ukraine does teach us that we cannot just rely on economic interdependence to deter conflict; and that deterrence can fail when one country’s determined military build-up creates an imbalance of military power.”

That imbalance had encouraged Russian President Vladimir Putin to conclude the benefits from conflict outweighed the risks, said Marles. He did not name China’s harassment of Taiwan, but warned that it “is in all of our interests to ensure no country in our region ever comes to a similar judgement”.

On Tuesday, 29 Chinese aircraft, including bombers and an intelligence-gathering plane, entered Taiwan’s south-western air defence identification zone. It was the third-largest sortie of Chinese warplanes to fly near the Taiwan Strait this year.

US State Department Spokesman Ned Price on Tuesday said the US was concerned by China’s aggressive rhetoric, its increasing pressure and intimidation of Taiwan after Chinese officials reportedly attempted to claim the Taiwan Strait was no longer in international waters.

“We’ll continue, as we have said before, to fly, to sail, and to operate wherever international law allows, and that includes transiting through the Taiwan Strait,” he said.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, China’s President Xi Jinping, South Africa’s Cyril Ramaphosa, Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro and Putin are scheduled to meet virtually on Thursday for the BRICS summit hosted by Beijing.

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