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Acting Prime Minister Richard Marles said he would not attend the Chinese ambassador’s speech at the National Press Club today.

Xiao Qian will speak in Canberra this afternoon, his first speech since being appointed ambassador this year.

However, the Deputy Prime Minister told reporters that he had no intention of being at the club.

Chinese Ambassador to Australia Xiao Qian.Credit:Alex Ellinghausen

Beijing fired 11 ballistic missiles towards Taiwan and carried out mock attacks after US President Nancy Pelosi’s visit to the self-governing island last week.

Marles, who is also defense minister, reaffirmed the government’s call for de-escalation in the Taiwan Strait over fears of a catastrophic miscalculation.

“It’s critical for the region, and it’s critical that we return to a much more peaceful and normal pattern of behavior in the region and across the Taiwan Strait,” he said.


He would not speculate on the connection between Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and China’s increased aggression. Instead, he simply said the rules-based order was under pressure.

Tensions are heightened as the United States and Australia seek to counter Chinese influence in the Pacific after Beijing signed a security deal with the Solomon Islands earlier this year.

Beijing is also reportedly pushing for exclusive access to part of a strategic naval base in Cambodia, raising concerns among Western allies.

While Australia’s strained relations with China have thawed somewhat with ministerial meetings since the federal election in May, Beijing has still targeted politicians for exposing its tactics in the Taiwan Strait. .

Beijing recently accused Foreign Minister Penny Wong of “pointing the finger” after she last week condemned China’s “disproportionate and destabilizing” actions.


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