Australia denies China criticism of Taiwan Strait drills

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Australia denies China criticism of Taiwan Strait drills

The acting Prime Minister insists that there is little that the federal government can do to ward off Chinese criticism of Australia, as Beijing lashes out against international condemnation of its military drills in the Taiwan Strait.

Australia has joined other nations to condemn Beijing's decision to extend military drills around Taiwan, which was triggered by a visit to the island by United States House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Chinese officials said that Australia was undermining regional peace and stability and meddling in its affairs.

Acting Prime Minister Richard Marles dismissed the accusation and said it was up to China to decide whether relations with Australia thawed or deteriorated.

If engaging in a more respectful, diplomatic way takes us some way down a path, it does, and if it doesn't, it doesn't, he said.

We can only control our end of the equation. We will always be speaking up for the national interest. Taiwan has been preparing air raid shelters and conducting drills after Chinese military air and naval combat exercises have increased around the island.

Taiwan thanks 'courageous' nations for stepping up to China.

In a briefing to media yesterday, Taiwan's Foreign Minister, Joseph Wu, expressed his gratitude to the nations that supported his country.

Taiwan is grateful to all of its friends around the world who have stood up courageously to condemn China's actions and support Taiwan, he said.

It sends a clear message to the world that democracy will not bow to the intimidation of authoritarianism. The People's Republic of China has threatened to continue regular drills as it seeks to bring Taiwan under Beijing's rule.

Marles called on China to end its combat exercises and maintain the status quo.

He said if we were to see a de-escalation of tensions in the Taiwan Strait, there would be a sigh of relief around the world.

It is important that we return to a more peaceful and normal set of behaviours.

Mr Wu warned that China was testing agreements that had been in place for decades.

The median line of the Taiwan Strait has been there for decades, safeguarding peace and stability as well as the status quo across the Taiwan Strait, he warned.

Chinese ambassador Xiao Qian is due to give an address at the National Press Club later today.