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International relations

Australia's new defense chief Dutton takes tougher line on China

With Quad in background, ex-cop riles Beijing over Taiwan

Peter Dutton, left, Australia's new defense minister, has signaled a tough stance on China.   © Reuters

SYDNEY -- Australia's new defense minister has wasted no time irking China in his first month on the job, signaling a more hawkish approach to an already tense relationship.

Speaking on Anzac Day on April 25 -- a solemn occasion memorializing Australia's war dead -- Peter Dutton said a conflict with China over Taiwan "should not be discounted" and warned of the need to deal with Chinese "militarization of ports" across the region.

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