Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison yesterday said that his government held a less dramatic view of US-China strategic tensions than a predecessor who warned of a potential “hot war” before the US presidential election in November.
Former Australian prime minister and China academic Kevin Rudd wrote in Foreign Affairs this week that the risk of armed conflict between the US and China in the next three months was “especially high.”
Morrison said his administration had expressed similar views in a defense policy update last month.
“Our defense update expresses it differently and certainly not as dramatically as Kevin, but in our own defense update, we’ve acknowledged that what was previously inconceivable and not considered even possible or likely in terms of those types of outcomes is not considered in those contexts anymore,” Morrison told the Aspen Security Forum in an online address from the Australian capital, Canberra.
Meanwhile, Australian federal police raided the home and office of a man employed by an Australian politician as part of a foreign interference investigation into whether he was working to advance “Chinese state interests,” court documents showed.
The disclosure is made in documents lodged on Monday in Australia’s High Court by the employee, John Zhang (張智森), who is seeking to quash the search warrants used by police and the return of seized computer evidence.
Zhang, who could not be reached for comment, has not been charged with any offense.
His lawyers did not immediately respond to requests for comment yesterday.
The documents said that Zhang is an Australian citizen who migrated from China in 1989 and had been employed by New South Wales state politician Shaoquett Moselmane since 2018.
Moselmane, who has been suspended from the NSW Labor party following the raids, has previously said he had not done anything wrong and was not a suspect.
According to details of the search warrants described in the court documents, Zhang was under investigation for allegedly concealing from Moselmane that he was acting on behalf of, or in collaboration with, the “Chinese state and party apparatus including the Ministry of State Security and the United Front Work Department.”
The documents said it was alleged that Zhang was suspected of acting on behalf of the “Chinese state and party apparatus” in a private social media chat group with Moselmane to advance the policy goals of the Chinese government.
He is alleged to have encouraged Moselmane to advocate for “Chinese state interests”, they said.
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