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China denounces Australian lawmaker's WW2 Germany remark

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Darwin Port

China has sharply rebuked an Australian government MP for comparing the West's approach to China to what he called the "catastrophic" failure to hold back Nazi Germany.

Hastie is a former Special Air Service officer who chairs an influential parliamentary intelligence and security committee.

"History has proven and will continue to prove that China's peaceful development is an opportunity, not a threat to the world".

"It goes against the world trend of peace, co-operation and development", the embassy said on its website. "It is detrimental to China-Australian relations", the statement said.

The diplomatic flare-up on Thursday coincided with the appointment of Mike Burgess as head of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation.

Morrison separated his government's China policy from Hastie's views, saying that the lawmaker was not a member of his Cabinet.

Opposition lawmakers said Mr Hastie's "extreme" comments would exacerbate recent strains with China.

In a newspaper idea fragment, Mr Hastie wrote that China was aiming to interchange the U.S. as the dominant vitality within the Pacific predicament, and that this threatened Australia's sovereignty and democracy.

But he also hinted the federal government was taking steps to limit China's increasing presence in the Pacific.

Hastie argued that Australia needed to balance its security interests with the United States and trade interests with China but suggested remaining "true to our democratic convictions" and "resetting the terms of engagement with China to preserve our sovereignty" as the most important goals of foreign policy.

Chalmers told Radio National Australia had to "navigate what are pretty complex and multilayered issues - to weigh up all of the economic, strategic and national security interests".

As a trade war between the U.S. and China escalates, Mr Hastie declared he harboured concerns China's use of military force for a regional conflict was "more imminent".

"This is far too important to our national interest".

The West once believed economic liberalisation would naturally lead to China becoming a democracy, just as the French believed "steel and concrete forts" would guard against Germany in 1940, Mr Hastie said.

"Like the French, Australia has failed to see how mobile our authoritarian neighbour has become", he wrote in the piece published by The Sydney Morning Herald.

"Even worse, we ignore the role that ideology plays [in communist] China's actions across the Indo-Pacific region".

"The next decade will test our democratic values, our economy, our alliances and our security like no other time in Australian history", the Liberal backbencher wrote.

Australia faces a delicate diplomatic balancing act with the USA, the nation's closest strategic ally, and major trade partner China, going toe-to-toe in a trade war.

Mr Hastie says "choices will be made for us" if Australia fails to grasp the challenges across politics, education, civil society and business.

Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton said while he wants to see China grow and succeed, all countries should respect Australia's sovereignty.

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