ASPI’s Michael Shoebridge says the “failure” of the former Prime Minister Paul Keating’s speech is his “understanding of how China has changed since his time in power”.

On Wednesday, Mr Keating gave a scathing assessment of Australia’s handling of its relationship with China in an address to the National Press Club.

“I think the failure of his speech was understanding how China has changed since his time in power and absolutely discounting the aggression use of power we’ve seen from China over the last six years; it’s like it doesn’t matter,” Mr Shoebridge told Sky News host Chris Kenny.

“On the one hand of his speech, he talks about it’s a 4000-year confusion civilisation that simply doesn’t understand freedom, so authoritarianism is natural, and on the other hand they’re this adolescent.

“Well 100-year-old Chinese Communist Party that’s ruled the place since 1949 is not adolescent and it’s got an enormous military and it’s been using it aggressively to intimidate others.

“That was completely missing from his remarks and thinking.”

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