Labor is accusing the federal government of playing up fears of warmongering with China after Defence Minister Peter Dutton was criticised by a Chinese diplomat for playing “political games”.

Mr Dutton and Penny Wong have traded barbs a day after China’s spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Zhao Lijian went on the attack, accusing the federal government of a Cold War-like approach to the superpower.

“As a senior official of the Australian government, (Mr Dutton) is obsessed with the Cold War mentality and ideological prejudices,” Mr Zhao said.

“He has repeatedly made provocations, sensational and astonishing statements on China-related issues.”

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