Defence Minister Peter Dutton says Australia finds itself in a region “at the very epicentre” of global strategic competition.

“A region witness to a military build-up of a scale and ambition that historically has rarely been associated with peaceful outcomes,” Mr Dutton said at the National Press Club on Friday.

“A region where tensions continue to rise in a matter exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Mr Dutton also spoke of China, saying the Chinese government has “engaged in increasingly alarming activities”.

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