Foreign Affairs Minister Penny Wong has issued a dire warning to world leaders about the “catastrophic conflict” within the region if Cold War-style safeguards aren’t put in place.
Delivering Australia’s address to the United Nations General Assembly for the second year in a row, Senator Wong focused on climate change, nuclear weapons and conflict.
Without outright naming China, she warned that the Indo-Pacific region is evolving into a site of military build-up.
In her speech, she pointed out the rising tensions in the South China Sea and North Korea’s ongoing ballistic missile and nuclear weapons programs.
“When you add dangerous encounters in the air and at sea, including between nuclear powers, we are faced with a combination of factors that give rise to the most confronting circumstances in decades,” she said, as reported by the ABC.
Senator Wong also said that despite military power expanding, ways to constrain it aren’t there.
She also highlights that open communication and working together is paramount to ensuring there was no misunderstanding or miscalculation.
“Communication should never be withheld as a punishment or offered as a reward,” she said.
Senator Wong also used her speech to point out how the UN system is “falling short of the commitments we have made together”, emphasising Russia abusing its Security Council veto power during the country’s “illegal and immoral invasion of Ukraine”.
India and Japan were mentioned in her speech as the senator argued for their permanent places on the top body, while continuing to press for a seat for Australia.
“In this age of existential threats, there is either a shared future or no future,” she said, as reported by The Daily Telegraph.
“We can only choose between shared failure, or shared success. Let us all choose success.”