Rob McLennan /
As defense minister, Marles told the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington that the alliance with the United States is the cornerstone of Australia’s foreign and security policy.
But he said it was important to avoid a “catastrophic failure of deterrence” in a clear reference to China’s growing influence in the Pacific.
“We will make the necessary investments to increase the range and lethality of the Australian Defense Force so that they are able to hold potential adversary, forces and infrastructure at risk further from Australia,” he said. he told the audience.
Mr Marles welcomed the new AUKUS alliance with the United States and Britain which was struck under the previous government, saying it will make Australia a “more powerful and capable partner”.
His comments are likely to anger Beijing, just days after China released a list of four demands to help improve relations with Australia.
Mr. Marles’ trip began with a visit to Arlington Memorial Cemetery to lay a wreath in memory of Australians and Americans killed in service to their country.
Image: Richard Marles lays an Arlington Memorial Cemetery in Washington during his visit to the US (supplied)