Worried about Chinese spies stealing intelligence on warships, Australian lawmakers call for the closure of the Chinese consulate in South Australia
Fearing that foreign spies pose an "extreme" threat to the Australian naval shipbuilding project, the South Australian senator said that the huge Chinese consulate in South Australia is so close to important naval projects that it is not in Australia's national interest and called for its closure.
According to The Advertiser, after the Ministry of Defense expressed concerns about "highly active" foreign spies seeking information about shipbuilding plans, South Australian Independent Senator Rex Patrick believed that the closure of the museum was necessary.
He said: "The Chinese Consulate General in Adelaide is geographically linked to the important construction projects of the Australian Navy in Osborne and the Australian Defense Science in Salisbury. Technical Research Institutions (DST) are all so close, which is not in Australia’s national security interests."
He said that no country has such a large diplomatic institution in South Australia. Italy and Greece have only one or two professional consuls, and China (the CCP) has ten or so.
Patrick said that the national defense security assessment is a “problem of deep concern”, especially in light of recent reports by the United States about the involvement of the Chinese consulate in espionage activities.
Both the Labour Party and the Liberal Federal MPs in South Australia expressed concern about the number of staff in the CCP consulate, but did not ask for it to be closed.
Liberal Senator Alex Antic believes that from the perspective of consular affairs, the staff (of the Chinese Consulate in South Australia) “seems to be too much”. He said: "The CCP adopts war wolf diplomacy on sensitive issues, but the safety of the Australian shipbuilding project must take precedence over the risk of offending the CCP."
South Australian Labour Party MP Nick Champion said that setting up a consulate in Adelaide is not a problem, but "for a small city, this consulate is too large." He proposed to negotiate a reduction in the number of people.
Earlier, the Ministry of Defense expressed concern about foreign spies seeking naval shipbuilding intelligence, and on this ground it rejected Patrick’s request for a notification on future submarine maintenance.
In response to Patrick’s request under the Freedom of Information Act (FOI), the Ministry of Defence stated: “Currently, foreign intelligence activities are assessed as posing an extreme threat to Australia’s sovereign capabilities and federal strategic interests.” “These opponents are seeking a current relationship with Australia. Information related to future naval capabilities is very active, with the aim of enhancing its own interests and undermining Australia’s capabilities."
Federal Trade Secretary Simon Birmingham said Australia has set "high standards" to protect naval shipbuilding projects from espionage, intervention or cyber threats.
Senator Patrick also called on the South Australian government to re-examine its relationship with China, saying that South Australia has always been "no less than Victoria" in "to please Beijing".
A state government spokesperson said: "We work closely with the federal government to ensure high safety standards." "It is the federal government that runs the Navy Shipyard, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), and the intelligence services, and they take the lead in handling these matters. , And ultimately responsible for diplomatic relations."