Australian government unconvinced by Cambodia’s denials over Chinese military base

An intense diplomatic effort is under way to overturn "seriously disturbing" plans for a new Chinese military base after the Australian government concluded that it does not believe public denials of the deal by Beijing and Cambodia.

The secret agreement to station Chinese troops and weapons in the region is a new test for the relationship between Australia and China, after Liberal MP Andrew Hastie stoked fury by likening an inability to contain the emerging superpower to the “catastrophic failure” to stop the rise of Nazi Germany.

The Chinese embassy in Canberra accused the chair of Parliament’s powerful intelligence and security committee of a “Cold-War mentality” but Mr Hastie was praised by many Coalition and Labor MPs who believe Australia should take a more aggressive approach to its largest trading partner.

Former foreign minister Julie Bishop agreed Australia must take a long-term view of China but rebuked her former colleague for referencing the Nazis.

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