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Australia to spend more on defense amid Russian war, Chinese aggression

Australia to spend more on defense amid Russian war, Chinese aggression
The government of Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced it plans to increase defense spending in its upcoming budge. Photo by Lukas Coch/EPA-EFE

March 29 (UPI) -- The Australian government announced on Tuesday that it plans to increase defense spending amid Russia's war in Eastern Europe and rising tensions between Canberra and Beijing.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg announced prior to unveiling the budget for 2022-23 on Tuesday that it includes $7.4 billion over the next 10 years in offensive and defensive cybercapabilities as well as $28.4 billion to increase the nation's defense workforce.

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"The world is less stable. We must invest more in the defense of our nation," he told lawmakers in a budget speech Tuesday.

He also said the investment in cybercapabilities is "the biggest ever in Australia's cyber preparedness."

"Keeping Australians safe is part of our plan for a strong future," he later added via Twitter.

The plan, he said, will create 1,900 jobs, more data analysts, computer programers and software engineers to "boost our capacity to prevent and respond to cyber threats."

The Treasury further explained that the plan is to increase Australia's fighting force by up to 18,500 people by 2040.

The announcement came as democratic countries, particularly in Europe, have announced plans to bolster their own militaries in the face of Russia invading Ukraine on Feb. 24, causing a war that has created millions of refugees.

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Australia's announcement also comes amid rising tensions between it and China as Beijing attempts to further assert itself in the region.

The conflict between Canberra and Beijing has resulted in a trade war and for the two countries to trade rhetorical barbs.

"The lesson of history is that weakness invites aggression," Frydenberg said.

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