Quick on the heels of bribing Cambodia into doing China's bidding in ASEAN (to mute any mention of China losing the case on their activities in the South China Sea), a Chinese newspaper calls on the government to target any Australian freedom of navigation mission in the South China Sea (a.k.a. the Chinese city of Sansha!):
China must take revenge and let it know it’s wrong. Australia’s power means nothing compared to the security of China. If Australia steps into the South China Sea waters, it will be an ideal target for China to warn and strike.
The paper's editorial called Australia a "paper cat" not even rising to the level of a "paper tiger."
Australia is made of sterner stuff, if Peking thinks they will bow to China. Have the Chinese heard of Gallipoli?
But Australia is far smaller than China. Australia needs friends. Especially America. Which is why building a military that complements the American military and can work with the American military is important.
Japan, India, Indonesia, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Vietnam, and the Philippines are also important to cultivate as friends in need.
And the power imbalance between Australia and China explains why Australia's defense plans to keep enemies away from the continent focus on submarines and land-based air power rather than surface warships that are more easily targeted and sunk by a larger, well-equipped foe.