He said Australia had benefitted from its relationship with China for decades but is now marked by growing tensions.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said Australia should end its ‘cold war mentality’. (AP)

“As a country that has long benefited from cooperation with China, it is unethical for Australia to hype a ‘China threat’ theory, nor is the allegation consistent with facts,” Mr Zhao said yesterday.

“It will end up hurting itself.”

Mr Zhao said “irresponsible” comments by some Australian figures were hurting Canberra-Beijing relations.

“We urge certain individuals in Australia to shake off the Cold War mentality, stop making irresponsible remarks and act in ways that are conducive to regional peace and stability rather than the opposite.”

His comments came after one of the Federal Government’s top national security officials yesterday warned the “drums of war” are beating.

Home Affairs Department Secretary Mike Pezzullo said Australia must work to reduce the risk of war “but not at the cost of our precious liberty”.

Australian ministers and officials have expressed concern about China’s growing power in the Asia Pacific. (AP)

In a speech Mr Pezzullo, warned that Australia must be prepared “to send off, yet again, our warriors to fight”.

And earlier this week, Defence Minister Peter Dutton warned that China was militarising ports in the region.

But Treasurer Josh Frydenberg told Today the Federal Government’s priority was maintaining peace in the Asia Pacific.

“Australia is a great beneficiary of a peaceful Indo-Pacific. That is our key priority to ensure peace in our region.”

But Mr Frydenberg also said a strong and capable Australian Defence Force was necessary.

The Federal Government announced a major upgrade of defence training bases in the Northern Territory. (Defence Department) (Supplied)

He said Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s announcement yesterday about major upgrades to military training bases in Northern Australia demonstrated the government’s resolve.

‘We always need to have a capable and well-resourced defence force.

Japan – $66.3 billion

Countries with the highest military expenditure in the world

“Under previous governments, the funding for the Defence Force went down to the lowest level since 1938 – 1.65 per cent of GDP – and now we are above 2 per cent.”

This content first appear on 9news

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