Turnbull warns of potential ‘mass attack’ on Aussies in south-east Asia

Malcolm Turnbull warns of potential ‘mass attack’ on Australians in south-east Asia

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has told a security summit in Singapore that he is “keenly alert” that the next mass attack on Australians may be in south-east Asia.

Mr Turnbull touched on key security concerns in the region, including the threat of terrorism and the “now palpable tension” on the Korean Peninsula and in the South China Sea, in the key address yesterday night.

Going straight to the heart of rising concerns over the contested waters in the South China Sea, Mr Turnbull said: “Maintaining the rule of law in our region, respecting the sovereignty of nations large and small is the key to continued peace and stability.”

China would best succeed, he said, by respecting the sovereignty of others and building on trust and co-operation.

“A coercive China would find its neighbours resenting demands they cede their autonomy and strategic space, and look to counterweight Beijing’s power by bolstering alliances and partnerships, between themselves and especially with the United States.”

The Prime Minister also spoke of the ongoing threat of terrorism, adding: “With the bitter memory of the 2002 Bali bombing, I am keenly alert to the risk that the next mass casualty attack on Australian victims could well be somewhere in south-east Asia, where ISIL propaganda has galvanised existing networks of extremists and attracted new recruits.”

Earlier in the evening Mr Turnbull met with United States Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis.

It is understood they spoke about the importance of their alliance, the threat of North Korea, as well as terrorism and the importance of a rules-based order in the region. AAP

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