Chinese President Xi Jinping is the “only one” who can stop Russia from the intense carnage unfolding across Ukraine, according to Peter Dutton.
The Defence Minister, who on Tuesday joined the Prime Minister in pledging $105m for lethal and non-lethal aid to help Ukrainian forces and NATO allies fight back against Russian invasion, said the situation was worsening.
Western nations have strongly condemned President Vladimir Putin over the invasion and imposed tough sanctions.
But China has failed to follow their lead, instead strengthening the trading relationship between the two countries.
China and Russia have long held strong diplomatic and financial ties, with many western leaders calling on President Xi to take a stronger hand in relation to the current conflict.
Mr Dutton said President Xi was the only world leader President Putin might listen to.
“The carnage that we’re seeing right across Ukraine at the moment is very confronting and I think it’s going to intensify,” Mr Dutton told Sky News, which is available to stream on Flash.
“I want it to go away, but we have to be realistic about the intent of somebody with Putin’s mindset.
“It’s only China, really, now that can stop Putin from progressing the way that he is, and the pressure really should be on President Xi to pick up that phone and instead of offering comfort, offering words of direction to President Putin that he should withdraw from Ukraine as quickly as possible.”
Mr Morrison on Tuesday said he was “concerned” about ties between Russia and China.
“I’ve been calling this out now for many, many years. When you get the close co-operation of autocratic or authoritarian states of that scale, and with that capability, of course that presents real risks to global stability in the Indo-Pacific region,” Mr Morrison said on Tuesday.
“This is why I’ve been so forward leaning in insisting that countries in our own region, particularly China, would not be offering a lifeline to Russia, but to be shutting them off.
“The impact of the world’s response to impose a price on President Putin needs to be reinforced by countries like China because if they extend a lifeline to them, as they have in taking their wheat exports by easing trade restrictions on Russian wheat into China that only serves to undermine, I think, the principled stance that has been taken by so many other countries around the world.
“I would encourage (China) to join the global efforts and send a very clear message to President Putin that this sort of behaviour is unacceptable.”
There are also concerns China could seek to invade Taiwan.
Last week, before the war began, Mr Morrison cautioned against drawing parallels, but said China should “not even think” about invading Taiwan.
“I believe China is … watching this very carefully, and that is why I have been at pains to say that China needs to take as strong as a position as other countries in denouncing what Russia is doing,” Mr Morrisons aid last week.