Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull may get some sense of just how much Chinese leader Xi Jinping is willing to push the country’s growing dissatisfaction with Australia’s reasonably tough stance on China’s outrageous strategic island-building exercise in the South China Sea when he meets him in Beijing today.

China is also none too pleased with the move to station US marines near Darwin, nor with Australia’s quickly growing military relationship with China's two identified enemies in Asia -- Japan and the Philippines. The bad blood with Japan dates back millennia; the Philippines on the other hand has had the temerity to take China to the international arbitration court.