(Images: AAP/Darren England, Mick Tsikas)

Defence Minister Peter Dutton used an Anzac Day appearance on ABC’s Insiders yesterday to warn about the prospect of war with China. Conflict over Taiwan "should not be discounted," Dutton said. Australians needed to be realistic about China militarising bases across the Asia Pacific, he warned.

"China has been very clear about the reunification and that’s been a long-held objective of theirs. They have been very clear about that goal."

Dutton's comments came at the end of another rocky week in Sino-Australian relations, just days after the federal government scrapped Victoria’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) agreements with China. His latest warning could be another sign of how the blunt, hawkish Dutton will manage the China relationship in his new portfolio.