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Australia is investigating whether China has tried to recruit former defense force personnel to provide military training, amid concerns that Beijing has been similarly approaching veterans including military pilots from other Western nations, Voice of America reported.
Defence Minister Richard Marles said the government will conduct a “detailed examination” into claims that China had approached Australian military veterans for training. He added that the probe would also involve other security agencies.
The move comes after allegations emerged last month that Beijing was recruiting former Australian soldiers. Australia’s center-right opposition found the reports alarming and urged the government to implement new laws to prevent such activity.
Marles did not confirm if any Australians had provided training to China but said authorities are currently probing “a number of cases.” He noted that the government was also considering amending legislation if there were any “weaknesses” in rules that apply to former defense personnel.
Officials running the formal investigation into potential Chinese recruitment are set to submit their findings to the defense minister by Dec. 14.
Meanwhile, last month, Britain’s Ministry of Defence announced it was taking steps to “deter and penalize” dozens of former Royal Air Force pilots who were being paid as instructors in China.
Further, New Zealand’s government is considering whether to impose laws to stop former military pilots from training pilots of foreign armies.