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Dominic Giannini

Europe should lift Pacific presence: envoy

Michael Pulch spoke of Europe having a greater economic and military presence in the Asia-Pacific. (Mick Tsikas/AAP PHOTOS) (AAP)

The outgoing European ambassador to Australia says the bloc needs to do more in the Indo-Pacific amid rising aggression from China.

Michael Pulch says while he wouldn't say Europe had neglected the region, further resources are being poured into strengthening relationships there.

"We certainly believe we should do more. It's an important region, it's the only region in the world where we actually have a very specific action plan or strategy," he told AAP.

"It's less a matter of neglecting it, it's more a matter of bringing together what we already doing. Over the last three or four years, we have signed more free trade agreements with countries of that region than we ever did before."

Mr Pulch also spoke of an increased economic and military presence to offset Chinese influence and aggression.

"We would like to see more of what we call a coordinated maritime presence here in Australia. That means ... there is a continuous presence of European maritime forces in this part of the world.

"But we also want to contribute to stability in other ways. We are a major contributor of developing aid, so we offer countries in the Pacific an alternative to China development assistance."

It comes as an American official for the region warns of intensifying aggression by China over what it perceives as provocation by the US over Taiwan.

US Assistant Secretary of State for East Asia and the Pacific, Daniel Kritenbrink, told an international media briefing China's intention is clear.

"These actions are part of an intensified pressure campaign by (China) against Taiwan, which we expect to continue to unfold in the coming weeks," he said on Thursday.

"The goal of this campaign is clear to intimidate and coerce Taiwan and undermine its resilience.

"We anticipated (China) might take these steps, and we expect they will continue to react in the time ahead."

Vladimir Putin has also accused the US of provocation in the Pacific through the AUKUS partnership between Australia, the US and UK, with the Russian president branding AUKUS an attempt led by Washington to establish a NATO-style bloc in the Asia-Pacific.

"We also see that the collective West is seeking to extend its bloc system to the Asia-Pacific region by analogy with NATO in Europe," Reuters quoted Mr Putin as saying.

"For this purpose, aggressive military-political alliances are being formed, such as AUKUS and others."

Russia used NATO expansion as part of its justification for invading Ukraine.

The office of Australia's deputy prime minister and defence minister Richard Marles referred to previous comments on the issue.

"As the deputy prime minister has made clear before; AUKUS is not a new NATO," a spokesperson said.

"AUKUS is principally about the sharing and joint development of capability between Australia, the UK and the United States."

Mr Pulch wouldn't speculate on the possibility of China using the alliance as a precursor for military action or aggression, but says blocs of like-minded nations were needed for regional stability.

"It's clear that Russia has used quite a number of excuses for its aggression against Ukraine," he said.

"The issue around NATO membership was just one of them. As a result of that, NATO has expanded because two European countries with a longstanding policy of being non-aligned, decided that under these circumstances you can't trust Russia anymore.

"It's another sign that we understand that like-minded countries do have to come together in order to create that stability that we all need."

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