China's response to the news Australia and Japan have agreed in principle on a "Reciprocal Access Agreement" on defence was as swift as it was predictable.
Within hours an editorial in Beijing's The Global Times said Japan and Australia, acting at the behest of the US, were "setting a bad example by interpreting their biggest trading partner, China, as a "security threat"."
The article warned it was "inevitable" China would take countermeasures: "China is unlikely to remain indifferent to US moves aimed at inciting countries to gang up against China...countries like Japan and Australia have been used as US tools."
This suggests claims by the Prime Minister and the Trade Minister that the RAA should not evoke a hostile response were either surprisingly naive or deliberately disingenuous. When asked if there was a risk of "further trade implications" Mr Morrison said "I couldn't see a justification for that".
China has imposed trade restrictions on up to $6 billion worth of Australian exports in response to the souring relationship between the two countries in recent months.
Beijing has repeatedly said it takes no responsibility for the split, and that it expects Australia to modify its diplomatic stance in order to heal the rift. Wednesday's agreement is arguably the latest, and clearest, sign Canberra won't be "kowtowing" to the emerging superpower anytime soon.
While the PM was keen to play down the strategic significance of the agreement, focusing on increased defence co-operation and joint exercises, this is not just about allowing both countries' troops to play together in each other's backyards.
China's re-emergence as a great power can be likened to the unification of Germany in 1871, an event described by the Earl of Beaconsfield (Disraeli) as "a greater political event than the French revolution". It has been viewed with alarm by many nations, especially close neighbours with an interest in the South China Sea.
This has been fuelling an arms race in east Asia for some years now. It has also led to the evolution of quasi-alliances and defensive partnerships that are widely regarded as being intended to contain China.
As of Wednesday, Australia has close military ties with the three largest powers most interested in thwarting any ambitions Beijing may have to impose a regional hegemony; the US, India and Japan.
Given it was inevitable the RAA would further complicate Australia's relationship with Beijing, why did the Australian government decide it would be to the nation's advantage to go down this path? The short answer is security.
Japan's military capacity, severely truncated for decades after World War II, is now ranked fourth in the world behind the US, China and Russia. It spends $50 billion a year on defence, almost twice Australia's military budget, and has more than 300,000 active and reserve military personnel. And, since 2015, the Japan Self-Defence Forces have been permitted to provide "material support" to allies engaged in combat internationally, and to participate in the "collective self-defence of allies" for the first time since it was established in 1954.
The flip side of the coin is that while it would be simplistic to suggest history is repeating itself, there are obvious similarities between what is happening in east and south east Asia, and the interlocking webs of alliances that inexorably drove the world to the worst war of all time in 1914.
The search for security can become a very slippery slope. It can also, like the road to hell, be paved with the very best of peaceful intentions.