Canberra: Defence Minister Peter Dutton has compared the rise of China to Nazi Germany in the 1930s saying that the world is "grappling with a regional environment far more complex and far less predictable than at any time since the Second World War," a media report said on Wednesday.

The activities and rhetoric of Chinese officials had grown increasingly bellicose and coercive, he said, driven by a zero-sum mentality, Canberra Times reported on Wednesday.

Peter Dutton said that the geopolitical climate has "echoes of the 1930s". The era was dominated by the rise of Nazi Germany.

He made these remarks in a speech to American business lobbyists on Wednesday.

Former US envoy to Australia Joe Hockey's business lobbying firm, Bondi Partners, organised the event American Chamber of Commerce in Australia, Canberra Times said.

Dutton and the country's assistant defence minister Andrew Hastie have been critical of the Chinese regime for a long time.

Recently, Wang Wenbin, China's Foreign Affairs spokesperson said that strained relations between Canberra and Beijing are entirely of Australia's own making, reported Canberra Times.

Earlier this week, Caroline Millar, Australia's National Security Adviser underlined that the current geopolitical environment was unlike earlier eras.

She said, "I think we have to be very careful about [making those] parallels."

"You do see the Chinese, for example, running candidates - a lot of them quite successfully putting their nationals in, in a way that is slightly reminiscent of what the Soviets did in earliest stages," she added.