Australia Vows to Help America Intervene in Taiwan
Canberra says a US intervention is automatically also an Australian intervention
Australia’s defence minister has said it was “inconceivable” that his nation would not support the US in a campaign to defend Taiwan from China, amid rising concerns about Beijing’s increasingly assertive military activity.
In an interview with The Australian newspaper, Peter Dutton said that Chinese leaders had been “very clear about their intent to go into Taiwan” and that Canberra had to improve its ability to deter Beijing and be ready to join the US military if it took action.
“It would be inconceivable that we wouldn’t support the US in an action if the US chose to take that action,” [Which sounds a lot like DC gets to declare war, not just for the US, but also for Australia.] Dutton said.
His comments came two months after the US, Australia and UK launched a trilateral security partnership that will help Canberra obtain nuclear-powered submarines, an effort viewed as designed to counter China.
“Australia’s rapid strategic realignment on China has been stunning,” said Eric Sayers, a security expert at the American Enterprise Institute. “We are now seeing a level of shared tactical clarity emerge in Washington, Canberra and Tokyo on the criticality of stability in the Taiwan Strait.”
Dutton’s comments also came days after Paul Keating, the former Australian prime minister, said Taiwan was “not a vital Australian interest” and that Canberra should not be drawn into a conflict with Beijing over the island.
Last month, President Joe Biden vowed to defend Taiwan from a Chinese attack. The White House rolled back the comments, which appeared to upend “strategic ambiguity”, a longstanding US policy under which Washington does not say explicitly whether it would intervene in a military conflict over Taiwan.
The policy is intended to prevent Taiwan from taking action that would trigger a Chinese attack while deterring Beijing from military action against the country, over which it claims sovereignty. Biden’s comments marked the second time this year that he suggested Washington would defend Taipei.
The issue of Taiwan is expected to loom over a virtual meeting on Monday between Biden and China’s president Xi Jinping to address challenges in the relationship between their countries.
In a phone call on Saturday ahead of the leaders’ meeting, China’s foreign minister Wang Yi warned Antony Blinken, US secretary of state, against supporting Taiwan’s independence, according to Chinese state media.
The US has been strengthening alliances in Europe and Asia in an effort to present a united front against Beijing. Biden has reinvigorated the “Quad”, a security group that includes Australia, Japan and India.
In July, Taro Aso, then Japan’s deputy prime minister, said a conflict over Taiwan would pose an existential threat that would require Japan and the US to “defend Taiwan together”.
Source: Financial Times