Keating wary of potential US-China war
FORMER prime minister Paul Keating is adamant Canberra needs to tell the incoming Trump administration from the getgo that Australia will sit out any US “adventurism” over South China Sea tensions.
US secretary of state nominee Rex Tillerson said this week China’s building of artificial islands and decision to put military assets on them was “akin to Russia’s taking Crimea” from Ukraine.
Mr Tillerson said China should be sent a clear signal that the island building needs to stop and access to them “is not going to be allowed”. He also flagged the US had to “show back-up” with its traditional allies in the South-East Asia region.
Mr Keating urged Australia to be wary.
“When the US secretary of state-designate threatens to involve Australia in war with China, the Australian people need to take note,” he said.
Australia should not provide naval commitment to joint operations in the South China Sea and no enhanced US military facilitation of such operations, he said.
Tillerson’s claim that China’s control of access to the South China Sea would be a threat to the “entire global economy” was “ludicrous”, Mr Keating said.
“No country would be more badly affected than China if it moved to impede navigation,” he said. “On the other hand, Australia’s prosperity and the security of the world would be devastated by war.”
When the US secretary of state-designate threatens to involve Australia in war with China, the Australian people need to take note. – Paul Keating (left)