Keat­ing wary of po­ten­tial US-China war

Warwick Daily News - - NEWS -

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)

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.”

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