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Australia to Join US to Defend Taiwan

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According to a statement made by the Australian Defence Minister on 13 Nov, says that the country would join efforts made by the US to defend Taiwan.

The statement made by Peter Dutton said that it would be “inconceivable” if the country did not join the United States, if the US decides to defend Taiwan. 

Earlier this week, on 10 Nov, the US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken had said that the US and its allies would take “action” if China choose to use aggression to change the status quo over Taiwan.  

“It would be inconceivable that we wouldn’t support the US in an action if the US chose to take that action,” Dutton shared during an interview with The Australian newspaper.

The Chinese military, which has been aggressively posturing towards Taiwan, said that it has been conducting drill to ensure battle readiness. The drills were aimed at the Taiwan Strait. Following a recent visit by a US congressional delegation, the Chinese Defence Ministry had criticised the US actions. 

China has always maintained a “One China Policy,” making claims over Taiwan. Chinese policy, however, has never explicitly confirmed that it would use force in Taiwan. Recent military drills by Chinese forces have kept the region tense. 

The Australian minister, during his interaction with the newspaper, spoke critically about Chinese intention and said that such action compels countries to be prepared and build capabilities to deter any aggression.

It may be noted that earlier the US President Joe Biden had promised defensive action in the event of an attack by China on Taiwan. 

In September this year, Australia along with the US and UK announced the formation of AUKUS, a trilateral security arrangement. Under this arrangement, Canberra signed a deal with the US to build nuclear submarines. This move, experts believe, is aimed at China. 

Australia has been realigning its action, similar to US policy in the region. 

Opinion in Australia towards involvement in the region, however, is divided. 

For instance, former Australian prime minister Paul Keating spoke against such Australian proposed alignment. Keating said that Australia should be cautious in getting drawn into a conflict in the region, as Taiwan does not serve as a “vital interest” to Australia. 

However, there are experts who believe, states coming together might act as a deterrent against China.  

The US has been reaching out to friends and allies, following recent differences over Chinese actions. The efforts are to have some kind of multilateral front against Chinese aggressive policy. The US President met the Quad leaders recently; members of Quad are Australia, Japan and India. 

The US President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping are proposed to meet virtually on 15 Nov. It is expected that Taiwan is going to weigh heavily during the discussions.