Magazine article National Defense

Australian Policy Dependent upon Asia-U.S. Ties

Magazine article National Defense

Australian Policy Dependent upon Asia-U.S. Ties

Article excerpt

Australian attaches affirmed their intention of maintaining a solid relationship with the United States. But, they also intend to fortify ties with Pacific rim countries and intensify their relationship with China.

The officials spoke to a crowd of more than 100 industry representatives at an NDIA-sponsored panel discussion and luncheon conducted recently in Washington, D.C.

"Although we have important global interests," said Patrick Carroll, counselor of defence policy at the Australian Embassy, "the focus of our strategic attention-now, more than ever before-is on the Asia-Pacific region."

Carroll said this focal point stems from the Australian objective that the Asia Pacific region be regarded as a self-contained, strategic system-comprising the United States., the nations of Asia, and the countries of the South Pacific.

"It is our very firm view that continued U.S. presence is vital to regional security. Also of future fundamental importance to regional security will be China's role," said Carroll. This objective is part of a larger effort by the Liberal National Party government, which came to power in Australia in March 1996. The current security policy became law in August 1997, drawing, in part, on a white paper completed by the new government.

"Australia does not see China as a threat," Carroll said. "We want China to be outwardlooking, prosperous, and working to build a stable, cooperative Asia-Pacific. Our policies will be working towards that end.

"But obviously, the relationship between China and the United States will be a critical determinant to the strategic environment. …

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