Australian Defense Minister Peter Dutton said Saturday that it would be "inconceivable" for Australia not to join the US if it takes action to defend Taiwan in the event of a Chinese invasion.
"It would be inconceivable that we wouldn’t support the US in an action if the US chose to take that action," Dutton told The Australian. His comments came after US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Wednesday that the US and its allies would take "action" if China moved to take Taiwan by force.
He added, "And, again, I think we should be very frank and honest about that, look at all of the facts and circumstances without precommitting, and maybe there are circumstances where we wouldn’t take up that option, [but] I can’t conceive of those circumstances."
The US doesn’t have an obligation to defend Taiwan, but the Biden administration has been sending mixed messages to Beijing over the issue. Last month, President Biden said the US has a “commitment” to intervene if China invades Taiwan, and the White House was quick to clarify that his comments did not mean a change in policy.
Australia has joined the US in its campaign against China and recently signed a new military pact with Washington and London meant to counter Beijing, known as AUKUS. Canberra will get access to nuclear submarine technology out of the deal, although the submarines aren’t expected to be ready until the late 2030s.
Taiwan sees a friend in Australia and celebrated the signing of AUKUS. Last month, Taiwan’s foreign minister told Australian media that the island wants help from Canberra to prepare for war.
'Inconceivable' for Australia not to join US to defend Taiwan, says its defence minister https://t.co/8mpYwLJUhp— ST Foreign Desk (@STForeignDesk) November 13, 2021
"We would like to engage in security or intelligence exchanges with other like-minded partners, Australia included, so Taiwan is better prepared to deal with the war situation," Foreign Minister Joseph Wu said.