Asia

Kevin Rudd rejects China concerns on Australia-US ties

  • 18 November 2011
  • From the section Asia
US President Barack Obama and Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard at RAAF Darwin on November 17
Image caption Barack Obama unveiled plans for a deep alliance during a trip to Australia

Australia has dismissed concerns that its deepening military ties with the US could anger China.

Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd said Australia would not have its security policy dictated by any external power.

"We don't seek to dictate to the Chinese what their national security policy should be," he told ABC News.

This week Australia revealed it had agreed to host a full US Marine task force by 2016, amid angry comment in Chinese state media.

The Global Times newspaper, which often runs bombastic commentary pieces, accused Australia of playing China for a fool.

The paper suggested it would be impossible for China to remain detached from an increased US presence in Australia, and said the move could harm relations between the two countries.

Mr Rudd dismissed those suggestions, saying Australia and China would continue to have a relationship based on "mutual respect".

"Let's just be very blunt about it, we are not going to have our national security policy dictated by any other external power. That's a sovereign matter for Australia," he said in an interview with ABC.

The announcement of a US Marine deployment was made during a short visit by US President Barack Obama this week.

During his trip, Mr Obama said the Asia-Pacific region was now a "top priority" of US security policy and pledged to help allies in the area.

China is locked in a territorial dispute with allies of the US, including the Philippines and Taiwan, over island groupings in the South China Sea.

Mr Obama's speech has been seen as a direct challenge to China's attempts to establish itself as the pre-eminent power in the region.

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