《TAIPEI TIMES》 US would defend Taiwan, former Australian PM says
Former Australian prime minister Kevin Rudd speaks during the unveiling of his official portrait at the Australian Parliament House in Canberra on Aug. 10. Photo: EPA-EFE
MUTUAL INTERESTS: The ideal scenario for the US and its allies would be their collective deterrence causing China to determine an invasion is too risky, Kevin Rudd said
By Liu Tzu-hsuan / Staff reporter
Former Australian prime minister Kevin Rudd on Thursday said he believes that the US would defend Taiwan against Chinese military aggression, as the Ministry of National Defense confirmed that an Australian naval ship passed through the Taiwan Strait.
“We [Australia] take seriously what [US] President [Joe] Biden has said and he said it on four occasions that the United States of America would defend Taiwan,” Rudd, who currently serves as Australia’s ambassador to the US, told Sky News Australia.
Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs Penny Wong （黃英賢） “have been absolutely clear-cut” that ensuring the maintenance of strategic equilibrium across the Taiwan Strait and broader East Asia is “good for Australia’s interests,” as well as the interests of the US and its allies, he said.
How the allies respond to issues in the Taiwan Strait would depend on future scenarios, such as which party initiates moves to change the “status quo,” he said.
The preferred scenario is that conflicts could be solved through “collective integrated deterrence,” which means that Beijing would determine that taking military actions against Taiwan would be too risky, he said.
“Deterrence has been effective,” he said, adding that it is the collective goal pursued by the governments of Australia, Japan, the US and others.
If deterrence fails, there are many other possible scenarios that could unfold — such as blockades, invasions or near invasions — which would be “very difficult to effectively war-game,” he said.
Asked if Australia would “automatically be part of that defense of Taiwan” due to its alliance with the US, Rudd said that the country refrains from speculating about hypothetical scenarios.
Separately, the Ministry of Defense yesterday said it had a full grasp of the situation regarding an Australian warship that had sailed through the Taiwan Strait from Thursday until early yesterday.
The ship sailed through the Strait in a southerly direction, during which the military fully monitored movements in the surrounding sea and airspace, and detected no abnormalities, the ministry said.
An Australian official confirmed that the vessel, HMAS Toowoomba, transited international waters in the Taiwan Strait as part of its regional deployment, Reuters reported.
In addition, six Chinese military aircraft were detected near the Taiwan Strait, including one flying over Taiwan’s southwest air defense identification zone, from 6am on Thursday to 6am yesterday, the ministry said.
The military was closely monitoring and handling the situation with military aircraft, ships and shore-based missile systems, it said.