U.S., Australia discussing ‘contingencies’ in case of Taiwan conflict

The United States and Australia are working on a range of contingencies in case of military conflict with China over its policies toward Taiwan, according to a top U.S. diplomat in Canberra.

In an interview with the Australian National University’s (ANU) national security podcast on Thursday, the most senior U.S. diplomat in Australia, Michael Goldman, said the two countries were “committed as allies’’.

He said they were working to make their militaries interoperable and in strategic planning.

“The strategic planning covers a range of contingencies of which Taiwan is obviously an important component,’’ Goldman added.

He said the U.S. was focused, not only on possible military intervention in Taiwan but also on risks such as cyber incursions.

Concern has been growing over China’s increasing assertiveness in the Indo-Pacific region and its growing tensions with Taiwan.

Taiwan has its own independent and democratically elected government, but Beijing nonetheless claims sovereignty over the island.

The U.S. has repeatedly condemned Beijing for its stance on Taiwan, with Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, last month telling top Chinese diplomats in a face-to-face meeting that the U.S. intends to defend the “rules-based order’’.

Goldman, the U.S. embassy’s charge d’affaires, also told the ANU there was enormous respect for Australia for standing up to China’s economic coercion.

He said the U.S. and China would not see substantial improvements in its relationship “while it’s holding hostage the economies of our partner nations’’. (dpa/NAN)