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Wednesday, August 18, 2004

The Australian > Downer assures China on Taiwan

By Catherine Armitage, China correspondent
August 18, 2004
FOREIGN Minister Alexander Downer has indicated in Beijing that the US should not automatically expect Australia's support in the event that China launches an attack against Taiwan.

His statement followed a meeting with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, who raised the idea of a new "strategic perspective" in the Australia-China relationship.

In a news conference later, Mr Downer gave the strongest indication so far that Australia would not automatically take the US's side against China in the event of an attack across the Taiwan Strait.

The ANZUS alliance for mutual defence between Australia and the US was invoked only in the event of an attack on either country, "so some other activity elsewhere in the world ... doesn't invoke (it)", Mr Downer said.

By contrast, the US is obliged by its Taiwan Relations Act to defend Taiwan against attack.

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