Australia’s Ambassador to the United States, Arthur Sinodinos, has said China’s coercion in the Indo-Pacific is now a bigger threat than September 11-style terrorism.
“The geostrategic challenge in the Indo-Pacific, with the rise of China, is pre-eminent in US minds. It’s pre-eminent in all of our minds – it’s our neighbourhood,” Ambassador Sinadinos told The Australia Financial Review (AFR).
“But to the extent that there’s a terror threat, we’re in a much stronger, more sophisticated position to deal with that threat than we were 20 years ago. We’ve learnt a lot, we’ve deployed assets in new ways to deal with that.”
Mr Sinadinos added that the strategic ANZUS alliance will be stronger in coming months as both Australia and the US hasten military and economic tie-ups to counter intimidation from Beijing.
“The US is very determined that the major geostrategic challenge is the Indo-Pacific and they want to play their role in that region,” he told the newspaper.
“The trips to the region by senior officials Antony Blinken, Lloyd Austin and more recently, the Vice-President [Kamala Harris], all put clothes on the rhetoric about further pivoting to the Indo-Pacific.
“The feedback we get from officials within the administration is that leaving Afghanistan is part of their strategy of further concentrating their efforts in the Indo-Pacific, and you can expect that there’ll be more US engagement, on both defence and security, trade and economy in the region.
“It will be ANZUS-plus.”
Mr Sinodinos added he wanted to make sure Australia took part in shaping policy on the involvement in wars and their exit strategies in the future and that an investigation into the Afghan war was essential.
“As a country that was there for 20 years alongside the Americans, I think Australia will be doing its part to help shape those policies, views, visions and outlines,” he said.
“I think we’ll be active in that process because you know we expended quite a bit of blood and treasure. And we more than earned our seat at the table.”
Source: The Australian Financial Review.