London, Sep 25: Former Australian prime minister Malcolm Fraser has expressed concern over Australia throwing its weight behind a misguided attempt by the United States to “contain” the rise of China.
Taking a swipe at President Barack Obama’s “inappropriate” speech to the parliament in Canberra last year, Fraser has urged Australian leaders to have confidence in their own wisdom and not be “a strategic colony”.
Raising the spectre of armed conflict as U.S. influence wanes, but remains a supreme military power, Fraser said Australia should seek to persuade Washington to rely upon diplomacy and negotiations.
“The argument will not be easy,” The Age quoted Fraser, as saying.
“We have to tell America that policies of containment won’t work and are arousing significant hostility, and that will grow. Such a position would also send a powerful message to our neighbours in the region in which we live, including China, that we want to play a cooperative and constructive role in partnership with them to secure peace throughout the whole region,” he added.
Fraser’s comments that he made at the University of Melbourne are stronger than his previous criticism of the modern character of the US alliance, warning a Cold War mentality has taken over Washington’s attitudes towards China.
“This policy of containment seems to suggest that the United States does not understand the difference between the Soviet Union and China,” Fraser had said.
Fraser said the troop deployment in Darwin, talk of basing spy planes based in Cocos Island and a US aircraft carrier near Perth, along with extra US forces in the Philippines, Singapore and potentially Vietnam had only one target: China, the paper said.
“China has refused to be provoked, and that is not surprising because they are well aware that this is an election year in the United States. We need to be aware that China can be profoundly measured in international affairs,” he said. (ANI)