Australia, US, Japan praise China for Asia engagement
Updated: 2006-03-19 09:01
The United States, Australia and Japan concluded historic security talks with praise for China's engagement in the Asia-Pacific and an agreement to seek greater cooperation within Asia.
L-R Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Aso, Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer and US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice pose for a photograph prior to their trilateral talks in Sydney. The historic security talks concluded with praise for China's engagement in the Asia-Pacific and an agreement to seek greater cooperation within Asia. [AFP]
US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Aso were hosted by Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer for talks in Sydney that focussed on the war in Iraq, Iran's nuclear crisis and China's rising power.
"Supporting the emergence and consolidation of democracies and strengthening cooperative frameworks in the Asia-Pacific region was a particular focus of our attention," they said in a joint statement.
"We welcomed China's constructive engagement in the region and concurred on the value of enhanced cooperation with other parties such as ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) and the Republic of Korea."
The parties welcomed as a positive step a decision by India to place its civilian nuclear facilities under international safeguards and recognized the importance of "reinforcing our global partnership with India."
China's growing influence was expected to a major issue at the talks following remarks by Rice earlier this week urging the Asian giant to explain its military build-up.
Downer Saturday moved to dampen fears that the trilateral meet was designed to produce a containment strategy on China, saying it was natural for three countries with so much in common to meet to discuss security.
At a press conference after the meeting, Downer sought to reassure China there was no "conspiracy" against it.
"This is a very natural relationship... and shouldn't be interpreted as an act of conspiracy against China, of course it's not," he said.
"It's not for China to feel that we are ganging up on China or that Australia is suddenly changing its policy on China."