Albanese backs dialog at regional security forum in the backdrop of China-US tensions

Singapore, Jun 2 (EFE).- Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese on Friday called for dialog as a measure to prevent a potential conflict between China and the United States, as he inaugurated a defense forum in Singapore, marked by the tensions between the two superpowers.

At the Shangri-La dialog in Singapore – Asia’s most important annual defense forum – Albanese said that open dialog was a “essential precondition” or “guardrail” to avoid a potential disaster stemming out of disagreement between two countries.

“The consequences of such a (communication) breakdown – whether in the Taiwan Strait or elsewhere – would not be confined to the big powers or the site of their conflict, they would be devastating for the world,” the Australian PM warned.

“If you don’t have the capacity – at a decision-making level – to pick up the phone, to seek some clarity or provide some context, then there is always a much greater risk of assumptions spilling over into irretrievable action and reaction,” he added.

Albanese highlighted Australia’s efforts to stabilize its ties with China – their main trade ally – despite major differences, as an example to follow.

While hailing China’s economic transformation for benefiting the entire region, he warned against external pressure on the sovereignty of some territories, as Beijing continues its expansion in the South China Sea and has not ruled out an invasion of Taiwan.

On the other hand, the Australian PM also defended Canberra’s acquisition of nuclear-powered submarines as part of the AUKUS security pact with Washington and London.

He said that the pact reflected Australia’s will to become a more efficient contributor to regional security and was aimed at preventing war instead of preparing for it.

The Shangri-La dialog – set to continue until Sunday – is being attended by more than 550 delegates from 40 countries, including US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and his Chinese counterpart Li Shangfu, although a meeting between the two was ruled out by Beijing on Monday. EFE


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