Paul Keating leads the charge for China once again, and again betraying his role as a lobbyist for the Chinese.
Best ignored, and instead pay heed to the words of Lee Kuan Yew, a real statesman who ,being himself Chinese , understood China and the Chinese in a way Keating cannot.So as, LKY said:
China will not let an international court arbitrate territorial disputes in the South China Sea, so the presence of U.S. firepower in the Asia-Pacific will be necessary if the U.N. Law of the Sea is to prevail.
A warning as that now issued by Secretary of State designate Rex Tillerson is long overdue.
South China Sea: Paul Keating says Rex Tillerson threatening to involve Australia in war
Former prime minister Paul Keating has accused United States secretary of state nominee Rex Tillerson of threatening to involve Australia in war.
Earlier this week, the former Exxon Mobil chief executive said the US would send a "clear signal" to China that its access to artificial islands in the South China Sea would be blocked.
In a confirmation hearing before the US Senate and Foreign Relations Committee, Mr Tillerson also said the US's traditional allies in South-East Asia should also provide "back up" in the region.
In a statement, Mr Keating said the Australian people needed to take note of Mr Tillerson's statements, which he described as "simply ludicrous".
"When the US secretary of state-designate threatens to involve Australia in war with China, the Australian people need to take note," he said.
"That is the only way Rex Tillerson's testimony that a 'signal' should be sent to China that 'access to these islands is not going to be allowed', and that US allies in the region should be there 'to show back-up', can be read."
China has laid claim to a swathe of shoals and islands inside what is known as the "Nine-Dash Line", which represents about 90 per cent of the South China Sea.
In his statement, Mr Keating rejected Mr Tillerson's claim that China's control of access the South China Sea would be a threat to the entire global economy.
"On the other hand, Australia's prosperity and the security of the world would be devastated by war."
China plays down comments
China's Foreign Ministry has issued a measured response to Mr Tillerson's statements — which have been described by some commentators as confrontation — calling for continued cooperation with Washington.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang reiterated Beijing's view that it had indisputable sovereignty in the South China Sea, but he also sought some common ground.
"We went through Mr Rex Tillerson's responses at his Senate confirmation hearing," Mr Lu said.
"I'd agree with one of his points when he said that China and the US have some divergences but the two countries also share a lot of common interests and consensus.
"I appreciate his concluding that both sides should not let divergences hinder the China-US cooperation which is in line with a wide range of shared interests."
Time to 'cut the tag': Keating
Mr Keating has previously called on Australia to "cut the tag" with American foreign policy and focus more on building relationships in Asia.
In December, Mr Keating told 7.30 that Australia's alliance with the US had taken on a "reverential, sacramental quality" and the nation should build a more independent foreign policy.
In his statement issued on Friday, he called on Government to make it clear that Australia would not take part in "adventurism" in the South China Sea.
"We should tell the US administration from the get-go that Australia will not be part of such adventurism, just as we should have done in Iraq 15 years ago," he said.
"That means no naval commitment to joint operations in the South China Sea and no enhanced US military facilitation of such operations.