For the first time ever, very few Australians say they will support the United States if it decides to intervene during the Chinese invasion of Taiwan, according to a major poll this week.
Some 64 percent of Australians saw a potential military conflict between the US and China as a “serious threat” to Australia’s national interests, with Russia’s foreign policy at No. 1 (68 percent) behind China’s foreign policy (65 percent). percent) was at number 2. and cyber attacks by other countries (64 percent) at No. 4, said a 2022 survey by the Lowy Institute think tank published Tuesday.
The survey found that, up eight percentage points since 2019, more than half of respondents – 51 per cent – favored deploying an Australian defense force “if China invades Taiwan and the United States decides to intervene.” did.”
Two-thirds—60 percent—backed Australian forces are being used to conduct freedom of navigation operations “in the South China Sea and other disputed areas claimed by China”, the results showed.
Between March 15 and March 28, 2,006 Australian adults were surveyed in the backdrop of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The answers to questions about China may have come during a long low point in Canberra’s ties with Beijing and years of tensions between Beijing and Taipei.
In August 2021, a survey conducted by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs found for the first time that more than half of Americans—52 percent—approved of using US forces to defend Taiwan, although Washington’s military questioned Support for Taipei despite the official policy of ambiguity.
The Lowy Institute results showed a sharp drop in trust in China (12 percent) and its leader, Xi Jinping (11 percent), with 75 percent of respondents saying China “will become a military threat to Australia in the next 20 years”. . Including 32 percent who thought the possibility was “very likely.”
The survey showed that facing the changing security environment in the Asia-Pacific, only 53 percent of Australians said they felt “very safe” or “safe” in 2022, a drop of 17 points from 2021.
A super-majority of 87 percent felt that the ANZUS alliance between Australia, New Zealand and the United States was important, with 63 percent of Australians in favor of establishing American troops in the country, while 67 percent favored the presence of British forces in Australia. was also supported. ,
According to the report compiled by Natasha Kasam of the Lowy Institute, 64 percent said an alliance with the US would make Australia safer from attack or pressure from China, and 76 percent believed the US was in danger. America will come to the defense of Australia. At the same time, 77 percent agreed that the coalition made it more likely for Australia to “engage in a war in Asia that would not be in Australia’s interest.”
Australians were divided on the merits of their country’s role in nuclear submarines and mini-lateral partnerships such as the high-tech treaties AUKUS (Australia, UK and US) and Quad (Australia, Japan, India and US). Of the former, 52 per cent said it would make Australia safer and 53 per cent felt the same way about the latter.
Confidence in the US (65 per cent) remained stable but was behind the UK (87 per cent), Japan (87 per cent) and France (82 per cent). Meanwhile, Joe Biden (58 percent) in the confidence list is fifth behind New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern (87 percent), French President Emmanuel Macron (67 percent), Japanese PM Fumio Kishida (65 percent) and UK PM Boris Johnson. But were. (59 percent).
As with Australian views of China, confidence in Russia declined sharply, falling 21 points from 2021 to just 5 percent this year, the survey found. This was also reflected in public confidence in Vladimir Putin, which fell to 6 percent. According to a separate Lowy Institute survey of 3,583 Australian adults between April 14 and 24, nine in 10 Australians—87 per cent—said they were concerned about Sino-Russia cooperation.
As was the case during America’s transition from former President Donald Trump to Biden, officials in Beijing spoke of an opportunity for Australian Labor to reestablish strained bilateral ties with Canberra following Anthony Albanese’s election victory in May Was. However, change has been slow, with the new prime minister holding firm on areas of disagreement.
Albanese joins Ardern, Kishida and South Korean President Yoon Suk-yol for a government-level invitation to their country’s first NATO summit in Brussels this week. The bloc’s historic decision to invite four Asia-Pacific leaders did not go unnoticed in Beijing and other capitals.
“China wants to be the most powerful nation in the world,” Albanese told the Brussels Forum of the German Marshall Fund on Wednesday. “He has an authoritarian streak.”
“Just as Russia seeks to rebuild a sort of Russian or Soviet empire, the Chinese regime is looking for friends, whether in Russia or in the region, through financial means. [and] economic support, to build alliances and weaken the historically Western alliance in places like the Indo-Pacific.”
The Chinese government imposed a slew of indirect economic sanctions against Australian exports in 2020 after former PM Scott Morrison called for an independent investigation into the origins of COVID-19. Morrison’s alignment with Trump and later Biden over regional security issues further escalated tensions between Canberra and Beijing.
“Australia at present [the] The subject of economic coercion from China, with sanctions on everything from coal to wine to barley to meat,” Albanese said. We insist with the change of government that our values do not change.
Albanese said Australia wants good relations with China but will not compromise.
“We insist that those sanctions — there is no basis for this, and they should be lifted,” he said.