Ex-Australian PM blasts Britain as ‘deluded’ and claims Liz Truss is ‘demented’ over China

Taiwan MP says AUKUS pact is a ‘security net’ against China

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Paul Keating, who served as Prime Minister from 1991 to 1996, penned a piece for the Pearls and Irritations blog which directly called out comments made by UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss on China. The former Labor leader wrote: “Remarks by the British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss that China could engage in military aggression in the Pacific, encouraged by Russia’s contingent moves against Ukraine, are nothing short of demented.

“Not simply irrational, demented.”

Ms Truss, who became Foreign Secretary during Boris Johnson’s reshuffle back in September, told the Lowy Institute in Sydney: “Threats to freedom, democracy and the rule of law aren’t just regional – they’re global.

“And that’s why we have to respond together.

“Russia and China are working together more and more as they strive to set the standards in technologies like artificial intelligence to assert their dominance over the West and Pacific through joint military exercises and in space.”

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However, Mr Keating also attacked the Sydney Morning Herald for running Ms Truss’ comments on their frontpage and Scott Morrison’s Liberal Government.

“It is a measure of how far the Herald has sunk in accommodating Hartcher’s extreme and unworldly positions — especially as they relate to China,” he said.

“The underlying story is the Government’s desperate promotion of Britain as a strategic partner of Australia in a policy of containment of China.”

Writing about the decline of Britain’s influence in East Asia, he added: “Britain suffers delusions of grandeur and relevance deprivation.”

He then suggested: “Truss would do us all a favour by hightailing it back to her collapsing, disreputable government, leaving Australia to find its own way in Asia.”

Pearls and Irritations, which describes itself as an “Australian platform for the exchange of ideas from a progressive, liberal perspective, with an emphasis on peace and justice”, was set up in 2013.

It has also vowed to “counter the obsession that the Australian media has with news coming out of the US and UK, to the neglect of coverage and interest in our own region”.

The website has run several articles criticising the decision taken by Scott Morrison to bring Australia into a submarine pact.

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Speaking about the AUKUS scheme in December, Keating said: “Eight submarines against China when we get the submarines in 20 years’ time, it’ll be like throwing a handful of toothpicks at a mountain.”

Mr Keating has also claimed Canberra should not be drawn into conflict over Taiwan and has played down the prospect of Beijing launching an invasion.

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