No change in status quo for China: Albanian



Australia will continue to work with its allies to promote stability in the region following escalating tensions between Beijing and Washington, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said.

It comes after US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi landed in Taiwan despite China saying the visit would threaten peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait.

Mr Albanian said Australia’s position on Taiwan and China has not changed.

“We don’t want to see a unilateral change in the status quo,” he told reporters in Canberra.

“We will continue to work with partners to promote peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait.”

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Ms. Pelosi is the most senior US official to visit Taiwan in 25 years, but the trip has left the Chinese military on high alert.

China considers Taiwan part of its territory and has never renounced the use of force to bring it under its control.

Chinese warplanes buzzed the Taiwan Strait border ahead of Ms Pelosi’s arrival in Taipei and Chinese state media said the People’s Liberation Army would hold exercises near Taiwan from Thursday to Sunday.

The US has warned China not to use Ms Pelosi’s visit as a pretext for military action against Taiwan.

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However, Mr Albanese would not be interested in supporting Ms Pelosi’s support for democracy in Taiwan.

“The level of US involvement with our Taiwanese counterparts is a matter for them,” he said.

Secretary of State Penny Wong, who has also called for calm, said the situation was “deeply worrying”, especially for those living in Taiwan.

The foreign minister reiterated Australia’s support for a one-China policy in which Taiwan is not recognized as a country and the Beijing government is considered the sole government of China.

“Australia has a two-pronged One China policy… which discourages unilateral changes to the status quo,” she told TBEN Radio on Wednesday.

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“We must continue to press with others in the region to maintain peace and stability in the region.”

Ms. Pelosi, who is second in line for the US presidency after Vice President Kamala Harris, is a longtime critic of China.

Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen was due to meet Pelosi on Wednesday before the couple will have lunch together.

China sees visits by US officials to Taiwan as an encouragement to the island’s pro-independence stance.