Wong said a war in the Taiwan Strait would be “catastrophic for all” and Australia’s role was to “lower the heat” between competing countries.
“And my approach to this is not simply a politician seeking to avoid hypothetical questions. It’s a frank and clear-eyed assessment of our interests. We do not want to see any unilateral change to the status quo.
“We call for the peaceful resolution of cross-strait issues through dialogue without the threat or use of force or coercion. Because, let me be absolutely clear – a war over Taiwan would be catastrophic for all.
“… So I’ll say it now at the National Press Club – to avoid any possible misunderstanding – our job is to lower the heat on any potential conflict, increasing pressure on others to do the same.”
Wong also spoke on Australia’s efforts to stabilise relations with China while seeking to counter the superpower’s rising influence in the region.
She said Australians had to realise that “China is going to continue to keep being China”.
“A great power like China uses every tool at its disposal to maximise its own resilience and influence, its domestic industry policy, its massive international investment in infrastructure, diplomacy and military capability, access to its markets.
“This statecraft illustrates the challenge for middle powers like us and our partners in South-East Asia and the Pacific. Yet, we need not waste energy with shock or outrage at China seeking to its advantage. Instead, we have to channel our energy in pressing for our own advantage.”
Wong said Australia was seeking “a strategic equilibrium” in the Indo Pacific “where no country dominates and no country is dominated”.
Wong also defended the federal government’s drive to build nuclear-powered submarines under the AUKUS plan with the US and UK.
She said the record $368 billion defence project aimed was a “transformational moment” for Australia that would help maintain peace.
Wong also hit back at Labor elder statesman and former prime minister Paul Keating who attacked the Albanese government’s support for AUKUS.
She said Keating’s comments had “diminished” his legacy by criticising the nuclear submarines agreement.