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'Inconceivable' for Australia not to join US to defend Taiwan —Australian official

'Inconceivable' for Australia not to join US to defend Taiwan —Australian official

MELBOURNE - It would be "inconceivable" for Australia not to join the United States should Washington take action to defend Taiwan, Australian Defense Minister Peter Dutton said on Saturday.

On Wednesday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the United States and its allies would take unspecified "action" if China were to use force to alter the status quo over Taiwan.

"It would be inconceivable that we wouldn't support the US in an action if the US chose to take that action," Dutton told The Australian newspaper in an interview.

"And, again, I think we should be very frank and honest about that, look at all of the facts and circumstances without pre-committing, and maybe there are circumstances where we wouldn't take up that option, (but) I can't conceive of those circumstances."

China's military said on Tuesday it conducted a combat readiness patrol in the direction of the Taiwan Strait, after its Defense Ministry condemned a visit by a US congressional delegation to Taiwan, the democratically governed island claimed by Beijing.

"(China's) been very clear about their intent to go into Taiwan and we need to make sure that there is a high level of preparedness, a greater sense of —deterrence by our capability, and that is how I think we put our country in a position of strength," Dutton told the newspaper. 

China has not ruled out using force to bring Taiwan under its control, but has played down the notion that war is imminent. —Reuters