中国官方媒体前不久抨击澳大利亚支持南中国海问题国际仲裁，并扬言会对堪培拉介入南中国海事务采取报复行动甚至军事打击。美国之音黎堡最近书面采访了澳大利亚皇家海军驻美国联络官彼得·利维准将(Commodore Peter Leavy)，谈到了中国发出的军事威胁以及美国与澳大利亚的军事同盟关系。
澳大利亚皇家海军准将彼得·利维” (美国之音黎堡拍摄 )
Intro: Chinese official media has threated to seek revenge, including possible military strike, against Australia for Canberra’s enthusiastic support of recent international tribunal ruling on the South China Sea. In August, 2016, VOA conducted a written Q & A with Commodore Peter Leavy, Australia’s Naval Attache to the United States. Here are the questions and answers in full.
VOA: In military terms, what can and will Australia do to solidify its view that the South China Sea tribunal ruling should be respected and implemented? Will it include freedom of navigation sailing and flying in the South China Sea?
Commodore Leavy: Australia’s position on this issue has been consistent and clear and is well known throughout the region. We don’t take sides on competing territorial claims in the South China Sea, but we have a strong interest in regional peace and stability, respect for international law, unimpeded trade, and freedom of navigation and overflight in the South China Sea.
Australia has called on the Philippines and China to abide by the tribunal’s ruling, which is final and legally binding on both parties. And like many of our international partners, Australia will watch how they respond to the outcome. I expect it will be a bit of test for how the region manages disputes peacefully and in accordance with international law.
The Australian Defence Force has maintained a robust program of international engagement with countries in and around the South China Sea, as part of our longstanding contribution to regional security. This includes bilateral and multilateral military exercises, port visits, maritime surveillance operations and ship transits. Australia, like all countries, has a right under international law to freedom of navigation and freedom of overflight. Australian vessels and aircraft will continue to exercise these rights, including in the South China Sea.
VOA: Australia is openly threatened with military strike by Chinese official media. Do you take that threat seriously? How capable is Australia of defending itself?
Commodore Leavy: I have seen some of the Chinese media commentary, but I think these are extreme views within some sections of the Chinese media. I don’t believe they represent the general Chinese view, nor do they acknowledge the excellent relationship Australia and China share across many areas. In fact, our navies have just both participated in Exercise RIMPAC in Hawaii and I have personally been involved in bi-lateral training activities at sea between the PLA-N and RAN.
The Australia Defence Force is a well equipped, trained and led military that will act in accordance within Australia’s national interests whenever and wherever directed to do so by our government.
VOA: Do you believe the United States will help defend Australia? What needs to be done to boost bilateral defense ties between the two countries?
Commodore Leavy : The ANZUS Treaty is the key security agreement between Australia and the United States and allows both our countries to assist each other in times of conflict. The treaty was first invoked in 2001 when Australia supported the United States after the tragic attacks of September 11. Our two militaries work very well with each other and we share a lot of common equipment, procedures and key enabling and support functions. Australian and US units are able to come together in a crisis and almost immediately start working effectively. This has been demonstrated many times in recent years, both in planned exercises and real-world events.
VOA: What do you hope to see in the development of US Japan and Australia trilateral defense alliance?
Commodore Leavy: To clarify, while Australia, the United States and Japan share common values and strategic interests, there is no trilateral defence alliance between our countries. Australia and Japan have separate, but common alliances with the United States, which also underpin our trilateral defence cooperation. It is also important to recognise that the strategic interests we share trilaterally are not mutually exclusive – many other countries have these interests too. Australia will always work with other nations such as the US and Japan, but also China, India and all other maritime and regional powers to progress collective security at sea. It is in all our interests that trade flows peacefully and predictably around the globe, especially in the interconnected and globalised world in which we all now live. The more the navies of the world operate together, in a transparent way, the more we will build understanding and confidence between each other and the less likely there is to be a mis-communication that leads to tension or even conflict. The initiatives that are in place, or being developed, to further international maritime security, such as the Code for Unplanned Encounters at Sea (CUES), are open to all countries and I strongly encourage all nations to support them. We need to collectively work together to build maritime security not only in the South China Sea but around the globe. None of these initiatives is designed to work against any particular nation or group of nations. We all need to work together to help maintain the global trading system that has served all nations, including Australia and China, so well over the last few decades.