Australia, US want China to be `force for good`

Australian PM said Canberra, Washington want China to be a "force for good".

Sydney: Canberra and Washington want China to be a "force for good", Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard said on Sunday.

Gillard said the stability and security of the Asia Pacific region would be a key topic in Monday`s talks with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Defence Secretary Robert Gates in Melbourne.

"I think we will be talking about the geopolitics of our region, and that means of course we`ll be talking about the rise of China and as China rises, what sort of force it is going to be in the world," Gillard told commercial television.

"I believe we have a shared perspective with the United States that we want China to be a force for good, strongly engaged in global and regional architecture, strongly engaged in a rules-based framework."

Gillard said the two countries would discuss boosting joint exercises and expanding US access to Australian military facilities as part of Washington`s review into its defence strategy in the region.

"I think this is in Australia`s national interest, obviously our defence relationship with the United States is critical to us, it is our foundation stone alliance," she said.

"In those circumstances the best possible cooperation between our defence forces is in Australia`s interest."

Gillard said they would also discuss how to achieve an "irreversible" transition to local forces in Afghanistan and would touch on contemporary challenges such as space junk and cyber security.

The Prime Minister said US President Barack Obama`s decision to abandon a cap-and-trade emissions trading scheme to tackle pollution would not deter her from putting a price on carbon in Australia.

"We are great friends and allies of America, but we are not an American state," she said. "We are our own country, we will determine our own strategy."

Gillard dismissed Hillary’s mistaken reference to ex-leader and now Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd as "Prime Minister Rudd" as a "misstatement" and denied it reflected confusion about who was in charge.

"Not of any interest or consequence to me, obviously just a slip of the tongue and there we have it," she said.

Gillard and Hillary are due to meet later Sunday ahead of Monday`s annual AUSMIN defence and security talks.

Bureau Report