US Army Official: Australia Must Choose Between US, China

Says Govt Must Decide Which Country Is More of a Vital Interest

In comments on Australian radio, US Army Assistant Chief of Staff Col. Tom Hanson warned that the Australia needs to make a decision between its alliance with the United States or its efforts to improve economic ties with China, saying the time was fast approach that they would need to decide which was more vital to their national interest.

The United States is a long-time military ally of Australia, but a fairly minor customer for the country’s exports. China, on the other hand, is by far Australia’s largest trading partner both as an importer and exporter, and the country’s reliance on natural resources which Australia has in abundance has made them natural trading partners.

Australian officials have offered some statements of support for US efforts to contest China’s maritime claims in the South China Sea, and some Australian politicians are warning that they believe that their reliance on trade with China is giving China growing diplomatic influence with them.

Pentagon officials later sought to downplay the comments, insisting that Col. Hanson, despite being a very high-ranking official in the army, did not “necessarily” represent the position of the US government.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of

  • longlance

    “If yuh ain’t with us, yer with the Chinee”.

  • Rick

    Wouldn’t blame them if the went with China.
    Somehow I don’t think the US will let that happen,

  • John Wells

    Someone needs to enforce the doctrine that military officers are subordinate to civilian leadership, and to shut their mouths on policy unless given the go ahead by their civilian superiors.

  • curmudgeonvt

    Someone needs to remind the Pentagon that a Colonel is not a “very high-ranking official in the army” but most likely someone who has kept his nose relatively clean but will be passed over for General and thus, a dead-ender. Colonels now are more prevalent than Captains were in Nam – and probably more expendable. He’s a middle-manager and most likely destined to retire as one.

  • Joji Cherian

    Australia will join with China.Sentiments will have to be set aside for harsh realities.Not only that in the emerging scenario, where a declining USA as ally will be a liability for Australia.