Federal Liberal Senator Arthur Sinodinos has responded to Donald Trump's controversial call with Taiwan by saying it's in Australia's interest to work both with the US and China in the region.
US President-elect Trump stirred fresh controversy on Saturday after speaking with Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen, bucking decades of US diplomacy that has acknowledged Taiwan as part of "one China".
Beijing claims Taiwan as its own territory and in the wake of the Trump call China said it had lodged "stern representations" with US officials over the issue.
Donald Trump's call with Taiwan is "a wake-up call for Beijing," one Chinese analyst said https://t.co/f3AeI91Ffz— The New York Times (@nytimes) December 3, 2016
Trump, for his part, defended the call with his Taiwanese counterpart.
Interesting how the U.S. sells Taiwan billions of dollars of military equipment but I should not accept a congratulatory call.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 3, 2016
The President of Taiwan CALLED ME today to wish me congratulations on winning the Presidency. Thank you!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 3, 2016
Asked whether the diplomatic flare-up could spark a Cold War in the Asia Pacific region, Sinodinos said the federal government needed to find ways to work with both the US and China.
"Our national interest is to work with both the US and with China to keep them both engaged in a really productive way in the region," Senator Sinodinos told the ABC on Sunday.
He also said it was important to remember that Trump was not yet in the White House.
"Don't forget we are still in the transition period," he said.
In Sydney, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull refused to be drawn on the issue.
Turnbull told reporters he didn't run commentary on US politics during the election and would not "embark on becoming a US politics commentator now".