Australia’s Foreign Affairs Minister Misreads ANZUS Treaty

Kevin Rudd, Australia’s Foreign Minister has suggested that if the recent conflict on the Korean peninsula worsens Australia may find itself drawn into the ensuing war (source). Rudd is basing this claim upon the ANZUS Treaty, specifically Article IV which states:

Each Party recognizes that an armed attack in the Pacific Area on any of the Parties would be dangerous to its own peace and safety and declares that it would act to meet the common danger in accordance with its constitutional processes.

Any such armed attack and all measures taken as a result thereof shall be immediately reported to the Security Council of the United Nations. Such measures shall be terminated when the Security Council has taken the measures necessary to restore and maintain international peace and security. (source)

The treaty states that Australia is obliged to offer assistance only when a state party to the treaty is attacked. South Korea is not party to the ANZUS Treaty and therefore Australia does not have to commit any troops to a conflict should one arise. Of course should America commit troops to the conflict they would be in harms way however Australia is under absolutely no obligation to follow America into every one of its wars.

The ANZUS Treaty was last invoked by Prime Minister John Howard following the 9/11 terrorist attacks upon very suspect information (there was little evidence of the attacks originating from Iraq or Afghanistan, the actual planning allegedly took place in Germany). New Zealand pulled out of the Treaty decades ago, it is about time that Australia followed suit and become responsible for its own defence.

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