Owen Eather is entitled to claim that Chinese commentators are happy with recent Australia’s military pact with Japan (“Australia-Japan pact welcome,” April 22). I just hope he tells us who they are. But he is not entitled totally to distort my views in the process.
In relating Australia’s long history of hawkish, anti-China polices in Asia in my Japan Times column of April 12 (“Australia’s anti-China pact“), I did not “laud” the Whitlam administration of 1972-75 (in which I served) and ignore its toleration of Indonesia’s brutal intervention in East Timor. To the absolute contrary, I specifically noted that even that allegedly progressive administration had backed U.S. policies in Cambodia and had been in power when Canberra condoned, and then supported, the Indonesian East Timor intervention in 1975.
Indeed, the support for Indonesia’s invasion of East Timor was a major reason for my deciding to leave that administration late in 1975.
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