Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said Australia remains committed to maintaining the “status quo” on China but will protect its national interests and values.
China fired nearly a dozen ballistic missiles during a live-fire exercise near Taiwan following US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s controversial visit to the island earlier this week.
State media also warned the US that they would bear “the full consequences” of the visit.
Mr. Albanese did not comment on Ms. Pelosi’s visit, but said his government wants peace and security in the region amid continued tensions.
“Australia has said we don’t want any change to the status quo, that’s also the position of the United States,” he told ABC radio on Friday.
“I am not commenting on the decisions on which the US speaker decided to go there.
“It’s really their business.”
The prime minister urged caution after China’s military exercises.
“We must stay on the course we have chosen, which is to seek cooperation and positive relations with China where we can, but uphold Australian values and Australia’s national interests where we must,” Mr Albanese said.
“This includes the issue of a law … allowing safe navigation and passage, including through the South China Sea.”
Foreign Minister Penny Wong warned that Beijing’s actions could lead to an accidental conflict.
Liberal Senator James Paterson also urged calm, condemning China’s response to the trip.
“I urge the government to consider, as we have done in the past, urging China to exercise restraint and avoid actions that could lead to miscalculations or accidents,” he told ABC radio.
“The military exercises that are taking place around Taiwan today are very risky and can cause harm very easily unintentionally, and China really needs to stop doing this.”
Senator Paterson, who visited the island, said it was in line with the One China policy backed by Australia and the US.
“This is a highly disproportionate response to the launch of ballistic missiles into the territorial waters of your neighbors in response to a Congressional delegation,” he said.
“For members of the US Congress, including the Speaker of the House, visiting Taiwan is routine.”
US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman will visit Canberra on Monday for talks with Senator Wong and officials.
Ms. Sherman will also visit Samoa, Tonga, the Solomon Islands and New Zealand next week as the US turns its diplomatic focus to the region.