A new Pentagon planning document called the 'global posture review' emphasizes building defenses in the Indo-Pacific region against potential threats from China
'Global posture review,' planning document by Pentagon, in 2021 emphasized building defenses in the Indo-Pacific region against potential threats from China.

US military commander Lt Gen Stephen Sklenka said Australia would not be drawn into any major conflict in the Indo-Pacific region with China, adding that the decision has to be made at the national level.

"At least from the military perspective, there is no expectation of anybody participating in any conflict with us, because those decisions are national sovereign decisions," The Guardian quoted the deputy commander of the US Indo-Pacific Command as saying. "We don't dictate that to other countries."

However, Sklenka admitted to a potential conflict with China over Taiwan, though not inevitable. Asked about the role of AUKUS submarines in the Taiwan Strait, Sklenka said, "I have no idea. I can't answer that."

ABC News reported the director of naval submarine forces for AUKUS had recently revealed the integration of about 440 Australian submariners with the US Naval crew. These submariners are expected to be on board 25 American submarines under the first stage of AUKUS.

"This is something that has never happened before," retired US Navy officer Dan Packer had said earlier in May. "We are completely, 100 per cent integrating them into our crew, from a complete and utter perspective – they will do everything that we do," he added.

Though Australia plans to purchase three nuclear-powered submarines from the US, the federal government has repeatedly denied committing to join the US forces in the case of a war over the status of Taiwan. China has always claimed Taiwan as part of its territory.

Under the AUKUS, the US and the UK are expected to step-up rotational visits of their nuclear-powered submarines to the HMAS Stirling base in Western Australia from 2027.

China, meanwhile, has maintained that AUKUS will only aggravate tension in the region.