BEIJING - Australia must find a "godfather" to protect it and cannot juggle its relationships with the US and China indefinitely, according to a prominent Chinese defence strategist.
The warning by Song Xiaojun, a former People's Liberation Army senior officer, comes after the Foreign Affairs Minister, Bob Carr, was told by his opposite number that Australia's close military alliance with the US was an outdated throwback to the Cold War era - an issue raised in two other meetings with senior Chinese officials.
Senator Carr yesterday met with the man expected to become China's next premier, Li Keqiang, in the closely-guarded Zhongnanhai leadership compound in Beijing.
Discussions centred on more conciliatory matters, including furthering trade, investment and discussions to move along a long-mooted free-trade agreement in the 40th year of diplomatic relations between the two nations.
But the question of Australia's allies in the Asia-Pacific region remains an issue.
"Australia has to find a godfather sooner or later," Song told the Herald yesterday. "Australia always has to depend on somebody else, whether it is to be the 'son' of the US or 'son' of China.