Orchestrating relations between its American security ally and increasingly crucial Chinese trading partner constitutes perhaps the major foreign policy challenge now confronting Australia. The Howard government insists that it can pursue such diplomacy without having to choose between the US and China in the event of a future great power regional confrontation. Both Washington and Beijing, however, appear intent on pulling Australia into their own orbits of influence. This article contends that neither of them will be content to allow Australia to apply a 'discriminate engagement' policy toward their own regional interests if Sino-American strategic competition intensifies over Taiwan or throughout the Asia-Pacific region. It reviews Chinese and American strategic expectations regarding Australia and their response to that country's relations with the other, and outlines growing policy imperatives that Australia must confront in order to overcome current anomalies in its 'dual strategy' directed toward China and the United States.