Taiwan has issued a warning to Australia about forging closer ties with China, suggesting that President Xi Jinping may be trying to sow divisions among Western nations. Douglas Hsu, Taiwan’s chief representative to Canberra, expressed concern in an interview with the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age that Xi might have a hidden agenda in bilateral relations.
Although Hsu stressed that he did not oppose improved relations between China and Australia and understood the desire to boost trade, he urged Canberra to look beyond the optimistic portrayal of bilateral relations presented by Xi. He argued that Beijing’s strategy is essentially “divide and conquer” and cautioned against being swayed by rosy pictures painted by China.
Hsu also voiced his discontent with what he described as China’s increasingly aggressive behavior in recent years. His remarks came at a time when Taiwanese defense officials reported more than 103 military aircraft from Beijing operating near the island over the span of two days.
Highlighting the security situation around Taiwan, which China claims as part of its sovereign territory, tensions have escalated with Beijing conducting regular military exercises in the region. Last year, President Xi stated that while China desires peaceful reunification with Taiwan, it does not rule out the use of force.
In light of these concerns, Hsu urged Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese to use his upcoming visit to China as an opportunity to convey a firm message that Canberra will not accept any unilateral change to the status quo in the Taiwan Strait carried out through force.
This warning from Taiwan comes after Australia and China recently held their first high-level dialogue in several years. It marked a shift in relations that had soured when Canberra formed a partnership with the United States and the United Kingdom to acquire nuclear-powered submarines.
Taiwan’s warning underscores the importance of staying vigilant and not falling into a trap where Western countries inadvertently aid Beijing’s divide and conquer strategy. It serves as a reminder to carefully consider China’s motives and track record when engaging in diplomatic relations.
As tensions in the region continue to escalate, it is crucial for countries like Australia to navigate their relationships with China cautiously. While economic ties and trade are important, it is equally important to consider the broader geopolitical implications and potential risks associated with forging closer ties with a nation that is known for its assertive and coercive behavior.
In conclusion, Taiwan’s envoy has urged Australia to exercise caution in its rapprochement with China, warning of a potential hidden agenda from President Xi Jinping. The envoy’s concerns highlight the need for countries to consider the broader strategic implications when engaging with Beijing and to be mindful of the potential risks associated with Beijing’s divide and conquer strategy.