World should deter China aggression toward Taiwan, says former Aussie PM

Alyssa Nicole O. Tan

The threat of China invading Taiwan is growing every day, which should push world leaders to work together in ways never done before, former Australian Prime Minister Anthony John Abbott said on Friday.

“The more aggressive it becomes, the more opponents it will have,” he told an online forum organized by the Taiwan-Asia Exchange Foundation.

Mr. Abbott noted that while the world had gained from China’s progress, it has also been harmed by Beijing’s power plays. “It’s been so unreasonable,” he said, enough that countries find the need to unite against it.

Mr. Abbott cited comments by Victor Gao, who was once communist leader Deng Xiaoping’s translator, that Australia would become a target for possible nuclear attacks in the future after it signed a nuclear submarine deal with the United States and Britain.

Mr. Gao said the military pact was a “gross violation of international law” that will have “profound consequences” for “brainless” Aussies.

After secret negotiations with Britain and the US, Prime Minister Scott Morrison last month announced a deal for eight nuclear-powered submarines aimed at dealing with “threats to regional stability.”

With China’s growing belligerence against Taiwan, Beijing may attack soon. “Nothing is more pressing right now than solidarity with Taiwan,” Mr. Abbott said

Taiwan has reported Chinese jets flying nearby for more than a year. Since early October, more than 150 Chinese war planes including military jets and nuclear-capable bombers have entered Taiwan’s air defense identification zone.

Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen earlier said that it would be catastrophic if the country were to fall to China. Taiwan, although not intending to fight, would “do whatever it takes to defend itself,” she said.

Taiwan sees itself as a sovereign state while China considers it a democratic breakaway province.

Former US Undersecretary of State Keith J. Krach the need for a strategy to combat China’s economic aggression by amplifying democratic values and strengthening international partnerships.

Global support for alliance partners especially Taiwan should be strengthened by building trusted relationships, creating deep economic and technological partnerships and boosting trade ties he told the forum.

Ms. Tsai told the forum Taiwan had been boosting international relationships. She promoted cooperation in the so-called new normal by resetting priorities amid a global coronavirus pandemic.