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Military expert explains what Nancy Pelosis visit to Taiwan means for Australia

“All bets are on” for Australia if the US gets caught up in tensions between them China and Taiwan, one of the country’s top security experts has warned.

American House Speaker Nancy Pelosi paid a historic visit to Taiwan this week to celebrate the highest-level US diplomatic visit to the island in 25 years – a move that has sparked outrage in Beijing and even threats of military action.

Chinese President Xi Jinping has repeatedly said that the Chinese Liberation Army will annex democratic territory 180 km off its coast as part of China’s “national revitalization plan.”

The island of about 25 million people, supported by the US and Japanbroke away from the mainland in 1949 as the losers of the civil war fled Mao Zedong’s brutal communist regime.

Australia broke diplomatic relations with Taiwan in 1972 and recognized the People’s Republic as part of the “One China” policy. But Western democracies have continued to support the island’s struggle against China’s dictatorial overthrow.

The director of the Lowy Institute’s International Security Program, Sam Roggeveen, warned Australia that if Washington intervened in China-Taiwan relations, it would have to ask some tough questions about its relationship with the US.

US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (pictured) reignited tensions between China and Taiwan with a historic visit to Taiwan

Self-governing Taiwan's 23 million people live under the constant threat of invasion from authoritarian China, which claims the island as its territory and has vowed to one day take it, by force if necessary

Self-governing Taiwan’s 23 million people live under the constant threat of invasion from authoritarian China, which claims the island as its territory and has vowed to one day take it, by force if necessary

What does Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan mean for Australia?

– Lowy Institute’s Sam Roggeveen says Australia needs to ask tough questions about its relationship with the US

– The US is likely to turn to Australia for military support if it supports Taiwan in the conflict with China

– Decision makers need to consider the implications of US involvement

– Australia just announced its biggest defense review in decades

When The Project co-host Carrie Bickmore questioned China’s “empty threats”, he stressed Beijing has always taken Taiwan seriously when outlining the potential impact Ms Pelosis’ visit could have for Australia.

“If the Americans get involved, all bets are off,” Roggeveen told the program.

“We’re certainly talking about the biggest war in Asia since Vietnam and possibly the biggest war we’ve seen in the world since World War II that could involve the use of nuclear weapons.”

The warning comes as Australia announced its biggest defense review in decades amid fears war looms as tensions over Taiwan escalate.

The review, led by former defense chief Sir Angus Houston and ex-worker Secretary of Defense Stephen Smith will advise the government on how to prepare for potential conflict over the next decade from 2023.

But while Mr Roggeveen believes that Australia’s nuclear security interests would not be threatened by a Chinese invasion of Taiwan, we must carefully examine our relationship with the US.

“If the United States is determined to support Taiwan, then it seems obvious that Americans will come to us for help,” he continued.

Project Carrie Bickmore questioned whether China's response was just another empty threat

Project Carrie Bickmore questioned whether China’s response was just another empty threat

The director of the Lowry Institute's International Security Program, Sam Roggeveen, warned Australia not to scrutinize its relationship with the US

The director of the Lowry Institute’s International Security Program, Sam Roggeveen, warned Australia not to scrutinize its relationship with the US

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Should Australia fight for Taiwan?

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“I think we really need to think twice about whether the relationship with the United States is as important and as beneficial as it has been for many decades that we are willing to take that risk.”

“This is an incredibly sobering moment and Australian policymakers would be remiss if they did not think through the full implications of this.”

During a news conference, Ms Pelosi accused China of “standing in the way” of Taiwan’s involvement in international affairs and warned that America’s commitment to upholding democracy “remains ironclad”.

She also met with Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen and told her the controversial visit showed the US would not “break its commitment” to the island.

Mr Roggeveen branded the US First Speaker’s visit to Taiwan as an empty gesture and “not a great idea”.

“The best shine you can put on it, at least, is Nancy Pelosi herself, and the United States has shown it will not back down in the face of Chinese demands to do so,” Mr Roggeveen said.

Chinese President Xi Jinping has urged democratic nations to adhere to the one China principle

Chinese President Xi Jinping has urged democratic nations to adhere to the one China principle

“It has shown determination to that extent, but on the other hand it feels like an empty gesture to me. It’s a showcase for Nancy Pelosi and the media.

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and Foreign Secretary Penny Wong on Wednesday distanced themselves from Ms Pelosis’ landmark visit.

“The extent of US engagement with our Taiwanese counterparts is up to them,” Mr Albanese told reporters.

Ms Wong told ABC Radio: “I think the most important thing to say is that all parties should consider how best to contribute to de-escalating the current tensions. And you know, we all want peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait

“In my view, we should continue to insist that all parties should de-escalate tensions, and we should continue to press with others in the region to maintain peace and stability in the region and particularly in the Taiwan Strait.”

One of Australia's top security experts has warned China that it has always been serious about Taiwan (pictured Chinese military officers in Beijing).

One of Australia’s top security experts has warned China that it has always been serious about Taiwan (pictured Chinese military officers in Beijing).

Mr. Roggeveen believes Beijing would be keen to bring Taiwan back under mainland China’s and Communist Party’s control.

“Nonetheless, China, most western analysts would say so doesn’t have everything yet military capabilities needed to launch an invasion of Taiwan,” said Mr. Roggeveen.

“Imagine something similar to the opening scene of Private Ryan, but with 21st century guns. China doesn’t have enough ships to do this kind of work yet.”

He warned that there would be two “not very good” versions China takes the stage where they can invade Taiwan – one with the US and the other without.

“One version is where the Americans don’t intervene and if that happens, China has a great advantage but still has a lot of heavy battles ahead,” he said.

“Taiwan has probably underinvested in its own military in recent years, but still has sufficient military capabilities to bloody a Chinese invasion.

“The Chinese would be sobered by what they saw in Russia and Ukraine. I think that would be a sobering reminder of how difficult it is to invade another country, let alone cross a large body of water to do so.’

US House Speaker Nancy Pelosis' historic visit to Taiwan sparked anger from China's communist regime (Image, Chinese military forces)

US House Speaker Nancy Pelosis’ historic visit to Taiwan sparked anger from China’s communist regime (Image, Chinese military forces)

Why China Targeted Taiwan

Taiwanese soldiers hoist the flag of Taiwan in Taipei on May 10. China considers Taiwan part of its territory, but many Taiwanese want the island to be independent

Taiwanese soldiers hoist the flag of Taiwan in Taipei on May 10. China considers Taiwan part of its territory, but many Taiwanese want the island to be independent

China and Taiwan have a longstanding dispute over the island’s sovereignty.

China considers Taiwan part of its territory, more specifically a province, but many Taiwanese want the island to be independent.

From 1683 to 1895, Taiwan was ruled by the Chinese Qing Dynasty. After Japan claimed victory in the First Sino-Japanese War, the Qing government forced Taiwan to cede to Japan.

The island was under the rule of the Republic of China after World War II, with the consent of its allies, the United States and Britain.

Chinese Nationalist Party leader Chiang Kai-shek fled to Taiwan in 1949 and set up his government after losing the civil war to the Communist Party and its leader Mao Zedong.

Chiang’s son continued to rule Taiwan after his father and started the democratization of Taiwan.

In 1980, China introduced a formula called “one country, two systems,” under which Taiwan would be granted significant autonomy if it accepted Chinese reunification. Taiwan rejected the offer.

Taiwan is now widely recognized in the West as an independent state with its own constitution and democratically elected leaders. However, their political status remains unclear.

Military expert explains what Nancy Pelosis visit to Taiwan means for Australia

Source link Military expert explains what Nancy Pelosis visit to Taiwan means for Australia

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