The Australia-Taiwan relationship
It has been in China’s interest to meddle in US politics, particularly through the Democrat Party. During the last election Trump definitely won the vote in Pennsylvania, Georgia and Arizona. That would give him the 270 electoral college votes he needed. He probably won Michigan, Wisconsin and Nevada as well.
The Biden “campaign” was nothing but a crime spree backed by China. Biden’s son received bribes from China. And now Biden himself is a Commander-in-Chief of our primary ally. Some of the defence cuts have already been announced. How many more will there be, especially in our region? During the three Presidential debates, the Democrats refused to allocated even on minute to foreign policy.
The fact that the United States is no longer a reliable strategic partner means that Australia must look more urgently at its own defences, as well as arrangements with other defence partners such as India, Japan and the ASEAN countries.
In the meantime, there are rumours of a conflict between China and Taiwan where the US may not step in. The now weakened US with geriatric Biden nominally in command has not addressed the issue of Taiwan at all. Yet conflict regarding Taiwan is considered the most likely war scenario in East Asia. This has significant national security consequences for Australia, not only because of trade, but the series of events would lead to Australia being pulled into the regional conflict.
Tensions around Taiwan are rising. There have been a series of provocative Chinese acts with combat aircraft entering Taiwanese airspace.
An invasion of Taiwan would be extremely difficult for the PRC military. The Republic of China (Taiwan) Army has around 600,000 troops (of which 130,000 are regular). The total troop-carrying capacity of the amphibious warfare ships of the PLA (mainland Chinese) Navy is around 22,000 troops. Amphibious landings are very complex and difficult operations. There is no cover and concealment available to amphibious craft approaching the beaches, whereas the defending force can be dug in with powerful weapons ranging from machine guns to anti-tank rockets and missiles. And Taiwan has had 70 years to prepare its defensive fortifications. Moreover, before reaching Taiwan’s beaches, PLA forces would have to get past the ROC Navy and Air Force. Although these are smaller than the PLA Navy and Air Force, it is likely to have the advantage in technology. It would be extremely difficult for the PLA to concentrate enough force on Taiwanese shores for a successful amphibious invasion.
The last time China tried to intimidate Taiwan with military force was in 1996 when it conducted missile tests around Taiwan and threatened actual attacks. This backfire on China in several ways, including by turning public opinion in Taiwan against the PRC. Even leaving the United States aside, an actual attack by mainland China now would risk other countries coming to Taiwan’s support which currently have serious disputes with China. These include India, Vietnam and possibly Japan. China recently has even foolishly made noises about regaining Vladivostok and other territories that it lost to Russia well over a century ago.
China has quite a strong soft-power position with respect to Taiwan at the present time. The Taiwan economy is closely integrated with the PRC, with 2 million Taiwanese living on the mainland to do business. It is able to nudge Taiwan’s policy positions in its direction from time to time by offering carrots and playing the various Taiwan parties off against each other. A military attack could very seriously damage that soft-power position.
China has long placed so much ideological emphasis on Taiwan that a military humiliation over Taiwan would be a major blow to the CCP’s standing within China. This would be exacerbated if China were to suffer a serious economic downturn at the same time. Bottom line: the CCP would be very unwise to risk it.
These are external factors but internal ones matter. Senator Jim Molan has some points to make about how Australia should position itself.
Two of the most important departments in the Australian federal government are the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the Department of Defence. They have three cabinet-level ministers between them. The United States is Australia’s most important diplomatic and defence ally, and one of its major trading and investment partners.
China has been pursuing its Belt and Road Policy with notable success. If you can’t see China’s hand behind the scenes in America and Australia, you are blind. More importantly, the reaction against China’s activities, particularly the strong working-class support of Trump, is also noticeable among the five eyes nations.
A good many political trends that originate in the US get replicated in some form or other in Australia. Just one case in point is the BLM movement, which is now planning another march on Australia Day. Consider commentary by Daniel Andrews on this subject. Following and understanding US political trends is very far from a waste of time for members of a political party that seeks to govern not only Victoria, but Australia. Particularly at this point in time, when many of those trends (such as Big Tech censorship) are very concerning for conservatives worldwide.
We are living in dangerous times. Weakness of resolve, moral corruption in politics and a lack of taking the Chinese threat seriously are holding us down both internally and externally. The Liberal Party of AUSTRALIA needs to get its act together. Quickly.