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Rethinking Australia’s Taiwan policy: History, politics, ideology

Citation

Harrison, M, Rethinking Australia's Taiwan policy: History, politics, ideology, Australian Strategic Policy Institute, (December) pp. 1-24. ISSN 2200-6648 (2019) [Professional, Non Refereed Article]


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Abstract

In the Xi Jinping era in the People’s Republic of China (PRC), Taiwan has returned as a critical security issue for Australia. The PRC has an elaborated policy and institutional position on Taiwan that is focused on the ‘one country, two systems’ (1C/2S) model and prioritises the legitimacy of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and the authority of CCP leadership. Taiwan’s political parties have different policies on China but have bipartisan agreement on rejecting the 1C/2S model. The Taiwanese electorate rejects unification with the PRC. Taiwan has been on a distinctive historical trajectory since the end of the Qing Dynasty and will not converge with mainland China in its post-Qing historical trajectory. Under these conditions, the PRC has no viable road map to achieve its policy goals of unification through 1C/2S and no policy or political framework to sustain cross–Taiwan Strait security in a post-unification scenario. A negotiated settlement can only be achieved through disruptive politics in Taiwan and in the global Taiwanese diaspora, including in Australia. Military action by Beijing is possible under conditions of a breakdown of CCP authority over the People’s Liberation Army. The most likely scenario is a continuation of current tactics by Beijing and a progressive deterioration in cross-strait relations. In that scenario, there is a greater likelihood of unpredictable actions by Taipei and a limited tactical military action by Beijing. Taiwan policy in Australia and internationally is structured around the ‘resolution’ of the Taiwan issue, either through a negotiated settlement or through large-scale military action by the PRC. Australia should reassess its understanding of the Taiwan issue so as to identify alternative scenarios and calibrate its responses accordingly.

Item Details

Item Type:Professional, Non Refereed Article
Keywords:Taiwan China history neorealism Australia foreign policy
Research Division:Studies in Human Society
Research Group:Political Science
Research Field:Government and Politics of Asia and the Pacific
Objective Division:Law, Politics and Community Services
Objective Group:International Relations
Objective Field:Defence and Security Policy
UTAS Author:Harrison, M (Dr Mark Harrison)
ID Code:136374
Year Published:2019
Deposited By:Office of the School of Social Sciences
Deposited On:2019-12-17
Last Modified:2020-01-15
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