China has issued a stern warning to Anthony Albanese over his “provocative behavior” and economic sanctions ahead of his planned visit to Beijing later this year.
The communist government used its propaganda media, the Global Times, to denounce a delegation of Australian MPs who met Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen on Tuesday evening.
The eight-person cross-party group will spend four days in Taiwan’s capital Taipei for a series of meetings with senior economic, foreign ministry and security officials.
As part of its One China policy, China claims sovereignty over Taiwan and maintains that it is not a separate country, and some experts fear that China will invade Taiwan and the Australia would not be drawn into the resulting war.
The Global Times reported that the visit to Taiwan – led by Labor Josh Wilson and Liberal Paul Fletcher – “is a test” for Mr Albanese, which could end negotiations over China’s crippling tariffs on Australian wines.
China has issued a stern warning to Anthony Albanese over his “provocative behavior” and economic sanctions ahead of his planned visit to Beijing later this year. Mr Albanese is pictured with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Bali on November 15, 2022.
Liberal MP Paul Fletcher is pictured with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen on Tuesday evening.
Australia’s official view on the One China policy
Under the “One China” policy, the communist government claims that Taiwan is part of China and not a separate country.
Australia’s official policy is that it “adheres to the One China Policy”, meaning that we do not recognize Taiwan as a country.
“We maintain unofficial contacts with Taiwan to promote our economic, trade and cultural interests.”
Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade
Qin Sheng, a researcher at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said “the visit to Taiwan will only embarrass the Albanian government, as it may disrupt its Chinese policy configuration.”
Mr Qin warned that “there are still unresolved issues between China and Australia, such as the wine dispute.” China is unlikely to discuss this issue with Australia in the context of the Australian MPs’ visit to Taiwan.
Bilateral relations fractured during the final years of the last coalition government.
The diplomatic row erupted when the Morrison government called for an independent inquiry into the origins of the Covid pandemic.
The move angered the authoritarian nation, which imposed huge tariffs on Australia’s major exports, including wine, barley and coal.
Since then, things have thawed considerably under the Labor government elected in May 2022.
But the visit by the delegation – which also includes Labor’s Graham Perrett, David Smith, Daniel Mulino and Catryna Bilyk, as well as Liberals Matt O’Sullivan and Claire Chandler – has outraged Beijing.
“By playing the Taiwan card, these MPs aim to create turmoil in bilateral relations, attract international attention and obtain political capital,” thundered the Global Times.
Unlike previous visits by Australian politicians, the current group allowed Taiwanese officials to release photos of their meeting with President Tsai.
Taiwan is Australia’s fourth largest export market and fifth largest trading partner, with gas, coal and iron ore Australia’s main exports there.
Wilson told President Tsai that these numbers could increase “in areas such as the global transition to clean energy, critical minerals, education and tourism.”
However, he did not hesitate to mention the growing tensions between Taiwan and China.
“There is no doubt that the people of Australia and Taiwan have a common interest in a peaceful, stable, environmentally sustainable and prosperous region – and together we support an open and inclusive Indo-Pacific based on respectful and collaborative participation to the rules. -order based on order,” he told President Tsai.
“Australia is committed to working with all our Indo-Pacific partners on this basis, because in our view it is both reasonable and the right thing to do…
“This is the only approach that will address challenges that must be shared, such as climate change,” he said.
Chinese troops take part in marching exercises in the suburbs of Beijing. Some experts fear China could invade Taiwan and Australia could be drawn into the resulting war.
Chen Hong, director of the Center for Australian Studies at East China Normal University, called on the prime minister to distance himself from the delegation of Australian politicians.
“If Albanese really wants to restore ties with China, he should oppose, condemn and then curb the thuggish behavior of MPs visiting Taiwan,” he said.
A Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade spokesperson said “Australia values its deep and productive unofficial relationship with Taiwan, focused on trade and investment, cultural and people-to-people ties.”
“There has been no change in Australia’s long-standing bipartisan policy position in favor of one China.”
Why China has set its sights on Taiwan
Taiwanese soldiers raise the Taiwan flag 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 long disputed sovereignty over the island.
China considers Taiwan a part of its territory, more precisely 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 was forced to cede Taiwan 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 the United Kingdom.
Chinese Nationalist Party leader Chiang Kai-shek fled to Taiwan in 1949 and established 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 began to democratize Taiwan.
In 1980, China proposed a formula called “one country, two systems,” under which Taiwan would gain significant autonomy if it accepted Chinese reunification. Taiwan rejected the offer.
Today, Taiwan, with its own constitution and democratically elected leaders, is widely accepted in the West as an independent state. But his political status remains unclear.