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Military expert explains what Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan means for Australia

‘The greatest war the world has seen’: Military expert explains what Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan could mean for Australia, as Carrie Bickmore questions China’s ’empty threats’

All bets on Australia are ‘out’ if the US gets involved in tensions between China and Taiwan and unleashes the biggest war in Asia since World War II, one of our leading security experts has warned.

US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has made a historic visit to Taiwan to mark the island’s highest diplomatic visit in 25 years, angering China’s communist regime.

Chinese President Xi Jingping has repeatedly stated that the Chinese Liberation Army will annex the democratic island of Taiwan, 180 km off the coast, as part of China’s “national rejuvenation plan.”

The island of some 25 million people, supported by the US and Japan, broke away from the mainland in 1949 when the losers of the Civil War fled Mao Zedong’s ruthless communist regime.

Australia severed diplomatic ties with Taiwan in 1972 and recognized the People’s Republic under the ‘One China’ policy. But Western democracies have continued to support the island’s struggle against China’s dictatorial pendulum.

Sam Roggeveen, director of the International Security Program at the Lowry Institute, has warned that Australia will have to ask some tough questions about its relationship with the US if Washington intervenes in China-Taiwan relations.

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

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

When The Project co-host Carrie Bickmore questioned China’s “empty threats,” he emphasized that Beijing Taiwan has always been serious when he outlined the potential impact Ms Pelosi’s visit could have on Australia.

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

“We’re definitely talking about the biggest war we’ve had in Asia since Vietnam and possibly the biggest war we’ve seen in the world since World War II, where the use of nuclear weapons is possible.”

It comes as Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and Foreign Secretary Penny Wong distanced themselves from Ms Pelosi’s historic visit.

“The degree of US involvement with our Taiwanese counterparts is a matter for them,” Mr Albanian told reporters.

Ms Wong told ABC Radio: “I believe that we must continue to argue that all sides must de-escalate tensions, and that we must continue to press with others in the region to maintain peace and stability in the region and , in particular, across the Taiwan Strait.”

The Project Carrie Bickmore wondered if China's response is just another empty threat?

The Project Carrie Bickmore wondered if China’s response is just another empty threat?

But while Mr Roggeveen believes that Australia’s key security interests are not threatened by a Chinese invasion of Taiwan, we need to take a close look at our relationship with the US.

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

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

“That’s an incredibly sobering moment and Australian decision-makers would be remiss if they didn’t consider the full implications.”

At a press conference, Ms. Pelosi accused China of “standing in the way” of Taiwan’s participation in international affairs and warned that America’s commitment to preserving democracy remains “cast-iron.”

She also met Taiwan’s female president, Tsai Ing-wen, and told her that the controversial visit shows that the US “will not give up its commitment to the island.”

The director of the International Security Program at the Lowry Institute, Sam Roggeveen, warned that Australia may need to rethink its relationship with the US.

The director of the International Security Program at the Lowry Institute, Sam Roggeveen, warned that Australia may need to rethink its relationship with the US.

Roggeveen labeled the US First Speaker’s visit to Taiwan as an empty gesture and ‘not a great idea’.

“The best shine you can put on is that Nancy Pelosi herself and the United States have shown that they will not back down if the Chinese demands do,” Roggeveen said.

“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.”

One of Australia's leading security experts has warned that China Taiwan has always been serious (photo Chinese military officers in Beijing)

One of Australia’s leading security experts has warned that China Taiwan has always been serious (photo Chinese military officers in Beijing)

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