With tensions over Taiwan rising, Australia might have to ask itself a tough question.
The Sydney Morning Herald
Date: October 27, 2015
By: Hugh White
Things in the South China Sea look dangerous enough, but worse might be coming. On January
16, 2016, Taiwan goes to the polls to elect a new president. The result is likely to drive US-China relations to a new low, increase the risk of conflict and complicate even further the balancing act of countries such as Australia that walk the tightrope between the world’s two strongest states.
Tensions over Taiwan are nothing new. China has always insisted on its right to use force to bring what it regards as a rebellious province back under Beijing’s control, especially if Taiwan tries to upend the strange “One China” status quo and declare Taiwan an independent state. The United States has remained just as firmly committed to defending Taiwan if China tries to exercise that right.
US leaders might have to ask themselves whether they are willing to risk a nuclear attack on the continental US in order to defend Taiwan.
But tensions have eased under Taiwan’s President Ma Ying-jeou, who has built closer economic and people-to-people links across the Taiwan Strait, and rejected any talk of steps towards independence. Beijing began to hope Taiwanese might slowly be starting to accept reunification.
Those hopes are now being dashed. Over the past couple of years, it has become clear that the overwhelming majority of Taiwan’s voters do not want to become part of China. They have clearly rejected Ma’s policies and are now set to elect a new president from the traditionally more pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party [DPP]. [FULL STORY]