By Joe Montero
Tony Abbott, the former Australian Prime Minister, and ongoing nuisance, has gone to Taiwan to mess in the tension with China. Officially, he is doing this is a private capacity to attend a forum by the Taiwan-Asia exchange forum. . But no one is fooled away from realising that as an official advisor, he is doing this for the Scott Morrison government.
Taiwanese hardliners are using Abbott. He is scheduled to address a meeting this Friday as a keynote speaker and former Prime Minister of Australia. More importantly, he is to be publicly received by Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen, Foreign Minister Joseph Wu, and the secretary general of the national security council. He was greeted when landing yesterday (Tuesday) at Taoyuan airport by Taiwan’s deputy minister of foreign affairs, Tien Chung-kwang.
Tony Abbott arrives in Taiwan
Video from the ABC
This is a major diplomatic stunt, with Abbott acting as the voice of Australia. The timing is important. Taiwan’s current government takes a hard line towards China, which is supported by the United States and nations within its orbit, like Australia
Left out of this narrative, is that the world has long recognised that Taiwan is a part of China and continues to do so. Even the United States and Australian governments do so officially. But Taiwan, an island just off the Chinese mainland coast also serves as a useful military base and political tool to serve efforts to contain China.
The Morrison government is zealously chasing to be part of the confrontation because it wants to cosy up to the united Sates and not because China is threatening to invade Australia.
Tension with China exists because of China’s fast economic growth and the threat that it will surpass the United States before long.
It is true that Chinese air force planes have been entering what the Taiwan government says is its territorial waters. China says that these are its territorial water, and this matches up with the international agreement recognising Taiwan as part of China.
To those unacquainted with the history the claim and counter claim to the status of Taiwan may be hard to understand. This This dates from 1949, when the defeated forces fled the mainland and occupied Taiwan. They never conceded defeat and vowed to restore themselves as the government of China.
Time has passed and the goal of Taiwan ascendency over mainland China has become even less realistic than it was in the first place. Internal Taiwan politics is now morphed and divided into the camps. One favours some form of accommodation with the mainland and the other goes for breaking away. The second camp currently holds the reins of government.
Abbot’s visit will be used to muddy the issue.
There is another why the visit is taking place now. Taiwan has made a bid to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for a Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). This is the regional eleven nation investment and trading bock block. Driven by the United Kingdom and Japan, and in the post Trump era, associated with the United States, the CPTPP is being pushed as a bock against Chinese trade.
Member nations of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for a Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP)
China objects to the inclusion of Taiwan in the block.
Tony Abbott’s visit is a part of this. He has been loud in his support for hostility against China, and openly supports the military build-up and Taiwan’s membership of the CPTPP.
Meanwhile Australia’s trade with China suffers The irony is that at least in several cases, the United States has not held back and stepped in to take Australia’s place. The latest case involves the export of beef.
The Morrison government continues to pay the game regardless and proves by its actions to be a major threat to Australia’s future and Tony Abbott continues to pay the dangerous clown.