Find this publication at:
Taylor & Francis
Published in Australian Journal of International Affairs, 61(3) 2007: 330-50.
Compared to its relations with the People’s Republic of China (PRC), Australia’s relations with Taiwan are often underrated. As a substantial trading partner and as a polity that has transformed into a robust ‘Asian democracy’, Taiwan constitutes a significant if highly complex dimension of evolving Australian foreign policy. A workshop was convened at the Australian National University in early May 2007 to consider the evolving geopolitical, economic and socio-cultural dimensions of bilateral relations between these two regional actors. Among the basic themes emerging from workshop deliberations were how the growth of Chinese power would effect stability in the Taiwan Straits and throughout maritime Asia; how Chinese power would shape future order-building in the region and any role that Australia and/or Taiwan might play in that process; how Taiwanese democracy would factor into any future regional order and what Australia’s future Taiwan posture should be given that that country is committed to a ‘one China policy’ acknowledging the PRC as China. Among the conclusions reached were that Australia must intensify its diplomatic efforts toward both Beijing and Washington to ensure that potential Sino-American differences over Taiwan do not escalate into military conflict and that time and generational change may work to facilitate a peaceful solution to this protracted security dilemma.