Implications of Taiwan-Chinese Relations for Australia

IR Working Paper 1995/2

Author/s (editor/s):

Stuart Harris

Publication year:


Publication type:

Working paper

Find this publication at:
IR Working Paper 1995/2 (PDF, 2.32MB)

Stuart Harris, 'Implications of Taiwan-Chinese Relations for Australia', IR Working Paper 1995/2, Canberra: Department of International Relations, Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies, The Australian National University, June 1995.

Australia sees Taiwan as an important, independent regional trading power. Although never central to Australian foreign policy, since the mid-1980s in particular, Australia has been upgrading its relations with Taiwan in the light of Taiwan's economic growth, the emergence of political freedoms, and pragmatism in its relations with Beijing. While official policy remains that diplomatic relations are maintained only with Beijing, with no expectation of change in the future, economic relations with Taiwan have grown substantially in various directions in recent years. Australia has also supported Taiwan's membership of global economic organisations as well as its participation in regional discussions of economic cooperation.

Relations between Beijing and Taipei are an important factor in regional stability. While there are some longer-term fears of a greater China, Australia's policy sees closer cross-strait relations as contributing in several directions: to economic development in Taiwan, China and thereby to the Asia-Pacific economic community, including Australia; in the development on the mainland of institutional reforms that in the long run could help political change in China and stabilise the region; and in strategic terms in reducing the risks of cross-strait conflict, particularly if supported by careful and pragmatic approaches by members of the regional community, particularly the United States.

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