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Australia Successful deterrence: Why AUKUS is good news for Taiwan

13:40  19 september  2021
13:40  19 september  2021 Source:   brisbanetimes.com.au

Chinese State Media Warns of 'Severe' Military Measures if Taiwan Office in U.S. Changes Name

  Chinese State Media Warns of 'Severe' Military Measures if Taiwan Office in U.S. Changes Name "The Chinese mainland will have to take severe economic and military measures to combat the arrogance of the U.S. and the island of Taiwan."The Global Times referred to a Financial Times report from Friday saying that President Joe Biden's administration is considering allowing the office to change its name from the "Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office" (TECRO) to the "Taiwan Representative Office.

Amid the flurry of defence announcements over the past week, Australia's shift in language about Taiwan has gone under the radar.

Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen speaks with military personnel last week during Taiwan’s five-day Han Guang military exercise designed to prepare the island’s forces for an attack by China. © Associated Press Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen speaks with military personnel last week during Taiwan’s five-day Han Guang military exercise designed to prepare the island’s forces for an attack by China.

In the joint statement from Australian and US defence and foreign ministers, Taiwan is described - for the first time - as "a leading democracy and a critical partner for both countries". This follows the Prime Minister's commitment to co-ordinate action with other liberal democracies in the region.

Taking the nuclear option

  Taking the nuclear option Good morning, early birds. China says Australia's new security pact with the UK and US could severely damage regional peace and intensify the arms race, and 70% of Australians over the age of 16 have now had their first COVID vaccine dose. It's the news you need to know, with Emma Elsworthy.AUKUS — our most significant security development since WWII, Morrison reckons — will see Australia become one of seven countries with nuclear submarines (US has 68, Russia 29, China 12, UK 11, France 8, and India 1). So why nuclear submarines? They can stay underwater for months and shoot missiles further (not that we’ve said we’ll put nuclear weapons on them).

The commitment to strengthen ties with Taiwan tells a story about Australia's larger regional project. In that context, Taiwan may also end up one of the clearest beneficiaries from the decision by Australia to join the AUKUS trilateral initiative that includes building nuclear-powered submarines with the US and UK.

Long-range submarines represent a means to increasing defence capabilities, not just in territorial waters but to defend Australia's interests in the wider region. Critically, those wider interests revolve around deterrence - demonstrating a willingness to respond to aggression and defend against military expansion.

That Taiwan has remained a free democracy, independent from China, is a story of successful deterrence. The commitment of the United States and other partners, and the efforts of the Taiwanese people, have for seven decades successfully deterred Beijing from acting on its intent to annex the island.

How world reacted to Australia's nuclear submarine decision

  How world reacted to Australia's nuclear submarine decision The diplomatic ripples from Australia's decision to acquire nuclear powered submarines have been felt across the world. The new AUKUS alliance between Australia, the US and the UK announced last week is expected to deliver an Australian fleet of at least eight nuclear-powered submarines.The defence agreement marks a major pivot by the three powers towards the Indo Pacific region and the rising power of China.

Beijing's answer to AUKUS and the ministerial statement has been unsurprising so far. Officials have claimed the agreement "has seriously undermined regional peace and stability, intensified the arms race and undermined international non-proliferation efforts".

But it was China's assertiveness in pursuing its goals that laid the groundwork for this agreement. Years of bilateral tension have left Canberra desensitised to Beijing's ire. In Washington, competition with China is rewiring the political, military and even economic establishment.

Meanwhile, tensions between Taipei and Beijing are sky-high. The People's Liberation Army has engaged in record numbers of flights over the Taiwan Strait and abandoned the de facto median line. Taipei in turn has upgraded defence spending over the next five years, warning of an urgent need to face the "severe threat" that China poses.

Morrison seeks to calm Indonesia, Europe sub concerns ahead of US visit

  Morrison seeks to calm Indonesia, Europe sub concerns ahead of US visit The Prime Minister has sought to calm Indonesian President Joko Widodo's concerns that the AUKUS submarine pact will lead to a new arms race in the Indo-Pacific.Scott Morrison has sought to calm Indonesian President Joko Widodo's concerns that the AUKUS submarine pact will lead to a new arms race in the Indo-Pacific ahead of his arrival in the United States for meetings with President Joe Biden and other world leaders.

Washington is reacting to Beijing's shifting of the status quo over Taiwan with arms sales, high-level visits and stepped-up efforts to include Taiwan in multilateral institutions, and statements about Taiwan in bilateral and multilateral forums.

Until now, Australia had been far less willing to publicly make more commitments to Taiwan, adhering to long-standing policy. It was not so long ago when Australia's relationship with China was in a very different place. Not so long ago, Australia abandoned plans for a free trade agreement with Taiwan at Beijing's insistence.

The language in the joint US-Australian (AUSMIN) statement, in the context of Australia's plans to scale up its defence capabilities via the AUKUS agreement, is a remarkable sign of how much things have changed.

The AUKUS agreement is a step towards building a stronger deterrent in the region. Yes, some will claim that AUKUS will further inflame tensions with China and make war more likely. These are valid concerns. Is the government's decision keeping Australia safe, or committing the country to an arms race that can end only in a catastrophic and maybe nuclear war?

Keating aside, progressive politics goes missing as the country readies for fight of its life

  Keating aside, progressive politics goes missing as the country readies for fight of its life Few in positions of power or authority are asking questions, raising doubts or voicing objections about the imperial alliance in which Australia is entangling itself.I speak of course of Paul Keating’s op-ed in The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald this morning (I will die in a ditch before I call them Nine papers) — Joe Biden also gave a speech at the UN or something — which marks the first clear and declarative statement against our return to being a junior member of the white imperial Anglosphere in the Asian century.

It is not in Australia's interests to push the region to the brink of the unthinkable. But let's be clear. It would also not be in Australia's interests if Taiwan, a flourishing and free democracy of 24 million people, was invaded and subjugated by force. Canberra must therefore do what it can to prevent both outcomes. AUKUS represents a judgment, a gamble even, that increasing Australia's capabilities is essential to securing a regional order favourable to its interests.

Australia, indeed any country interested in deterring aggression, must find a balance in its strategic posture that eschews aggressive military build-ups but signals a firm yet clear and calm commitment to defend against military aggression.

Such a quest for balance cannot ignore China's colossal program to modernise its military. Beijing is more capable of taking Taiwan by force than it was 10 years ago. To remain effective, deterrent capabilities must grow in response. Representatives from both Taipei and Tokyo have already welcomed the AUKUS announcement.

Australia is updating its policies out of fear that Beijing now has the capability to fundamentally reshape the region. Part of its calculation must include Taiwan, which lies at the centre of Beijing's plans.

The expectation is that China will only continue to pressure Taiwan, escalating the risks of conflict in our region. Until recently, Australian officials had raised the alarm about this threat without shifting policy settings. The decisions of recent days are less signals of uncontrolled hysteria but instead considered commitments.

Deterrence is not without risk. Yes, ideally, Australia's toolkit to promote regional stability would be limited to positive, confidence-building measures that do not attract Beijing's anger and possible retaliation. But such a limitation would not eliminate risk, only shift it.

China has decided it requires a military force that will allow it to achieve outcomes that are fundamentally at odds with Australia's vision for the region. Australia's strategic policy is reckoning with that reality.

Natasha Kassam is Director, Public Opinion and Foreign Policy Program at the Lowy Institute. Darren Lim is a senior lecturer in the School of Politics and International Relations at ANU.

Morrison in defence mode as AUKUS fallout goes global .
Frozen out in Europe, feted in Washington, alarming some of its south-east Asian neighbours: the AUKUS misfire raises questions about Australia's ability to perform on the world stage. The ‘Anglosphere' is back When announcing AUKUS, Morrison described it as a "forever partnership", while British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said it was an agreement among "kindred" nations. This led to a perception it was an alliance, when it is not. AUKUS is an agreement to share military technology including nuclear submarine capability, long-range missiles, cyber, artificial intelligence, quantum technologies and undersea drones.

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This is interesting!