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China and Taiwan.

China And Taiwan


Laurie Brereton - Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs


Media Statement - 23 February 2000


The Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs, Laurie Brereton, today expressed renewed concern about escalating tensions between China and Taiwan.


"China's new warning that reunification with Taiwan could be pursued by military force is a matter of concern", Mr Brereton said.


"Threats of force or unilateral declarations by either side are to be deplored. Military action in the Taiwan Strait would have potentially far-reaching consequences for the Asia-Pacific region."


China's new White Paper on Taiwan released on Monday warned: '...if the Taiwanese authorities refuse, sine die [indefinitely], the peaceful settlement of cross-Straits reunification through negotiations, then the Chinese government will be forced to adopt all drastic measures possible, including the use of force, to safeguard China's sovereignty and territorial integrity.'


In a Senate Estimates hearing on 10 February, a senior Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade officer commented on relations between China and Taiwan, saying: 'The impression we have is that all parties that have a direct interest in this issue are at this stage behaving in a pretty moderate and careful way. Our expectation is that there will be continuing moves towards peaceful outcomes of differences in the Taiwan Straits, but, of course, one cannot be entirely confident of that.'


"Australia cannot be indifferent to rising tensions between Beijing and Taipeh", Mr Brereton said.


"Australia's national interest requires we be active in using all available avenues to encourage China and Taiwan to desist from unilateral statements and actions which may have adverse security or economic consequences."


"Australia should be forthright in publicly urging China and Taiwan to return to peaceful and constructive dialogue across the Taiwan Strait."


Authorised by Gary Gray, 19 National Circuit, Barton ACT 2600.