Taiwan warns Australia about ‘hidden’ Chinese agenda

Lazy eyes listen


Taiwan has urged Australia to be wary of a Chinese rapprochement, suggesting that President Xi Jinping may be attempting to build a wedge between Western countries.

Douglas Hsu, Taiwan’s newly appointed chief representative to Canberra, said in an interview with the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age published on Monday that Xi may have a “hidden agenda” in bilateral relations.

Hsu asked Canberra to look beyond what he called Xi’s “rosy pictures” of bilateral relations, insisting that he had nothing against enhanced relationships between China and Australia and that he understands the need to increase trade.

“Their strategy is basically divide and conquer,” said the envoy. “We don’t want to see a troubled world, but we must.”

Hsu also complained about what he described as “more aggressive behaviors from China” in recent years. The comments came after Taiwanese defense officials said they had registered more than 103 aircraft belonging to Beijing’s military operating near the island between Sunday and Monday.

The Taiwanese envoy also encouraged Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese to use his next visit to China to convey a clear message to Beijing that Canberra would not allow any “unilateral change to the status quo by force” in the Taiwan Strait.

Following a period of downturn in relations that saw Canberra engage into a cooperation with the US and UK to buy nuclear-powered submarines, Australia and China conducted their first high-level talks in recent years earlier this month.

The security situation around Taiwan, which China regards to be part of its sovereign territory, has deteriorated, with Beijing conducting regular military exercises in the region in recent months. Last year, Xi stated that while China desires peaceful reunion with the island, it will not rule out military intervention.