Morrison: Quad could seek non-member engagement with Taiwan
Taipei, Oct. 11 (CNA) Former Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Wednesday voiced support for including Taiwan as a non-state member in international organizations and suggested that Taiwan could participate as an adjunct non-member in the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad), of which Australia is a member.
Morrison, currently a member of the Australian House of Representatives, told an audience in a speech in Taipei that any violation of the status quo and/or subjugation of Taiwan would obliterate the strategic balance that favors a free and open Indo-Pacific.
"Our challenge is how we now protect this balance in a vastly altered geo-political environment to the one in which our one China policy settings were first established fifty years ago," the Liberal Party member said.
This requires a critical appraisal of diplomatic, economic, and security policy settings, within the context of preserving the status quo, regarding Taiwan, the parliamentarian went on.
Under Australia's one-China policy, Canberra acknowledges Beijing's position that Taiwan is part of China but does not take a stance on the issue.
Australia established diplomatic relations with China in 1972. According to Morrison, "at that time Australia adopted what is known as the one-China policy. There is often confusion and differing interpretations of what this policy actually means."
He went on to advocate the enlargement of the scope and nature of Australia's unofficial relations with Taiwan, both bilaterally and multilaterally in non-political, humanitarian, scientific, and trade arenas," within a 'modernized' one China framework."
Admission of Taiwan as a non-state member into the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), the World Health Organization (WHO), and other United Nations forums would be a great start and is long overdue, he noted.
Other options include adjunct non-member engagement in economic, environmental, technological, and humanitarian dialogues with multilateral fora, including the Quad, a security dialogue involving Australia, India, Japan, and the United States.
Under such One China policy settings, Taiwan's practical autonomy could be enhanced, while the same time not crossing the threshold of national statehood, he added.
Morrison also urged a revised approach to engage with Beijing.
China has never fallen for the West's engagement as being anything other than an attempt to see change, but Beijing is not for changing. This must surely be clear to us by now, he said.
"This requires dealing with the situation in the Indo-Pacific as it is, not as we would prefer it to be," the former Australian leader added.
According to him, there are deeply irreconcilable issues between China and Western democracies, including Australia.
"This must now be taken as a given, and cause us to adjust our approach accordingly, and define a clear pathway for engagement with Beijing that more clearly recognizes the guardrails and boundaries," he said.
Morrison is visiting Taiwan from October 10 to 11, during which he met with Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) and attended an international forum.
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