The Rise and Risk of China
Australia has felt the full impact of Chinas “extraordinary economic growth and active diplomacy” (Ikenberry 2011, 23) in East Asia. The power transition of China “becoming a formidable global power” (Ikenberry 2011, 26) is of growing importance to Australia’s economic prosperity and security (Shen 2009, 110). But as relative power begins to shift, the latest defence White Paper released last Friday May 3, stated “the relationship between the United States and China, the region’s and the globe’s two most powerful states, will more than any other single factor determine our strategic environment over coming decades” (Probyn and Wright 2013). Drawing upon the Research Thesis of Yi Shen at the
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With the US “containment policy against communism [and] dominant leadership in the region and the international order”, China regards the US as “the key hindrance to the restoration of its great power status” (Shen 2009, 47-56). Shen points out that “a democratic Taiwan is in line with American values, a showcase of the universality of democracy” (2009, 76) and the US seeking to retain regional dominance through the Taiwan Relations Act of 1979, makes it policy to “provide Taiwan with arms of a defensive character” (2009, 60). A multibillion arms package to Taiwan was announced under the Bush Administration in 2001 under the vow that “America would do whatever it takes to defend Taiwan” (Bush in Shen 2009, 62). But with the US “determined to avoid entrapment in the Taiwan issue” (Shen 2009, 73), stability in the region depends on the “island being neither permanently separated from nor reunited with China” (Shen 2009, 58). With Chinas “refusal to renounce the use of force to solve the Taiwan issue” (Shen 2009, 69), the US will however be drawn into an undesired conflict in the face of an unprovoked attack. This leads to an ongoing concern over the possibility of a future China-US military confrontation.
The importance of Taiwan to both the US and China has threatening “repercussions for Australia’s foreign policy, national security and economic prosperity” (Shen 2009, 12). As the beneficiary of