Taiwan is more prosperous, more democratic and better governed than most UN members, and in many ways can be perceived by Australians as more "normal" than most countries. Its population is similar to Australia's, also with a similar proportion of Indigenous people. It is Australia's fourth largest export market, has placed $A65 billion funds in Australia, and provides the largest number of young people who come to Australia for "working holidays." It is a high-tech hub, producing for instance 90% of the world's most advanced chips.
It is holding presidential and parliamentary elections in January, whose outcome is difficult to forecast. Its ruling Democratic Progressive Party is by no means assured of victory in either poll. Today, only about 4 per cent of people in Taiwan view themselves as exclusively Chinese. But the People's Republic of China wishes – with ever-increasing intensity – to subsume Taiwan.
How can – or should – Australia and Australian institutions relate to Taiwan? What might happen in the event of conflict – in whatever form – across the 180km-wide Taiwan Strait? Does the Ukraine war offer insights? What deterrents might prove most effective to prevent conflict and support the status quo? What impact might Taiwan's fate have on Australia's?
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AIIA Victoria gratefully acknowledges the Walter Mangold Trust Fund for its support of our young members.