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Rise And Risk Of China Essay

1702 words - 7 pages

The Rise and Risk of China

Introduction
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). ...view middle of the document...

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 China’s economic boom, China has become the top trading partner and increasingly pivotal for the Australian economy. But as bilateral relations continue to “broaden and deepen” (Shen 2009, 90), China also challenges Australia’s security alliance with the US. Since the establishment of ANZUS treaty in 1951, former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd stated that it has “enhanced Australia’s strategic position in the Asia Pacific region in an emerging age of great strategic uncertainty” (Shen 2009, 102) . The uncertainty is evident in the precarious and ongoing Taiwan issue, and whether the alliance will “survive against the backdrop of US-China strategic rivalry” (2009, 32) is fundamental to ensure that the US remains Australia’s “ultimate grantor of its security” (Shen 2009, 108).
The 2003 foreign policy White Paper ‘Advancing National Interest’ stated that “Australia has a vital interest in supporting US strategic engagement in East Asia, because of its fundamental contribution to regional stability” (Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Shen 2009, 12). Cogan argues that Australia has been “arguably blindly faithful” (2012) to the US, which would inevitably “incur maximum retaliation from China…with catastrophic repercussion for the Australian economy and regional interest” (Shen 2009, 109) in the event of conflict over Taiwan. With the newest defence White Paper including a US aircraft carrier to be based in WA (Probyn and Wright 2013), Cogan reports on “northern and western Australia as a crucial staging ground for potential conflicts...

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