Fri, Jul 16, 2004 - Page 8 News List

Letter

An Australian betrayal

In the Sydney Morning Herald, Kevin Rudd, the Australian Labor Party (ALP) opposition spokesperson for foreign affairs, said in an article recently that "the Australian government must start putting public pressure on Taiwan to avert war with China."

Once again, this is in line with a long tradition of ALP members who visit China and end up "[kowtowing] to the Chinese Emperor." ALP officials both in opposition and government always say what [China's state-run] Xinhua news agency says they should. Rudd was concerned that "the situation could get right out of control," again displaying his total ignorance of the situation between Taiwan and China.

ALP officials have a good record of supporting oppressive regimes in both North and Southeast Asia. But Australia does criticize easy targets such as Myanmar, calling it a "despotic regime," as there is not really any chance of a trade deal with that country. However, Australia recently signed a US$20 billion liquified natural gas deal with China.

There is always the realpolitik or trade angle to play, which is fair enough -- to a certain degree.

Taiwan is a thriving, albeit imperfect, democracy. Neither the US nor Australia are perfect for that matter, but Taiwan is a democracy in Asia with Chinese cultural roots, and is more free than Singapore or Hong Kong.

Australia needs to grow up and be more mature and frank in its thinking, and in the conduct of its foreign policy. Rudd and his ilk are an absolute disgrace.

Michael McGregor

Taipei

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