Tuesday 24 Nov 2020 | 18:10 | SYDNEY
Tuesday 24 Nov 2020 | 18:10 | SYDNEY

Reader riposte: Taiwan elections


Sam Roggeveen


16 January 2012 09:07

Benjamin Moles writes:

Yes, Kevin Rudd was correct to state what he did. As Foreign Minister, he is responsible for pursuing and furthering Australian national interests abroad. The election of a more traditionally independence minded DPP candidate in Taiwan would certainly ‘rock the boat’ in Beijing. Escalations in tension between the two increases the likelihood of potential miscalculation and miscalculation could eventuate in military conflict between the two- forcing the US to decide with what degree of liberal interpretation they wish to make of the US-Taiwan Relations Act, which would certainly have ramifications regionally for its alliance partners- like Australia, and Australia would potentially be put in its ‘nightmare scenario’ of having to choose between the US and China- not in Australia’s national interest. Rudd is simply, I believe, stating where our national interest rests on the matter and he is quite right to do so.

But Australian political leaders have traditionally avoided involvement in the democratic processes of other countries. And when they do cross that line — recall John Howard saying that Osama bin Laden wanted then-Senator Obama to win the 2008 US presidential election — they are slammed for it. Rudd didn't go as far as Howard, but his comments did suggest he was steering Taiwanese voters toward a particular candidate.