Defense Minister Richard Marles said Australia would not challenge the status quo of the “One China” policy on Taiwan and refused to weigh in on Nancy Pelosi’s visit to the disputed territory.
Speaking earlier on Radio National, Marles said Australia was taking “very seriously” the risk of escalation in the region following China’s live military exercises taking place around Taiwan.
“We are monitoring events very closely,” the defense minister said.
“Our position, which we have repeated over the last few days – but over a long period now – is that we want to see that there will be no change to the status quo, which exists on both sides of the Strait of Taiwan.
“And, in that sense, the one-China policy – which has been, you know, the bipartisan position of bipartisan governments in Australia since the 1970s – remains the case.”
Australia’s one-China policy means it does not recognize Taiwan as a separate country.
Asked if Pelosi’s recent diplomatic visit represented a break with that position, Marles said he was not going to comment on the visit because it was a matter between the United States and Taiwan.
“We’re not about to tell people whether or not they can go to Taiwan, that’s not our position. And there are a lot of people from the Australian government who are in the Australian parliament who have been to Taiwan. And, obviously, we have a strong engagement with the people of Taiwan, and that will continue.