Former leaders of Australia, Britain and Belgium called on Friday for a tougher international approach to China to reduce the chance of war over Taiwan and respond to human rights abuses.
Former Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison linked China’s human rights abuses to the Indo-Pacific region in a speech at the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China conference in Tokyo. security are linked together. Morrison was joined by two other former leaders – former British prime minister Liz Truss and former Belgian prime minister Guy Verhofstadt.
The Trans-Parliamentary Coalition on China Policy, a group of lawmakers from more than 30 countries concerned with how democracies treat Beijing, hopes the event will take place at the next G7 meeting in Hiroshima in May Ahead of the (G7) summit, promote a more coordinated foreign policy response to China.
Morrison has urged the Australian government to consider sanctioning Chinese officials for violating the human rights of Uyghurs in China’s Xinjiang autonomous region, while addressing broader security issues.
“The reason I highlight these broader initiatives is to emphasize that any attempt to address human rights abuses in China will never materialize in areas where China enjoys strategic hegemony,” Morrison said. “These worthy and important goals can only be realistically pursued within the framework of a free and open Indo-Pacific in a region that upholds and respects the rules-based global order,” Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong said on Friday.
Will not speculate on the possibility of the current Australian government following Morrison’s advice. “I’m not sure how much foreign policy advice it would be wise to take from Mr Morrison,” Wong told reporters in the Australian capital, Canberra.
Truss urged the international community to coordinate defense, economic and political measures to take a tougher approach to China and defend Taiwan “before it’s too late.”
“As far as China is concerned, inaction now could cost us dearly in the long run. Our government must signal to China that military aggression against Taiwan would be a strategic mistake,” she said.
China claims Taiwan as its territory and has warned it would not hesitate to take it by force if necessary.
“We need to do this first to protect the interests of the people of Taiwan, but also to protect our interests and ensure that trade and free navigation with Taiwan can continue unhindered,” Truss said. “We need to act now, before it’s too late.”
She said she regretted that the West was not quick and tough enough to respond to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last year, and that the world should learn from that.
Truss also called for the use of economic power “in the interest of liberty and democracy” and urged the G7 and its allies to act like an economic version of NATO.
“This economic power means we can influence other countries. It means we can decide how to trade, where to invest, what technology to export,” she said.
Verstadt has proposed a “new” NATO that could contribute to global security by countering Chinese assertiveness with a European defense alliance as the backbone.
“If we have the same interest in some of China’s unacceptable ambitions, then we need to join forces to face them together, not go our separate ways,” Forstad said. “Therefore, my appeal today is that NATO should evolve from an ‘Atlantic Treaty Organization’ to a ‘World Treaty Organization'”.
(This article is based on an Associated Press report from Tokyo.)
Source : VOA Chinese