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MP says Australia should officially recognize Taiwan

'If China wants to play hard ball, Australia can too,' says George Christensen

Australian and Taiwanese flags (Getty Images)

Australian and Taiwanese flags (Getty Images)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — As diplomatic and trade tensions boil over between China and Australia, Liberal National MP George Christensen called on his government to seriously consider officially recognizing Taiwan.

Since Australia began to issue calls in April for an investigation into the origins of the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak in China, relations between the two nations have rapidly deteriorated. Chinese authorities this year have imposed tariffs on Australian barley, banned certain beef slaughterhouses, expanded bans and tariffs to red wine and timber, and recently suspended coal imports.

On Tuesday (Dec. 15), Sky News cited Christensen as saying that as China attempts to send a strong message to countries around the world to fall in line with its agenda, it has turned Australia into a "guinea pig." Christensen claimed that “China is giving us a big shake in order to spook other countries from doing things which China might not be happy with including domestic laws that they’re not happy with."

He called on countries in the free world to join together and stand up to China. The lawmaker then accused Beijing of using trade to meddle with domestic politics in other countries.

He urged Prime Minister Scott Morrison to consider all options, including changing foreign investment laws to block ownership by Chinese state-owned enterprises. He also suggested placing a levy on Australian iron ore bound for China's steel mills and use the proceeds to subsidize domestic industries affected by Beijing's sanctions.

Christensen then suggested political actions that would be guaranteed to rile China, such as providing diplomatic recognition to Taiwan. "The number one thing China would not want to do is for a country like Australia to officially recognize Taiwan as a nation. I hope that all those things diplomatically are on the table right now," said Christensen.

He closed by warning, "If China wants to play hard ball, Australia can too."