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DPP legislator suggests Taiwan join Quad

Wang Ting-yu floats idea during interview with Australian media

DPP legislator Wang Ting-yu

DPP legislator Wang Ting-yu (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A prominent Taiwanese legislator has floated the idea that Taiwan should join the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, or Quad.

In an exclusive interview with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislator Wang Ting-yu (王定宇), who co-chairs Taiwan’s Foreign Affairs and National Defense Committee, discussed the case for amplified engagement with the Oceanic country, which does not officially recognize Taiwan.

“Some kind of cooperation in some areas would be a good direction for these two countries,” Wang said. “We need a bilateral relationship.”

The legislator then suggested that Taiwan might be a good partner for the Quad. The group is an informal strategic forum between the United States, Japan, India, and Australia.

While the Quad has been around since 2007, it has recently been floated as a possible framework for responding to an increasingly aggressive China. China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi (王毅) has even described it as a potential "Indo-Pacific NATO."

Whether Taiwan will ever make the Quadrilateral a Pentalateral remains to be seen. For now, the DPP legislator will settle for enhancing Taiwan-Australia ties.

"We need to cooperate with democratic countries," he said. "If we can have more close cooperation, that means benefits mutually for economy, security, and capability."

Australian Liberal Party Senator Jim Molan agreed. “I think we can do a lot more with Taiwan apart from trade,” he said, per ABC.

In recent months, Australia has been at the receiving end of a series of economically devastating tariffs and trade restrictions from China, which as its largest trading partner buys nearly 40 percent of Australian exports.

Coal, timber, wine, barley, red meat, and lobsters are among the targeted goods. Australia has taken the dispute over barley tariffs to the World Trade Organization.

The trade barriers are widely viewed as retaliation for Australia having called for an independent inquiry into the origins of COVID-19, a view the Chinese government seems to encourage.

In a recent China Daily op-ed, the Chinese government mouthpiece summed up its view of the recent troubles:

“Australia has accused China of engaging in ‘intervention and infiltration’ activities in the country. It has even proposed a so-called ‘independent international inquiry’ into the novel coronavirus outbreak in an attempt to lay the blame for the pandemic at China's door.”

The op-ed continues:

“China-Australia relations would not have worsened to the extent they have today had the Australian government not associated bilateral ties with political ideologies or geopolitics with the intention of stigmatizing and demonizing it.”