Below is a partial record of the evolution of Canberra’s diplomatic rhetoric vis-à-vis Taiwan since the establishment of official relations between Australia and the People’s Republic of China (PRC). This record should not be taken to imply that recent changes in Australian messaging are necessarily inconsistent with Canberra’s one China policy. Namely that “the Australian Government does not recognise the [Republic of China] as a sovereign state and does not regard the authorities in Taiwan as having the status of a national government.” This record makes no judgement on the substantive political and analytical question of the consistency of recent diplomatic rhetoric and the one China policy. Instead, this record is intended to highlight the significant and ongoing evolution of Australia’s messaging vis-à-vis Taiwan. The below is not a complete record. Additional noteworthy examples of Canberra’s diplomatic rhetoric vis-à-vis Taiwan will be added over time.

  • From the 21 December 1972 Joint Communique of the Government of the People’s Republic of China and the Australian Government Concerning the Establishment of Diplomatic Relations Between Australia and China: “The Australian Government recognises the Government of the People’s Republic of China as the sole legal Government of China, acknowledges the position of the Chinese Government that Taiwan is a province of the People’s Republic of China, and has decided to remove its official representation from Taiwan before 25 January 1973.”
  • Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs Alexander Downer on 17 August 2004 in Beijing in response to a question on the Australia-China relationship and Canberra’s “obligations under the ANZUS Treaty which might bring it into the Taiwan conflict on the other side”: “Well, the ANZUS Treaty is a treaty which of course is symbolic of the Australian alliance relationship with United States, but the ANZUS Treaty is invoked in the event of one of our two countries, Australia or the United States, being attacked. So some other military activity elsewhere in the world, be it in Iraq or anywhere else for that matter does not automatically invoke the ANZUS Treaty. It is important to remember that we only invoked the ANZUS Treaty once, that is after the events of 9/11, because there was an attack on the territory of the United States. It is very important to remember that in the context of your question.”
  • From the Joint Statement Australia-U.S. Ministerial Consultations (AUSMIN) 2020: “The Secretaries and Ministers re-affirmed Taiwan’s important role in the Indo-Pacific region as well as their intent to maintain strong unofficial ties with Taiwan and to support Taiwan’s membership in international organizations where statehood is not a prerequisite. Where statehood is a prerequisite for membership, both sides support Taiwan’s meaningful participation as an observer or guest. The United States and Australia highlighted that recent events only strengthened their resolve to support Taiwan. They reiterated that any resolution of cross-Strait differences should be peaceful and according to the will of the people on both sides, without resorting to threats or coercion. They also committed to enhancing donor coordination with Taiwan, with a focus on development assistance to Pacific Island countries.” (The 2006, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2017, 2018, and 2019 AUSMIN Joint Statements do not mention Taiwan. Prior AUSMIN Joint Statements from the late 1990s and early 2000s [e.g., the 1999 AUSMIN Joint Communiqué] often included language to to the effect that: “disputes between China and Taiwan should be settled only by peaceful means.”)
  • From the 30 August 2021 Inaugural Australia-France 2+2 Ministerial Consultations: “Ministers underscored the importance of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait and encouraged the peaceful resolution of cross-Strait issues. They expressed support for Taiwan’s meaningful participation in international organisations, in accordance with the organisations’ statutes, to strengthen global cooperation on relevant issues.”
  • From the Joint Statement Australia-U.S. Ministerial Consultations (AUSMIN) 2021: “The Secretaries and Ministers re-emphasized Taiwan’s important role in the Indo-Pacific region. Both sides stated their intent to strengthen ties with Taiwan, which is a leading democracy and a critical partner for both countries. The principals emphasized their support for Taiwan’s meaningful participation in international organizations, as a member where statehood is not a prerequisite and as an observer or guest where statehood is a prerequisite for membership. The United States and Australia reiterated continued support for a peaceful resolution of cross-Strait issues without resorting to threats or coercion. The American and Australian counterparts expressed their shared commitment to enhance donor coordination with Taiwan in the Pacific.”
  • From the 6 January 2022 Australia-Japan Leaders’ Meeting Joint Statement: “The two leaders [Prime Minister Morrison and Prime Minister Kishida] … underscored the importance of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait and encouraged the peaceful resolution of cross-Strait issues.” (The 17 November 2020 Japan-Australia Leaders’ Meeting Joint Statement made no mention of Taiwan.)
  • From the 21 January 2022 Australia-United Kingdom AUKMIN 2022 Joint Statement: “Ministers underscored the importance of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait and encouraged the peaceful resolution of cross-Strait issues without the threat or use of force or coercion. They expressed support for Taiwan’s meaningful participation in international organisations, as a member where statehood is not a prerequisite and as an observer or guest where it is.” (The AUKMIN 2018 Joint Ministerial Statement made no mention of Taiwan.)
  • Minister for Defence Richard Marles during a Bloomberg interview on 13 June 2022: “Let me be really clear that our policy in respect of Taiwan and China hasn’t changed. We have a One China policy. We do not support Taiwanese independence. We don’t support any unilateral action on either side of the Taiwan Strait, which would change the status quo. The resolution of the people of Taiwan is a matter which should happen by consensus, by agreement, and that’s the way in which we see it. We firmly have a One China policy and we don’t support Taiwanese independence.”
  • Australian Representative Jenny Bloomfield speaking about the Australia-Taiwan English Language Learning Partnership Action Plan on 17 August 2022: “Australia and Taiwan are Indo-Pacific partners with rich Indigenous histories, open, diverse societies, and close economic and people-to-people links.”