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apdr kym bergmann
APDR Editor Kym Bergmann.

The December 8 decision of Australia not to send officials to the Winter Olympic Games in China is no surprise following an identical announcement by the US. Beijing has reacted with predictable anger – though logically it should be pleased because this means there will be far fewer freeloaders attending but the athletes will still be there. However, symbolism is important and we will have to wait and see what retribution, if any, is coming our way.

Only two weeks previously Defence Minister Peter Dutton speaking at the National Press Club warned that China’s aggressive and expansionist policies are causing alarm not just in this region but around the world. Central to this is the issue of Taiwan and whether Australia should be involved more actively in the defence of the island in the face of Beijing’s on-again off-again threats to use force to reunify it with the mainland. This debate, in turn, was prompted by earlier remarks from former Prime Minister Paul Keating that Australia has no vital strategic interest regarding the future of Taiwan.

This is an extremely complex topic and at the risk of oversimplification, the position of Minister Dutton seems to be that if China invaded Taiwan then the US would certainly come to its defence and it is considered highly likely that Japan would also be drawn in. If this happened, should Australia also become involved? The answer from the Minister was an indirect yes, indicating that it would be in our national interest to do so for several reasons. These include the belief that China would not stop there but the Senkaku Islands – currently administered by Japan – would be next.

This is an excerpt from APDR. To read the full story, click here.

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Kym Bergmann is the editor for Asia Pacific Defence Reporter (APDR) and Defence Review Asia (DRA). He has more than 25 years of experience in journalism and the defence industry. After graduating with honours from the Australian National University, he joined Capital 7 television, holding several positions including foreign news editor and chief political correspondent. During that time he also wrote for Business Review Weekly, undertaking analysis of various defence matters.After two years on the staff of a federal minister, he moved to the defence industry and held senior positions in several companies, including Blohm+Voss, Thales, Celsius and Saab. In 1997 he was one of two Australians selected for the Thomson CSF 'Preparation for Senior Management' MBA course. He has also worked as a consultant for a number of companies including Raytheon, Tenix and others. He has served on the boards of Thomson Sintra Pacific and Saab Pacific.

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