Scott Morrison, Donald Trump Discuss Continuing Chinese Assertions in Indo-Pacific

Scott Morrison, Donald Trump

Former Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison held a meeting with former US President Donald Trump. Both discussed continued Chinese assertions in the Indo-Pacific and threats against Taiwan.

During the meeting, the two leaders spoke about AUKUS. Scott Morrison said that Trump, during the meeting, expressed his appreciation of the value he places on the alliance between Australia and the US.

In a post on X, Morrison stated, “Was pleased to meet with former President Donald Trump on Tuesday night at his private residence in NY. It was nice to catch up again, especially given the pile on he is currently dealing with in the US. Was also a good opportunity to discuss AUKUS, which received a warm reception. We also discussed the continuing assertions of China in the Indo-Pacific and the threats against Taiwan.”

“These were issues we discussed regularly when we were both in office. Once again, the former President showed his true appreciation of the value he places on the Australia-US alliance and the shared role of supporting what our friend, Shinzo Abe, called a free and open Indo-Pacific. Good to see you DJT and thanks for the invitation to stay in touch. All the best,” he added.

The meeting between the two leaders comes at a time when Donald Trump is campaigning for a second presidential term in the 2024 US presidential election.

Recently, Trump came out heavily against Joe Biden over the massive pro-Palestine protests at American universities, and claimed that his successor is surrounded by “fascists” and has ‘surrendered’ the college campuses to “jihadist freaks” and “anti-American extremists.”

Trump further claimed that “the very same people who are funding the violent campus uprisings are also funding Joe Biden’s campaign”, adding that Biden is running a “radicalized” Democratic Party. Notably, the college campuses in the US have become a hotspot, with pro-Palestinian protestors calling for a ceasefire in Gaza.

Earlier this week, the US House Select Committee introduced a bill that will authorize USD 120 million in support for Taiwan’s international space and take on China’s coercion, Central News Agency (CNA) reported.

The legislation, the Taiwan Allies Fund Act, came on a bipartisan basis ahead of the inauguration of President-elect Lai Ching-te of Taiwan’s ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) on May 20.

In a statement, the committee said the bill “strengthens Taiwan’s global network of friends by authorizing USD 120 million over three years for the State Department and USAID (United States Agency for International Development) to provide foreign assistance to Taiwan’s official and unofficial partners subjected to coercion and pressure from the CCP.”

According to the bill, the funding will be part of the Countering PRC Influence Fund, in which a qualified country will receive USD 5 million a year, as reported by the Central News Agency.

A country is described in the bill as a qualified fund recipient if it is able to advance Taiwan’s meaningful participation in international fora and multilateral organisations, if it is able to diversify supply chains away from China, or if it is able to build the capacity and resilience of civil society, media, and other nongovernmental organizations to counter China’s influence and propaganda.

The bill specifies that the US encourages countries having no official ties with Taiwan to deepen their engagement and help those countries that lack the economic or political capability to effectively respond to China’s coercion.

Republican Committee Chairman John Moolenaar, in a statement, said, “The Chinese Communist Party has spent decades trying to isolate the free people of Taiwan from the world stage and coerce other nations into severing relations with the thriving democracy.”

Moolenaar proposed the bill along with Democratic Ranking Member Raja Krishnamoorthi, Democratic House Foreign Affairs Committee Ranking Member Gregory Meeks, and Taiwan Caucus Co-Chairs Andy Barr of the Republican Party and Ami Bera and Gerald Connolly of the Democratic Party, CNA reported.

“Our legislation will help Taiwan’s diplomatic allies resist CCP authoritarian pressure campaigns while meeting their development needs. The United States must stand with those who stand with Taiwan,” Moolenaar said.

The committee noted that since 2013, China has enticed 11 countries to cut relations with Taipei in favour of Beijing, often through bribes and economic inducements.

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