Former Australian PM Scott Morrison told Rohit Kachroo that war in Taiwan would make Covid 'look like a headache' and would effect the global economy fifty times more than the war in Ukraine
The global economic impact of a Chinese invasion of Taiwan would be fifty times bigger than the war in Ukraine, the former Australian Prime Minister has warned.
Scott Morrison, who helped devise the AUKUS alliance with Britain and the United States to counter China with nuclear-powered submarines, believes the repercussions could even eclipse the COVID pandemic.
“In terms of the geo-strategic economic implications of what would occur in Taiwan versus Ukraine? Well, it's, it's a factor of 50” he told ITV News.
Taiwan being invaded would make the economic impact from Covid 'look like a headache' says former Australia PM Scott Morrison
“The economic disruption of such an event, which would inevitably involve great powers, is hard to conceive. It would make Covid look like a headache.”
“It's not something that UK and Europe can have a passive view about. The Chinese government may want that.
“If that were to occur, well, they may as well send out invitations. And that, I think would be a very, very dangerous path to go down.
“I don't believe China wants to invade Taiwan. I don't think that is their desired outcome at all.”
“If it can't achieve its unification objectives through peaceful or other means, and the calculus militarily stacks up to do it, well that is a real risk.”
Morrison defended the secrecy around the AUKUS alliance, a partnership between the UK, US, and Australia to boost defences and share nuclear submarine secrets.
The deal led Canberra to abandon a $90 billion submarine contract with France in September 2021.
The move infuriated President Emmanuel Macron, who accused Morrison of lying to him for not revealing his secret dialogue with the UK and the US.
In 2021, French President Emmanuel Macron accused Morrison of 'lying' over a submarine deal between the two nations. Australia's former PM told Rohit Kachroo how the two came to blows
“The next day? Well, there was a fever of activity coming out of the French defence department contacting everyone with an Australian accent they could find”, Morrison said.
“There's no nice way to tell someone that we're cancelling a $90 billion contract. You have to assume that is not going to be well received. I’d been very clear as early as June, even before Aukus had been landed, that we did not believe a conventionally powered submarine was any longer going to meet our needs and that we were looking at alternatives.”
Morrison revealed how advanced discussions were held with Joe Biden and Boris Johnson at the G7 summit in Cornwall in June 2021, although the details of the conversations were kept secret from other leaders.
“As the family photo broke up and we were walking down to see the presentation, I think of the Red Arrows, Emmanuel came up to me and sort of just said ‘G’day’. Our relationship at that point had always been very good. And he wasn't necessarily that inquisitive about the three of us [Biden and Johnson] having met.”
“He asked me how things were, and I said, ‘well, you know, we're facing very serious challenges in our part of the world.’”
Australia, the US, and the UK will seek to collaborate in artificial intelligence, cyber and quantum technologies as part of the alliance.
Australia is set to buy Virginia-class nuclear-powered submarines from the US.
“Australia had probably the most to lose [of the Aukus from the invasion of Taiwan]. We were the most exposed, we were at the frontline of the grey-zone conflict that was occurring in the Indo-Pacific.
Australia was feeling the heat of coercion. Japan had understood this for a long time as well. And so, unless we took the initiative to do something about this, we couldn't just rely on other great friends. We had to take the initiative and that's what we did.”
The creation of the Aukus pact was unpicked by the journalist Richard Kerbaj, who interviewed Morrison several times for an updated version of his book, The Secret History of the Five Eyes.
As Washington and Beijing hold 'constructive' talks, journalist Richard Kerbaj breaks down how Aukus could function both as a deterrent and a provocation to relations over Taiwan
Mr Kerbaj said: "The formation of Aukus was formed by three international leaders, two of which are no longer in government - and the one who is, President Biden, is looking to reform relations between Washington and Beijing.
"There are two schools of thought over Aukus and the impact that it will have in the Pacific region.
"One, is that it could become a potential deterrent to stop China's militarisation of the region and expansion of its interests.
"The other school of thought is that this could potentially provoke China to become even more confrontational and even more assertive in the way it has been carrying out its foreign policy."
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