Over the last 30 years, China has grown into a global economic and military superpower.
It is the world's second-largest economy and a leading production hub worldwide. Has a permanent UN Security Council seat, and has a very ambitious space exploration program.
Because they were not burdened by wars in Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan like the United States in recent years, China has been slowly but surely scaling up its military strength. China's navy is now larger than the USA's. They have been expanding their might into disputed territorial waters of the coasts of most Southeast Asian countries like Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam, building huge artificial islands or taking over uninhabited ones.
China has been observing the West and their military capabilities, silently developing an advanced arsenal, including long-range weapons systems.
It was announced in late 2021 that there is now a new military alliance between the USA, the UK and Australia to counter China's aggression in the Pacific. The news surprised many, leading to speculations that preparations are underway for a potential war with China. A panel of five experts discuss how Australia will get affected - and survive - if the worst-case scenario, an all-out war between China and the United States, takes place.
The tinderbox in this crisis is Taiwan, a tiny island nation off China's southeast coast. After the Chinese civil war, it broke away from the mainland in 1949 but has never officially declared its independence because once they do, China will attack.
Taiwan is a very wealthy democratic country, holding the 6th largest foreign exchange reserve globally. It supplies almost 70% of the semiconductor computer chips globally, which is a vital part of all digital gadgets and home appliances and cutting-edge weapons.
It also has a solid relationship with the United States, which is the acknowledged reason why China has never invaded it despite breaking away.
However, China's President Xi Jinping has declared that Taiwan "must and will be reunited" at some point with the mainland. All of China's military growth has been in preparation for war over Taiwan. And when it does take place, what happens? Will America support Taiwan? And if they do, will Australia also help out as it has done historically in many other armed conflicts? Since it is a well-known American ally, expert military strategists agree that there is a big possibility that Australia might take a nuclear hit.
Recently, China imposed economic sanctions on several Australian industries because it criticized Beijing regarding Huawei Technologies and the Covid19 pandemic.
Australia is one of China's largest trading partners globally, making the situation even more alarming.
Australians need to decide if it will just sit back and let China take over Taiwan or if it's ready to get wholly involved in a major global war. However, due to the intricacies of foreign policy and diplomacy, that decision may have already been taken out of their hands.