Days after making comments in defence of the Tiananmen Square crackdown, Dio Wang, a senator from the small but influential Palmer United Party (PUP), defended Beijing’s claims to a chain of disputed islands at the centre of growing tensions in the South China Sea.
Mr Wang, a former mining executive who emigrated to Australia in 2003, in an interview with West Australian said that the country with the most power “at the time” would emerge victorious in the region.
“I think China does have some valid claims given the history. But we don’t live in history. Moving forward, whoever has the most power at the time will be the most successful in making claims,” he said.
While Tony Abbott, Australia’s prime minister, opposes China’s ambitions in the South China Sea, his party does not control the upper house Senate where minor parties, such as the PUP, hold sway over government.
Wang made headlines last weekend after backing Beijing’s decision to send in tanks to disperse the student protests at Tiananmen Sqaure on June 4, 1989.
In an interview published in the Australian Financial Review on June 6, he said “Obviously when criminals and students get mixed up, you can’t really identify each one of them. So when there was force to be deployed you may get innocent casualties.”
By Dominic Jackson