A Chinese propaganda newspaper has encouraged Beijing to bomb Australia if Canberra supports US military action in protecting Taiwan.
Hu Xijin, the editor-in-chief of The Global Times, which is seen as Beijing’s mouthpiece on foreign policy to the world, said China should retaliate with ‘long-range strikes’ if Australia gets involved in a potential military conflict over Taiwan.
‘I suggest China make a plan to impose retaliatory punishment against Australia once it militarily interferes in the cross-Straits situation,’ he wrote in an opinion piece.
‘The plan should include long-range strikes on the military facilities and relevant key facilities on Australian soil if it really sends its troops to China’s offshore areas and combats against the PLA (People’s Liberation Army).’
Mr Hu said it would be important for the Chinese government to send a strong message about the plan for retaliatory military action ‘to deter the extreme forces of Australia’ from ‘committing irresponsible actions’.
He warned Australia ‘they must know what disasters they would cause to their country’ if they were ‘bold enough to coordinate with the US to militarily interfere in the Taiwan question’.
Beijing mouthpiece The Global Times said China should launch ‘long-range strikes’ on Australia’s military facilities if Australia combats the People’s Liberation Army in a potential war in the Taiwan Straits. Pictured, PLA soldiers in Kashgar, northwestern China’s Xinjiang region
Pine Gap (pictured), a joint US-Australian listening and tracking base just outside Alice Springs has been nominated as a site China may possibly target if it wanted to ‘hurt the US’
The Global Times editor-in-chief Hu Xijin warned Australia ‘they must know what disasters they would cause to their country’ if the country’s military join the US to ‘interfere in the Taiwan question’. Pictured, file image of Australian Army soldiers
Mr Hu also claimed while ‘China loves peace’ and would ‘not take the initiative to pick a fight with faraway Australia’, he was quick to point out the country has ‘long-range missiles with conventional warheads’ that could target Australian military objectives.
The joint US-Australian intelligence-gathering base at Pine Gap, just outside Alice Springs, the Jindalee Operational Radar Network and signals intelligence facility at Geraldton were nominated by The Australian’s foreign editor Greg Sheridan as possible sites China might target to ‘hurt the US and its military capability’.
Turmoil surrounding Taiwan reached fever pitch in recent weeks after China repeatedly incurred on Taipei’s airspace and maritime borders, sending 25 military aircraft into its defence ‘identification zone’.
There are grave fears Beijing will militarily force Taiwan to reunify with mainland China under President-for-life Xi Jinping and the country’s ‘One China’ policy.
Taiwan, backed by the US and Japan, has endured a longstanding conflict with Beijing since a separate government was established on the island following the Chinese Civil War in 1949.
Taiwan has democratically-elected leaders and fiercely opposes reunification and the totalitarian rule of Beijing but Communist Party rhetoric is growing more aggressive when it comes to annexing the island.
The island nation remains an important ally of western democratic countries for its close proximity to China and because it produces a significant supply of semiconductor microchips at a time when there is a major global shortage.
Pressure is mounting on Australia and fellow ‘Quad’ members – Japan, India and the US – to keep Beijing’s forces at bay as tensions escalate.
This graph shows the differing military capabilities of China and Australia as tensions between the two countries mount and The Global Times calls for possible military intention by Beijing
China has also warned Australia it must fall in line with its policy to ‘reunify’ the disputed island of Taiwan if it wants to trade to return to normal. Pictured: Chinese Navy personal stand guard
Mr Hu’s comments come less than two weeks after China warned Australia it must support its policy to ‘reunify’ with Taiwan if it wants the trade war to end.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin late last month accused Canberra of ‘meddling’ in China’s internal affairs and said there is ‘no room for any form of Taiwan independence’.
‘Taiwan is an inalienable part of China’s territory, and the Taiwan issue is purely China’s internal affairs that involves China’s core interests and allows no foreign interference,’ Mr Wang said.
‘China must and will be reunified. We are willing to do our utmost to strive for the prospect of peaceful reunification, but will never leave any room for any forms of ‘Taiwan independence’ secessionist activities.
‘We hope the Australian side can… avoid sending any wrong signal to Taiwan independence forces, and take more actions that is conducive to peace and stability across the strait and for China-Australia relations.’
Is Taiwan a country or a part of China?
Taiwanese soldiers hoist the flag of Taiwan in Taipei on May 10. China considers Taiwan as a part of its territory, but many Taiwanese people want the island to be independent
China and Taiwan have a long-standing dispute over the island’s sovereignty.
China considers Taiwan as a part of its territory, more precisely a province, but many Taiwanese want the island to be independent.
From 1683 to 1895, Taiwan was ruled by China’s Qing dynasty. After Japan claimed its victory in the First Sino-Japanese War, the Qing government forced to cede Taiwan to Japan.
The island was under the Republic of China’s ruling after World War II, with the consent of its allies the US and UK.
The leader of the Chinese Nationalist Party, Chiang Kai-shek, fled to Taiwan in 1949 and established his government after losing the Civil War to the Communist Party and its leader Mao Zedong.
Chiang’s son continued to rule Taiwan after his father and began democratising Taiwan.
In 1980, China put forward a formula called ‘one country, two systems’, under which Taiwan would be given significant autonomy if it accepted Chinese reunification. Taiwan rejected the offer.
Taiwan today, with its own constitution and democratically-elected leaders, is widely accepted in the West as an independent state. But its political status remains unclear.
China was waged a year-long campaign of economic coercion against Australia, targeting about $20 billion worth of exports with arbitrary trade tariffs and bans.
Australia’s relationship with its biggest trading partner began to drastically deteriorate in April last year when Prime Minister Scott Morrison called for an independent inquiry into the origins of coronavirus, which first appeared in Wuhan at the end of 2019.
The plea for transparency over Covid-19 infuriated the Communist Party who retaliated by imposing arbitrary bans and tariffs on billions of dollars worth of Australian goods including barley, wine, cotton, seafood, beef, copper, and coal.
China last week indefinitely suspended all strategic economic talks with Australia, blaming the Morrison Government’s attitude towards the relationship.
The move cuts off all diplomatic contact with Beijing under the China-Australia Strategic Economic Dialogue, freezing discussions between key officials below a ministerial level.
But the deeper diplomatic freeze is largely symbolic, given Beijing was already refusing high-level meetings.
China will continue to buy vast quantities of Australian iron ore, minimising the economic impact.
Just days before Mr Wang’s remarks, Australian national security leaders acknowledged the ‘drums of war’ are beating louder for free nations in the region who seek to resist China’s quest for dominance.
A Chinese naval ship sails into Sydney Harbour in June 2019 during a secret reciprocal visit – there are now warnings of an impending war between the nations
Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen (pictured) has remained staunch in the face of Chinese aggression – with many nations now at loggerheads with the communist superpower
Australian Home Affairs secretary Michael Pezzullo said in his Anzac Day message on Sunday that though Australia should always search for peace, it must also be prepared to ‘send off our warriors to fight the nation’s wars’.
He added free nations ‘must remain armed, strong and ready for war, even as they lament the curse of war’.
‘Today, as free nations again hear the beating drums and watch worryingly the militarisation of issues that we had, until recent years, thought unlikely to be catalysts for war, let us continue to search unceasingly for the chance for peace while bracing again, yet again, for the curse of war,’ Mr Pezzullo said.
‘By our resolve and our strength, by our preparedness of arms, and by our statecraft, let us get about reducing the likelihood of war – but not at the cost of our precious liberty.
‘War might well be folly, but the greater folly is to wish away the curse by refusing to give it thought and attention, as if in so doing, war might leave us be, forgetting us perhaps.’
How China’s feud with Australia has escalated
2019: Australian intelligence services conclude that China was responsible for a cyber-attack on Australia’s parliament and three largest political parties in the run-up to a May election.
April 2020: Australian PM Scott Morrison begins canvassing his fellow world leaders for an inquiry into the origins of the coronavirus pandemic. Britain and France are initially reluctant but more than 100 countries eventually back an investigation.
April 15: Morrison is one of the few leaders to voice sympathy with Donald Trump’s criticisms of the World Health Organization, which the US president accuses of bias towards China.
April 21: China’s embassy accuses Australian foreign minister Peter Dutton of ‘ignorance and bigotry’ and ‘parroting what those Americans have asserted’ after he called for China to be more transparent about the outbreak.
April 23: Australia’s agriculture minister David Littleproud calls for G20 nations to campaign against the ‘wet markets’ which are common in China and linked to the earliest coronavirus cases.
April 26: Chinese ambassador Cheng Jingye hints at a boycott of Australian wine and beef and says tourists and students might avoid Australia ‘while it’s not so friendly to China’. Canberra dismisses the threat and warns Beijing against ‘economic coercion’.
May 11: China suspends beef imports from four of Australia’s largest meat processors. These account for more than a third of Australia’s $1.1billion beef exports to China.
May 18: The World Health Organization backs a partial investigation into the pandemic, but China says it is a ‘joke’ for Australia to claim credit. The same day, China imposes an 80 per cent tariff on Australian barley. Australia says it may challenge this at the WTO.
May 21: China announces new rules for iron ore imports which could allow Australian imports – usually worth $41billion per year – to be singled out for extra bureaucratic checks.
June 5: Beijing warns tourists against travelling to Australia, alleging racism and violence against the Chinese in connection with Covid-19.
June 9: China’s Ministry of Education warns students to think carefully about studying in Australia, similarly citing alleged racist incidents.
June 19: Australia says it is under cyber-attack from a foreign state which government sources say is believed to be China. The attack has been targeting industry, schools, hospitals and government officials, Morrison says.
July 9: Australia suspends extradition treaty with Hong Kong and offers to extend the visas of 10,000 Hong Kongers who are already in Australia over China’s national security law which effectively bans protest.
August 18: China launches 12-month anti-dumping investigation into wines imported from Australia in a major threat to the $6billion industry.
August 26: Prime Minster Scott Morrison announces he will legislate to stop states and territories signing deals with foreign powers that go against Australia’s foreign policy. Analysts said it is aimed at China.
October 13: Trade Minister Simon Birmingham says he’s investigating reports that Chinese customs officials have informally told state-owned steelmakers and power plants to stop Aussie coal, leaving it in ships off-shore.
November 2: Agriculture Minister David Littleproud reveals China is holding up Aussie lobster imports by checking them for minerals.
November 3: Barley, sugar, red wine, logs, coal, lobster and copper imports from Australia unofficially banned under a directive from the government, according to reports.
November 18: China releases bizarre dossier of 14 grievances with Australia.
November 27: Australian coal exports to China have dropped 96 per cent in the first three weeks of November as 82 ships laden with 8.8million tonnes of coal are left floating off Chinese ports where they have been denied entry.
November 28: Beijing imposed a 212 per cent tariff on Australia’s $1.2 billion wine exports, claiming they were being ‘dumped’ or sold at below-cost. The claim is denied by both Australia and Chinese importers.
November 30: Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lijian Zhao posted a doctored image showing a grinning Australian soldier holding a knife to the throat of an Afghan child. The move outraged Australians.
December 12: Australian coal is added to a Chinese blacklist.
January 11, 2021: Australia blocks $300million construction deal that would have seen state-owned China State Construction Engineering Corporation takeover Probuild. The bid was blacked over national security concerns.
February 5, 2021: China confirms Melbourne journalist and single mother Cheng Lei has been formally arrested after being detained in August, 2020.
February 23, 2021: China accuses Australia of being in an ‘axis of white supremacy’ with the UK, USA, Canada and NZ in an editorial.
March 11, 2021: Australia is accused of genocide by a Communist Party newspaper editor.
March 15, 2021: Trade Minister Dan Tehan announced he wants the World Trade Organisation to help mediate discussions between the two countries over the trade dispute.
April 21, 2021: Foreign Minister Marise Payne announces Australia has scrapped Victoria’s controversial Belt and Road deal with China using new veto powers.
May 6, 2021: China indefinitely suspends all strategic economic talks with Australia, blaming the Morrison Government’s attitude towards the relationship. The move cuts off all diplomatic contact with Beijing under the China-Australia Strategic Economic Dialogue, freezing discussions between key officials below a ministerial level.