CHINESE state media has issued a terrifying warning that Australia will be the “first hit” in any potential conflict over Taiwan if Canberra continues to “meddle” in Beijing affairs.
Earlier this month, Australian naval forces completed various war game exercises with the US, France and Japan in the East China Sea for the first-ever training drill between the nations. The exercises included amphibious assaults, urban warfare, and anti-aircraft defense.
However, amid growing tensions between China and Australia, Beijing lashed out at Canberra’s involvement in the exercise and issued a terrifying warning.
An article in the Global Times, a Chinese-state media platform, said: “The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) doesn’t need to make pointed responses to the joint drill since it’s insignificant militarily.
“Australia’s military is too weak to be a worthy opponent of China, and if it dares to interfere in a military conflict for example in the Taiwan Straits, its forces will be among the first to be hit.
“Australia must not think it can hide from China if it provokes.
“Australia is within range of China’s conventional warhead-equipped DF-26 intermediate-range ballistic missile.”
Tensions between Australia and its biggest trading partner, China, drastically deteriorated last year when Prime Minister Scott Morrison called for an independent inquiry into the origins of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Communist nation retaliated and imposed arbitrary bans and tariffs on billions of Australian goods.
Last month, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin accused Canberra of “meddling” in Beijing’s internal affairs and argued there was “no room for any form of Taiwan independence”.
Mr Wang said: “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.
“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.”
Australian Defence Minister Peter Dutton previously warned the conflict between China and Taiwan “should not be discounted”.
He told ABC: “If you look at any of the rhetoric that is coming out of China, from spokesmen particularly in recent weeks and months in response to different suggestions that have been made, they have been very clear about that goal.
“There is a significant amount of [military] activity, and there is animosity between Taiwan and China.
“For us, we want to make sure we continue to be a good neighbour in the region, that we work with our partners and with our allies, as nobody wants to see conflict between China and Taiwan or anywhere else.”
Pressure is mounting on ‘Quad’ members – including Australia, Japan, India and the US – to counter against China’s dominance over Taiwan.
Fears have erupted over recent weeks that under Chinese President Xi Jinping, Beijing will use military force to reunify Taiwan with mainland China.
Mr Wang continued: “I wish to emphasise that abiding by the One China principle is one of the things that is key to China-Australia relations.
“Taiwan is a part of Chinese territory which cannot be separated.
Tensions between Australia and China reach boiling point (Image: Getty)
“The Taiwan issue is entirely China’s internal affair and is related to China’s core interests and we won’t accept any external forces meddling or interfering in this.”
Taiwan has faced a longstanding conflict with mainland China since a separate government was established on the island following the Chinese Civil War in 1949.
The nation remains an important ally of Western countries due to its close proximity to Communist China.