The editor of a Chinese newspaper considered a mouthpiece of the Communist dictatorship has said Beijing should consider “long-range strikes” directed at Australia.
Editor-in-chief of the stridently pro-Communist Global Times newspaper, Hu Xijin, made the extraordinary comments in an editorial advising Beijing how it should react should Australia join the US in protecting democratic Taiwan from invasion.
“Australia must know what disasters it would cause to their country,” he said in the tub-thumping piece published late on Friday. Beijing has long insisted Taiwan must unite with the People’s Republic, either by choice or force. It has become a rallying cry for Chinese leader Xi Jinping. That’s despite Taiwan never having been under communist rule. The island was where the then-Chinese government fled to in 1949 when the Communists took control of the mainland.
It is now a democratic nation with many inhabitants seeing themselves as Taiwanese rather than Chinese. The US is not obligated to defend Taiwan, although its “strategic ambiguity” policy over Taiwan means it reserves the right to do so. If the US did intervene, Australia would likely be called on to help in some way.
In recent months, China has ratcheted up the tension, and its air force has made repeated forays into Taiwan’s air defense zone. On Anzac Day, Canberra’s chief national security adviser Mike Pezzullo told staff that the “drums of war” were getting louder. That was widely interpreted as referring to China.
‘Long-range strikes’ on Australia
In the Global Times, Mr. Hu said that Australian “hawks” were “hyping or hinting” that Australia would help the US should a military conflict occur in the Taiwan Straits. “I suggest China make a plan to impose retaliatory punishment against Australia once it militarily interferes in the cross-Straits situation,” he said.
“The plan should include long-range strikes on the military facilities and relevant key facilities on Australian soil if it sends its troops to China’s offshore areas and combats against the People’s Liberation Army.” Any assistance to the US in Taiwan would be “irresponsible,” he added.