A powerful Australian minister has come down hard on China following a disturbing threat about war over Taiwan.
Defence Minister Peter Dutton has come down hard on China following a disturbing threat about war over Taiwan, accusing the global superpower of attempting to “bully” Australia.
The editor-in-chief of the Chinese Communist Party’s media mouthpiece The Global Times on Monday warned that Australian troops would face a “nightmare” if they fought in the Taiwan Strait and China would retaliate.
“If Australian troops come to fight in the Taiwan Straits, it is unimaginable that China won’t carry out a heavy attack on them and the Australian military facilities that support them,” the Global Times wrote.
But Mr Dutton refused to be shaken by the warning when questioned about it during a radio interview on Thursday, insisting Australia would stand up to China no matter how many threats were hurled from Beijing.
“We want peace and stability in our region. Nobody wants conflict. But equally, we are not going to surrender our sovereignty. We are not going to be bullied,” Mr Dutton said.
“We are going to stand up for what we believe in and stand with our partners, including the United States, to make sure there’s prevailing peace in our region.”
Mr Dutton condemned Beijing for its aggressive rhetoric, branding the CCP as a bully who refused to respect longstanding international rules and norms.
“This is the conduct of the Communist Party of China. We are not dealing with a democratic regimen. We’re not dealing with somebody who plays by the international rules,” Mr Dutton said.
“The words you quoted (from The Global Times), they’re words of a bully, not an international player.”
Mr Duttons comments come as a new report by a US Congressional body praised Australia’s resistance to Beijing’s attempts at economic coercion over Canberra.
The paper from the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission said sizeable tariffs slapped on Australian agricultural exports to China had a “minimal effect” on Aussie exporters who had successfully found other markets.
However, the report warned this did not mean China’s threat to Australia had been mitigated.
“China’s growing nuclear capabilities raise the risks of unintentional nuclear escalation or a deliberate nuclear exchange during a conventional conflict in the Indo-Pacific,” the paper noted.
Mr Dutton echoed these concerns, saying there has been “lots of worrying signs” in China’s behaviour over recent months.
‘The People’s Liberation Army from China dressed up in uniforms of the coast guard and bumped into vessels from Japan. And we see it on the border with China and India where there are incursions there,” he said.
“The Indians, I know, are very worried about the construction of facilities and infrastructure that the Chinese are building there.
“I think China has very significant responsibilities as one of the world’s great powers to behave according to the rule of international law. That’s all we ask for, and we expect our sovereignty to be respected.”