China has 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 gave the chilling ultimatum at a media conference in Beijing one day after Anzac Day, continuing the increasingly belligerent tone adopted by the Communist Party regime.
He 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 has 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 gaurd
Pictured: A Taiwan-made IDF jet fighter takes off from a highway in southern Chiayi county during the annual Han Kuang drill on September 16, 2014
‘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.’
The antagonistic comments come as Australian national security leaders acknowledge the ‘drums of war’ are beating louder for free nations in the region who seek to resist China’s quest for dominance.
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.
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’.
Beijing is increasingly aggressive in disputed territories, stamping out pro-democracy groups in Hong Kong and cracking down on Muslim minorities in Xinjiang under its ‘One China’ policy.
China has 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 troops in Beijing
Pressure is mounting on Australia and fellow ‘Quad’ members – Japan, India and the US – to keep Beijing’s forces (pictured) at bay as tensions continue to soar over the disputed territory of Taiwan
The authoritarian state also continues to encroach on Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Vietnam, and Brunei in the South China Sea and even had a deadly border skirmish with India last year.
There are grave fears Beijing will militarily force Taiwan to reunify with mainland China under President-for-life Xi Jinping.
‘I wish to emphasise that abiding by the One China principle is one of the things that is key to China-Australia relations,’ Mr Wang said.
‘Taiwan is a part of Chinese territory which cannot be separated.
‘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, 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’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
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.
Taiwan’s residents are more on edge than ever after watching the brutal repression of the independence movement in nearby Hong Kong.
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.
Pictured: A Police officer points his shotgun at democracy advocates during a clash in Hong Kong in 2019
Hong Kong police detain a pro-democracy protester during clashes in Hong Kong, China, 18 November 2019
This month it was reported that military officials in Canberra are planning ‘worst case’ scenarios in which Collins-class submarines and Super Hornet fighter jets would be deployed to the Taiwan Strait to assist the US and other regional allies in the case of war.
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.’
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
Australian Army soldier from the 2nd Combat Engineer Regiment in Queensland (pictured) amid warnings that Australia could ‘be at war with China’ within years
His comments came on the same day Defence Minister Peter Dutton said conflict between China and Taiwan ‘should not be discounted’.
‘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,’ he told the ABC.
‘There is a significant amount of [military] activity, and there is an 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.’
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.
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.
December 24: China suspends imports of Australian timber from NSW and WA after local customs officers say they found pests in the cargo.
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