TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Chinese state media outlet the Global Times has warned Australia it will come under “heavy attack” in the event the U.S. ally sends troops to defend Taiwan from an attack by China.
The tabloid's Editor-in-Chief Hu Xijin (胡錫進) took to Twitter on Saturday (Nov. 13) to make the threat explicit, according to Australian media.
“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,” he wrote in a post. “So Australia better be prepared to sacrifice for Taiwan island and the US,” he concluded, inserting a thumbs up emoji in lieu of a period.
Hu’s tweet was supposedly triggered by a statement by Australian Defense Minister Peter Dutton that day, who said Australia would join a U.S.-led coalition to defend Taiwan if an attack occurred.
“It would be inconceivable that we wouldn’t support the U.S. in an action if the U.S. chose to take that action,” Dutton said in an interview with The Australian, the country’s most widely-read daily.
Dutton signaled he is fully aware of the size of PLA forces and the risks defending Taiwan may entail for his country.
“They (China) spend 10 times a year more than what we spend on our defense budget,” he said. “So the thought that we could compete with China is of course nonsense.”
“That’s not the question before us,” he remarked. “The question is, would we join with the U.S.?”