In the wake of a shocking speech from the Chinese ambassador to Australia, in which Xiao Qian said China would stop at nothing to take back Taiwan, Dutton said the Chinese Communist party had been “very clear” about their intentions. Liberal leader and former defence minister Mr Dutton said that “nobody should be surprised” if there is a military conflict between China and Taiwan.
China regards Taiwan as a breakaway province that must be reunited with the mainland, using force if necessary.
In an address to the National Press Club, Xiao said there would be “no compromise” on its one China policy. China, which is continuing its threatening military behaviour in the region after US house speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan, wanted a “peaceful reunification”, he said.
He said: “But we cannot, we can never rule out the option to use other means, so when necessary, when compelled, we are ready to use all necessary means.
“As to what does it mean, ‘all necessary means’? You can use your imagination, but … we will never allow Taiwan to be separated from China.”
Australia’s federal government has been consistently urging de-escalation, restraint and calm.
That position was echoed by the treasurer, Jim Chalmers, on Thursday morning on ABC radio.
Mr Chalmers called the ambassador’s language “concerning”.
He said: “That’s because our national interests in Australia are best served by peace, stability and prosperity in the region.
READ MORE: Ukraine: Zelensky’s Special Forces break silence on Crimea blast
“There’s no imagination required here.
“The CCP has been very clear about their intent in relation to Taiwan.”
He likened China’s belligerence to Russia’s before it invaded Ukraine, in the sense that many people didn’t believe the conflict would actually happen. And he described Xiao’s address as “surreal”.