China should consider "long-range strikes" if war with the West eventuates, according to an editorial in the country's pro-government newspaper which threatened potential Chinese bombing of "Australian soil".
Hu Xijin, editor-in-chief of the Chinese Communist Party's mouthpiece, The Global Times, wrote in an editorial Friday he believes China should prepare "to impose retaliatory punishment against Australia" if it interferes with the county's actions in the Taiwan Strait.
"Given that Australian hawks keep hyping or hinting that Australia will assist the U.S. military and participate in war once a military conflict breaks out in the Taiwan Straits, and the Australian media outlets have been actively promoting the sentiment, I suggest China make a plan to impose retaliatory punishment against Australia," he wrote.
Chinese soldiers sit atop mobile rocket launchers in 2019 during a parade to celebrate the founding of the People's Republic of China. Source: Getty
"The plan should include long-range strikes on the military facilities and relevant key facilities on Australian soil if it really sends its troops to China's offshore areas and combats against the PLA (People's Liberation Army).
"China should also reveal this plan through non-official channels to deter the extreme forces of Australia and prevent them from taking the risk and committing irresponsible actions," the English-version article said.
Australia's relations with China remain tense and noticeably began to sour after the Morrison government called for an investigation into the origins of the coronavirus pandemic last year.
Concerns of potential conflict have been exacerbated by the repeated insistence of Chinese leader Xi Jinping that his nation will reclaim Taiwan by force if necessary.
Beijing believes Taiwan, which split with the mainland in 1949 after a civil war, has no right to conduct foreign relations or participate in global bodies as a sovereign government.
The U.S. has already signalled its intentions to step in if China attacks Taiwan and experts believe Australia could be called in to help.
Xijin added China "will not take the initiative to pick a fight with faraway Australia" but should it coordinate with the U.S. "they must know what disasters they would cause to their country".
Australia 'won't be able to escape' China conflict
Australian Strategic Policy Institute Executive Director Peter Jennings fears Australia will have nowhere to hide if China and the U.S. go to war over Taiwan.
Speaking on Sky News last month, he said the U.S. would be drawn into any military escalation "and you better believe the United States will be expecting the help of its two key allies in the region Japan and Australia to play a role in the defence of Taiwan".
"This is something we won't be able to escape it seems to me," he said.
"China has certainly been ramping up its military activities around Taiwan and it doesn't look like it's going to slow that down."
Warnings of nuclear war
Hugh White, an emeritus professor of strategic studies at the Australian National University, wrote in The Saturday Paper if Australia doesn't address its problems with China it faces possible nuclear war.
"Now our government has begun, with disconcerting nonchalance, to talk of war," he wrote Saturday.
"And yet our government seems to have no idea how serious, and dangerous, our situation has become, and has no viable plan to fix it. This must count as one of the biggest failures of statecraft in Australia's history."
Chinese President Xi Jinping said China would be willing to take Taiwan by force. Source: Getty Images (file pic)
China's Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian branded some politicians in Canberra as "extremely irresponsible" and keen to "incite confrontation".
"These people are the real troublemakers. I have noticed that many people in Australia have expressed disapproval on social media, saying that such inflammatory language is outrageous and extremely crazy," he said.