Chinese insider warns of 'total war' if Australia 'threatens force'
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China will “not be bullied” and would incite “total war” if it is threatened, a Chinese insider has warned. Speaking to Australia’s ABC, Victor Gao, from the Centre for China and Globalisation, addressed reports that the US are preparing to send nuclear-capable bombers to air bases in northern Australia, telling journalists that the island nation should not think such a move would “save” them. Tensions in the IndoPacific have been escalating over the past few months as China held drills around Taiwan and Chinese President Xi Jinping renewed his claims over the independent nation in October.
Mr Gao said: “If war breaks out, it will be total war. Do not think by providing air bases in the northern part of Australia, it will be saving Australia.
“You need to be fully aware of what China is all about. China is a force not to be bullied. If anyone threatens China with force, they will be dealt with by force in return.”
According to US documents, Washington has drawn up plans to build dedicated facilities for the B-52 bombers at the Tindal Air Base, about 300km (185 miles) south of the city of Darwin in Australia’s Northern Territory.
The US Air Force told ABC that its ability to deploy bombers to “Australia sends a strong message to our adversaries about our ability to project lethal air power”.
Becca Wasser, from the Center for New American Security, said the move could be vital in “sending a signal to China” that attempts to intervene in Taiwan could be devastating.
She said: “Having bombers that could range and potentially attack mainland China could be very important in sending a signal to China that any of its actions over Taiwan could also expand further.”
The plans for the Tindal Air Base include a “squadron operations facility” for use during the Northern Territory’s dry season, an adjoining maintenance centre, and a parking area for the six B-52s.
The B-52, designed and built by Boeing, is the most combat-capable bomber in the US inventory, according to the aircraft maker.
The long-range heavy bomber has been the backbone of the US Air Force and is able to deploy both nuclear and conventional weapons.
Last year, Australia signed a landmark nuclear deal with the United Kingdom and the United States.
The AUKUS pact proposed to give Canberra the technology to build nuclear-powered submarines for the first time, supplanting a potential deal with France.
Following the pact, China accused the West of escalating tensions, despite having agreed a draft defence pact with the Solomon Islands permitting them to build a naval base.
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China’s Foreign Ministry said the historic AUKUS pact risked “severely damaging regional peace” and “intensifying the arms race”.
In his closing speech at the 20th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party in October, Chinese President Xi Jinping also warned against “interference by outside forces” over Taiwan.
He said that China would “continue to strive for peaceful reunification” but that they reserved the right to use force and “all measures necessary” to regain control over Taiwan should they resist.
His comments, he said, were “directed solely at interference by outside forces and a few separatists seeking Taiwan independence”.
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