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A nationalistic media outlet for the Chinese Communist Party is warning of a "showdown" between Beijing and Canberra as it raged over an unusual trip taken by former Australian prime minister Tony Abbott.
Mr Abbott visited Taiwan this week offering his support to the democratic island in the face of what he called China "challenges".
Abbott, who made the comments to President Tsai Ing-wen at her office in Taipei on Thursday, is not visiting in any official capacity, but his trip comes as Western democracies seek to support the island in the face of growing military intimidation from China which has repeatedly vowed to retake control of the country.
"Of course not everyone, and not everywhere is pleased at Taiwan's progress, and I do note that Taiwan is challenged on an almost daily basis by its giant neighbour," Mr Abbott said.
The jingoistic state-run mouthpiece of that giant neighbour, The Global Times, did not appreciate the sentiment.
"Is Australia going to have a showdown with China over Taiwan secessionism? There are increasingly worrying signs of further acts of recklessness from Canberra," an opinion piece in the outlet warned.
Canberra a 'chess piece' for Washington
China has long sought to quash any international recognition of Taiwan's independence.
The article raged about the visit by Mr Abbott, as well as an interview this weeks on the ABC's China Tonight program in which Taiwan's Foreign Minister called for greater assistance from countries like Australia in combating China.
"Canberra will become another chess piece in Washington's anti-China strategy," author Chen Hong wrote.
"Facing the prospect of such reckless challenges to its national sovereignty and territorial integrity, China will definitely take decisive and proportional countermeasures.
"Australia has been wreaking horrific havoc to the China-Australia relations in the recent several years. In the event that Canberra should take further concrete actions to violate the bottom line of China's national interest, the bilateral relations could face cataclysmic upheaval."
Australia, like most countries, has no official diplomatic ties with Taiwan, but has joined its ally the United States in expressing concern at Chinese pressure.
Taiwan says it is an independent country and will defend itself if China attacks – something its superpower neighbour says it's prepared to do.
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