China's state media has been accused of publishing "desperate and threatening propaganda" in an unusually menacing piece warning about a "looming war" with the West.
The article in the government owned Global Times, an arm of the country's state media which has become increasingly nationalistic in recent years, took umbrage with the US government objecting to China building up its strategic weapons capabilities.
The military might of the US remains unmatched but if a heated conflict were to arise with China, most likely over Communist Party's ambition to seize control of Taiwan, then it wouldn't just be those in Asia that suffer, the article warned.
"Washington elites appear to think the densely populated Asian proxies, including their people, industries, and infrastructures could be sacrificed. The island of Taiwan is sure to suffer the worst of the devastation if a military clash concerning the island breaks out," it said.
"If the American public fully comprehended the details of the macabre designs in advance they would certainly push back. Because it is their sons and daughters who will pay the price."
Most interestingly, the opinion piece was written by a former US marine and Pentagon whistleblower Franz Gayl who has garnered controversy over his appearances in Chinese state media.
His latest effort appears to assume a military confrontation is all but predestined.
"The PRC is well acquainted with US elite priorities and decision making. The looming war promises to be a destructive tragedy for the region and the world, and even its US architects cannot assume they won't be impacted," he wrote.
Reacting to the piece on Twitter, Rory Medcalf, an ANU professor and author of Contest for the Indo-Pacific, described it as "desperate and threatening propaganda".
Australia and the growing reach of China's military
Analysis published by the Lowy Institute on Monday paints an increasingly uncomfortable picture for Australia if China continues its confrontational approach as it seeks to "dominate" our region.
"China is engaged in the largest and most rapid expansion of maritime and aerospace power in generations. Based on its scope, scale, and the specific capabilities being developed, this buildup appears to be designed to, first, threaten the United States with ejection from the western Pacific, and then to achieve dominance in the Indo-Pacific," the analysis says.
As long as the US remains in the region and can be relied upon to project military power in Australia's region then China's military is "unlikely to be able to seriously threaten the environment in Australia’s immediate region, nor Australia’s sovereignty," the report said.
"Absent assistance from allies and partners, China already possesses the capability to strike Australia from existing bases with bomber aircraft and long-range missiles. The expected introduction of additional PLA air and naval capabilities over time will worsen this asymmetry."
The chance of Chinese military action against Australia remains remote, but as the report notes, "defence policy operates in the realm of low-probability, high-consequence events."
In April, Australian Strategic Policy Institute Executive Director Peter Jennings warned Australia would not be able to escape a conflict should the US move to defend Taiwan.
"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," he told Sky News.
"This is something we won't be able to escape it seems to me."
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