China sends ominous warning as it hails 'new era' with Arab world

Chinese military officials have talked up the country's impending take-over of Taiwan as China's president Xi Jinping hails a "new era" in the world order after meeting with Arab leaders.

The rising Asian superpower has taken another step in its efforts to topple US supremacy in global financial markets, telling Gulf Arab leaders that China will work to buy oil and gas in yuan – a move ostensibly designed to weaken the US dollar's grip on world trade.

Top oil exporter Saudi Arabia and China both sent strong messages during Xi's visit on Friday of "non-interference" at a time when the monarchy's relationship with the United States has been tested over human rights, energy policy and Russia's illegal invasion of Ukraine.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman welcomes Chinese President Xi Jinping in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia December 8, 2022. Saudi Press Agency/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS PICTURE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman welcomes Chinese President Xi Jinping. Source: Reuters

Any move by Saudi Arabia to ditch the US dollar in its oil trade would be a seismic political move, which officials in Riyadh have previously threatened the US with.

At the start of the talks, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman heralded a "historic new phase of relations with China," a sharp contrast with the awkward US-Saudi meetings five months ago when US President Joe Biden attended a smaller Arab summit.

Meanwhile hours later, Chinese military officials reportedly met to discuss the topic of China's intended reabsorption of Taiwan, according to the state-owned Global Times.

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"Taiwan is China’s Taiwan and no external force has right to interfere," the outlet tweeted on Saturday when reporting the meeting.

"Chinese military has the firm will, powerful capability to defeat invading enemy and resolutely safeguard national reunification."

The message comes just days after a senior Pentagon official for the Indo-Pacific said the United State's goal was to ensure Beijing understands an invasion is "never easy to do rapidly or cost-free".

Ely Ratner, who is currently serving as Assistant Secretary of Defence for Indo-Pacific Security Affairs in the Joe Biden administration, told the American Enterprise Institute that it would be a "really bad idea" for China to try take the country in the next five years.

"What we are trying to do [is] ensure when Beijing looks at the problem, [it decides] today is not the day," he said.

China bristles as Australia deepens military ties with Japan

Meanwhile Australia's Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles and Foreign Minister Penny Wong met with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and his defence and foreign ministers during a visit to Tokyo on Friday.

Australia wants Japan to be seen as part of a broad defence network which includes the AUKUS partnership with the United States and the United Kingdom.

The ministerial meeting ended with a joint statement flagging consideration of a future rotational deployment of Japanese aircraft including F-35s, participation in Exercise Talisman Sabre and submarine search and rescue training.

Australia's Foreign Minister Penny Wong and Australia's Defense Minister Richard Marles meet with Japan's Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi and Japan's Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada. Source: AAP
Australia's Foreign Minister Penny Wong and Australia's Defense Minister Richard Marles meet with Japan's Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi and Japan's Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada. Source: AAP

There is also potential for three-way training with US forces in northern Australia and collaboration on defence equipment, science and technology.

An Australian defence industry trade mission will also head to Japan next year.

Reacting to the move, the Global Times was characteristically truculent. "The Australian government has combined adventurism with opportunism and chosen to defend US hegemony at the cost of its own national interests and security, which reveals its lack of prudence and political wisdom," it thundered.

with wires

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