A major Chinese news outlet has written a scathing attack against Australia over its position on the territorial stoush in the South China Sea.
State-run paper The Global Times published the editorial, which criticised Australia's decision to support a recent international tribunal into China’s activities in the resource-rich South China Sea.
Titled "Paper cat Australia will learn its lesson", the article has called for military strikes on any Australian ships which may undertake “freedom-of-navigation” activities in the area.
The term "paper cat" alludes to the Chinese phrase zhilaohuto, or "paper tiger", a saying from the era of Mao Zedong for dismissing foreign powers, the Australian reported.
"Paper tiger" refers something which seems intimidating, but holds no true power.
"Australia is not even a 'paper tiger,' it's only a 'paper cat' at best," the editorial said.
The article has also accused Australia of “trying to please the US” and of holding the intention “to suppress China so as to gain a bargaining chip for economic interests”.
It stated that Australia was a country "established through uncivilised means, in a process filled with the tears of the aboriginals".
“It was at first an offshore prison of the UK and then became its colony, a source of raw materials, overseas market and land of investment."
In June, Australia supported an international decision which ruled China "had no legal basis" to claim historical rights in the South China Sea.
The Hague's ruling on the South China Sea dispute rejected China's claims of a historic title over the waters, in a win for the Philippines.
However, Chinese President Xi Jinping said his country’s “territorial sovereignty and marine rights” would not be affected by the ruling.
According to Business Insider Australia, the editorial made particular note out Australia’s strong economic ties with China as “its biggest trading partner”.
Given this, the editorial said Australia's reaction to the South China Sea ruling was "surprising to many".
“Australia has unexpectedly made itself a pioneer of hurting China’s interest with a fiercer attitude than countries directly involved in the South China Sea dispute. But this paper cat won’t last,” the editorial said.
Last week, the Chinese government warned Australia its position was “detrimental to the political foundation of our relationship”, and “present co-operation” could be “damaged” if it took further action.
The warning followed a dressing-down from China of Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop.
Speaking on behalf of China's Foreign Ministry, spokesman Lu Kang denounced Ms Bishop after she told ABC radio that China should "abide by the UN ruling" and that Australia would continue "freedom-of-navigation" activities in the region.
"Australia should talk and behave cautiously," Lu Kang warned.
China went on ignore the numerous southeast Asian nations laying claims to parts of the sea, conducting combat exercises in the region.
It also threatened to declare an air defence identification zone.
In response, American and Australian troops are expected to escalate military training in order to be “fully prepared” to cope with rising tensions over Beijing’s claims in the region.
News break – August 2