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The editor of a state-run Chinese tabloid has issued a sinister warning to Australia after Peter Dutton's remarks it would be "inconceivable" Australia wouldn't join forces with the US to defend Taiwan.
Speaking with The Australian, the Defence Minister acknowledged the thought of Australia could compete with China was "nonsense", but didn't rule out joining forces with the US.
"It would be inconceivable that we wouldn’t support the US in an action if the US chose to take that action," he said.
The remarks come amid growing tensions between China and Taiwan, and Mr Dutton's comments didn't go unnoticed by the editor-in-chief of the Global Times.
"If Australian troops come to fight in the Taiwan Straits, it is unimaginable that China won’t carry out a heavy attack on them and the Australian military facilities that support them," Hu Xijin tweeted, along with a link to an article detailing Mr Dutton's comments.
"So Australia better be prepared to sacrifice for Taiwan island and the US."
The Global Times is a renowned mouthpiece for Beijing and this isn't the first time Hu has taken aim at Australia.
He previously labelled Australia "the unfriendliest country to China besides the United States" when he met with Australia's ambassador to China Graham Fletcher last year.
If Australian troops come to fight in the Taiwan Straits, it is unimaginable that China won’t carry out a heavy attack on them and the Australian military facilities that support them. So Australia better be prepared to sacrifice for Taiwan island and the US👍 https://t.co/98XUaRlvwL
— Hu Xijin 胡锡进 (@HuXijin_GT) November 13, 2021
Biden and Xi to hold virtual summit
US President Joe Biden will hold a virtual meeting with Chinese leader Xi Jinping, the White House says, talks Washington hopes will create some stability amid increased tensions between the world's two largest economies.
It is expected to be the leaders' most extensive meeting under the Biden administration and will follow on from a telephone call between the two on September 9.
Washington and Beijing have been sparring on issues from the origins of the Covid-19 pandemic to China's expanding nuclear arsenal.
US officials believe direct engagement with Mr Xi is the best way to prevent ties spiralling toward conflict.
"The two leaders will discuss ways to responsibly manage the competition... as well as ways to work together where our interests align," White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement.
Beijing is also keen to avoid confrontation as Mr Xi faces a crucial year ahead with China's hosting of the Winter Olympic Games and a key Communist Party Congress where he looks to secure an unprecedented third term.
China's foreign ministry said on Saturday the leaders would exchange views on bilateral relations and issues of common interests in the summit, which will take place on Tuesday morning in Asia.
Mr Biden and Mr Xi outlined competing visions at meetings of the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation (APEC) forum this week, with the US president stressing his country's commitment to a "free and open Indo-Pacific", which Washington says faces increasing Chinese "coercion".
Meanwhile Mr Xi warned against a return to Cold War tensions.
The superpowers have clashed increasingly over self-ruled Taiwan, which Beijing claims as its own and that Washington is required to provide with the means to defend itself.
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