'Be ready': Australia warned about China's 'grey zone' war

Taiwan’s Foreign Minister has issued a stark warning about the potential of China launching a war against Australia.

Dr Joseph Wu spoke to The Weekend Australian and said China was preparing for war and "we all need to be ready for that".

"The new phenomenon we are seeing is part of what I would describe as China's 'grey zone' operations, where it sends in its maritime militia – large fishing boats armed, operated and following the orders of China’s navy – to harass and intimidate their perceived enemies," he said.

"This is something Australia hasn't experienced yet – but it is coming."

China's president Xi Jinping is pictured.
Taiwan’s Foreign Minister Joseph Wu has warned China is preparing for war. Pictured is Chinese leader Xi Jinping. Source: Getty Images

Operating in the "grey zone" allows China to deploy armed forces to foreign territory, The Weekend Australia reported, though Beijing denies the existence of the militia.

However, this isn't the first time Dr Wu has spoken about such activities.

Speaking to Britain's Sky News earlier this year, he said the military threat from China was growing through "misinformation campaigns, hybrid warfare, and... grey zone activities".

"And all these seem to be preparing for their final military assault against Taiwan," Dr Wu told Sky back in April.

"This is our country, this is our people and this is our way of life. We will defend ourselves to the very end."

China has utilised the tactic in the South China Sea, however Dr Wu warned the country could spread beyond and closer to Australia in the Pacific.

He pointed out in 2019, China re-established diplomatic relations with the Solomon Islands for military purposes, adding this is something everyone needs to "pay close attention to".

Like Australia, Taiwan has seen tensions heighten between China and Dr Wu added war is a legitimate possibility which could spell disaster, not just for Taiwan, but the rest of the world.

A Chinese coastguard ship during the joint search and rescue exercise between Philippine and US coastguards near Scarborough shoal, in the South China Sea on May 14, 2019.
Taiwan’s Foreign Minister Joseph Wu warned China could move beyond the South China Sea and into the Pacific. Source: AFP via Getty Images

Australian Strategic Policy Institute executive director Peter Jennings confirmed to The Weekend Australian Dr Wu's concerns over "grey zone" warfare were legitimate.

"We've known for years now that there's been a Chinese military interest in seeing if they couldn't establish some type of base in the Pacific region," he said.

"Given the sort of spread of Chinese interests in the region, that’s definitely going to start to encroach on Australian waters, probably starting around Papua New Guinea."

China discussed by G7 leaders

G7 leaders have reached consensus on the need for a shared approach to China selling exports at unfairly low prices and to human rights abuses, a senior official in US President Joe Biden's administration says.

The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the leaders of the Group of Seven world's largest advanced economies had also agreed on the need to coordinate on supply chain resilience to ensure democracies are supporting each other.

"I would say there was unanimity in terms of a willingness to call out human rights abuses and violations of fundamental freedoms that invoke our shared values," the official said.

"There was commitment to take action in response to what we're seeing."

The official said the G7 had moved far from three years ago when the final communique made no mention of China.

Under the legal structure of the World Trade Organisation, the designation of China as a "non-market economy" allows its trading partners, including the US, to use a special framework to determine whether China's exports are being sold at unfairly low prices and, if that is found to be the case, to apply additional anti-dumping duties.

with Reuters

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