Australia could be on the verge of an all-out war with China as tensions between the two trading partners continue to escalate, a top general has warned his troops.
Major-General Adam Findlay, formerly one of Australia’s top military commanders, said that a combat war with the communist nation was likely and we were already engaged in ‘grey zone’ warfare.
The special force general made the terrifying prediction during a briefing with troops in April 2020, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.
Mr Findlay, who has since stepped down but is an advisor for the Australian Defence Force, reportedly said there was a ‘high likelihood’ of war.
Relations between the two nations has been strained since Scott Morrison called for an inquiry into the origins of coronavirus last year, and have only been made worse after China imposed punitive trading tariffs which are hitting Australian farmers.
Pictured: Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) soldiers assembling during military training at Pamir Mountains in Kashgar, northwestern China’s Xinjiang region
Australia could be on the verge of an all-out war with China as tensions between the two trading partners continue to escalate. Pictured is Chinese President Xi Jinping
‘Who do you reckon the main [regional] threat is?’ he reportedly asked the troops, to which they replied ‘China’.
Multiple sources say the general then warned that China boasts 26,000 special force brigades, and said Australia must boost its traditional forces as well as cyber and even space.
‘We need to make sure we don’t lose momentum, get back in the region’, he added, fearing that Beijing was capitalising on Australia’s ‘absence’ in the area – with the nations in a ‘grey zone’.
In international relations, a grey zone is a limbo state between peace and war, where nations behave strategically and coercively but their actions fall short of war.
Recently, even Defence Minister Peter Dutton has conceded that war with the communist superpower could not be dismissed – saying we are already ‘under attack’ by online hackers.
The dire warning comes as the federal government’s Mandarin-speaking China expert urged Australia and its allies to form a treaty to combat China’s recent economic ‘attack’.
Shocking disparities between Australia and China’s military power shows we would struggle in a war, amid fears that tensions both nations are nearing tipping point
Liberal National MP Ted O’Brien called for Australia and its allies to join forces and respond with ‘lawful retaliatory action’ or ‘expand military alliances’.
‘Fresh action was required sooner rather than later,’ he added.
‘Communist China is weaponising trade and investment to pursue geostrategic outcomes for which earlier nations and empires would have used armed conflict, and it’s getting away with it,’ he wrote in a piece for the Australian Financial Review on Tuesday.
Mr O’Brien said the United Nations and World Trade Organisation are incapable and don’t possess the legitimacy to deal with economic security.
‘The void must, nevertheless, be filled. To this end, I propose we look to principles of collective security and mutual assistance to enable nations to come to the aid of others in the event of economic attack,’ he said.
China has a defence budget six times higher than Australia. Pictured is military training at at Nanjing University of Posts and Telecommunications
A Chinese naval ship sails into Sydney Harbour in June 2019 during a secret reciprocal visit – there are now warnings of an impending war between the nations
Prime Minister Morrison has recently announced a $747million funding boost to bolster Australia’s combat readiness in the face of an increasingly aggressive Beijing, but denied the move was anything more than an effort to ‘pursue peace’.
But even with the cash injection, Australia’s military may still pale in comparison to the communist regime.
China has a defence budget six times higher than Australia and boasts 42 times more soldiers, 55 times more tanks, 13 times more submarines and 16 times more fighter jets.
Relations with China, Australia’s biggest trading partner, began to drastically deteriorate in April last year when Mr Morrison called for an independent inquiry into the origins of the Covid-19 pandemic, which first appeared in Wuhan at the end of 2019.
The plea for transparency over Covid-19 infuriated the Communist Party who retaliated by imposing arbitrary bans and tariffs on billions of dollars worth of Australian goods including barley, wine, cotton, seafood, beef, copper, and coal.
Beijing recently warned it ‘reserves the right to make further reactions’ after the federal government tore up Victoria’s Belt and Road initiative with China, adding the move was damaging to bilateral relations.
Tension between China and Australia began to deteriorate when Scott Morrison (pictured) called for an independent inquiry into the origins of coronavirus
China has warned Australia it must fall in line with its policy to ‘reunify’ the disputed island of Taiwan if it wants to trade to return to normal. Pictured: Chinese Navy personal stand guard at Sydney’s Garden Island Naval Base in 2019
Former Australian defence minister Chris Pyne also recently sounded the alarm, saying a hot war with the authoritarian state may be inevitable as Beijing becomes more aggressive and belligerent with its neighbours.
‘Five years ago, I would have said that the possibility was very unlikely – now I would have to say that the possibility is more likely than it was then,’ he said in a speech at the University of Adelaide in April.
‘Not a cyber war, but a real one involving loss of life, destruction of military platforms, with aggressors and defenders on different sides,’ he said.
‘This isn’t rhetoric. This is something that you and I may well have to confront in the next five to 10 years.’
Home Affairs Secretary Michael Pezzullo also recently warned Australia must do whatever it takes to protect ‘our precious liberty’.
Australia’s military power still pale in comparison to China’s, despite a recent federal government funding boost. Pictured are Australian Army soldiers from the 8th/12th Medium Regiment
He used his recent Anzac Day address that Australia should always search for peace, it must also be prepared to ‘send off our warriors to fight the nation’s wars’.
He added free nations ‘must remain armed, strong and ready for war, even as they lament the curse of war.’
‘Today, as free nations again hear the beating drums and watch worryingly the militarisation of issues that we had, until recent years, thought unlikely to be catalysts for war, let us continue to search unceasingly for the chance for peace while bracing again, yet again, for the curse of war,’ Mr Pezzullo said.
‘By our resolve and our strength, by our preparedness of arms, and by our statecraft, let us get about reducing the likelihood of war – but not at the cost of our precious liberty.
‘War might well be folly, but the greater folly is to wish away the curse by refusing to give it thought and attention, as if in so doing, war might leave us be, forgetting us perhaps.’
How China’s feud with Australia has escalated
2019: Australian intelligence services conclude that China was responsible for a cyber-attack on Australia’s parliament and three largest political parties in the run-up to a May election.
April 2020: Australian PM Scott Morrison begins canvassing his fellow world leaders for an inquiry into the origins of the coronavirus pandemic. Britain and France are initially reluctant but more than 100 countries eventually back an investigation.
April 15: Morrison is one of the few leaders to voice sympathy with Donald Trump’s criticisms of the World Health Organization, which the US president accuses of bias towards China.
April 21: China’s embassy accuses Australian foreign minister Peter Dutton of ‘ignorance and bigotry’ and ‘parroting what those Americans have asserted’ after he called for China to be more transparent about the outbreak.
April 23: Australia’s agriculture minister David Littleproud calls for G20 nations to campaign against the ‘wet markets’ which are common in China and linked to the earliest coronavirus cases.
April 26: Chinese ambassador Cheng Jingye hints at a boycott of Australian wine and beef and says tourists and students might avoid Australia ‘while it’s not so friendly to China’. Canberra dismisses the threat and warns Beijing against ‘economic coercion’.
May 11: China suspends beef imports from four of Australia’s largest meat processors. These account for more than a third of Australia’s $1.1billion beef exports to China.
May 18: The World Health Organization backs a partial investigation into the pandemic, but China says it is a ‘joke’ for Australia to claim credit. The same day, China imposes an 80 per cent tariff on Australian barley. Australia says it may challenge this at the WTO.
May 21: China announces new rules for iron ore imports which could allow Australian imports – usually worth $41billion per year – to be singled out for extra bureaucratic checks.
June 5: Beijing warns tourists against travelling to Australia, alleging racism and violence against the Chinese in connection with Covid-19.
June 9: China’s Ministry of Education warns students to think carefully about studying in Australia, similarly citing alleged racist incidents.
June 19: Australia says it is under cyber-attack from a foreign state which government sources say is believed to be China. The attack has been targeting industry, schools, hospitals and government officials, Morrison says.
July 9: Australia suspends extradition treaty with Hong Kong and offers to extend the visas of 10,000 Hong Kongers who are already in Australia over China’s national security law which effectively bans protest.
August 18: China launches 12-month anti-dumping investigation into wines imported from Australia in a major threat to the $6billion industry.
August 26: Prime Minster Scott Morrison announces he will legislate to stop states and territories signing deals with foreign powers that go against Australia’s foreign policy. Analysts said it is aimed at China.
October 13: Trade Minister Simon Birmingham says he’s investigating reports that Chinese customs officials have informally told state-owned steelmakers and power plants to stop Aussie coal, leaving it in ships off-shore.
November 2: Agriculture Minister David Littleproud reveals China is holding up Aussie lobster imports by checking them for minerals.
November 3: Barley, sugar, red wine, logs, coal, lobster and copper imports from Australia unofficially banned under a directive from the government, according to reports.
November 18: China releases bizarre dossier of 14 grievances with Australia.
November 27: Australian coal exports to China have dropped 96 per cent in the first three weeks of November as 82 ships laden with 8.8million tonnes of coal are left floating off Chinese ports where they have been denied entry.
November 28: Beijing imposed a 212 per cent tariff on Australia’s $1.2 billion wine exports, claiming they were being ‘dumped’ or sold at below-cost. The claim is denied by both Australia and Chinese importers.
November 30: Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lijian Zhao posted a doctored image showing a grinning Australian soldier holding a knife to the throat of an Afghan child. The move outraged Australians.
December 12: Australian coal is added to a Chinese blacklist.
December 24: China suspends imports of Australian timber from NSW and WA after local customs officers say they found pests in the cargo.
January 11, 2021: Australia blocks $300million construction deal that would have seen state-owned China State Construction Engineering Corporation takeover Probuild. The bid was blacked over national security concerns.
February 5, 2021: China confirms Melbourne journalist and single mother Cheng Lei has been formally arrested after being detained in August, 2020.
February 23, 2021: China accuses Australia of being in an ‘axis of white supremacy’ with the UK, USA, Canada and NZ in an editorial.
March 11, 2021: Australia is accused of genocide by a Communist Party newspaper editor.
March 15, 2021: Trade Minister Dan Tehan announced he wants the World Trade Organisation to help mediate discussions between the two countries over the trade dispute.
April 21, 2021: Foreign Minister Marise Payne announces Australia has scrapped Victoria’s controversial Belt and Road deal with China using new veto powers