China's threat of missile strikes backfires--sparks calls in Australia for nuclear weapons


By Atul Aneja

New Delhi, May 13: Chinas state medias threat to subject Australia to a missile strike, should it support Taiwan, has had an unexpected fallout—it has triggered demands in Canberra for nuclear weapons.

Writing in the state-run tabloid Global Times— Hu Xijin —the editor-in-chief of the bullhorn of the Communist Party of China (CPC), threatened Australia by saying that China should consider attacking the continent with missiles, fired both independently and by its H6K strategic bomber.

"Given that Australian hawks keep hyping or hinting that Australia will assist the US military and participate in war once a military conflict breaks out in the Taiwan Straits, and the Australian media outlets have been actively promoting the sentiment, I suggest China make a plan to impose retaliatory punishment against Australia once it militarily interferes in the cross-Straits situation," writes Hu.

The bellicose insider of the CPC then details a plan of attack. "The plan [to attack Australia] should include long-range strikes on the military facilities and relevant key facilities on Australian soil if it really sends its troops to China's offshore areas and combats against the PLA," Hu writes. "If they [Australian hawks] are bold enough to coordinate with the US to militarily interfere in the Taiwan question and send troops to the Taiwan Straits to wage war with the PLA, they must know what disasters they would cause to their country."

Undeterred by the Chinese threat former Yale and Harvard academic, Anders Corr, in his riposte written in Epoch Times, says that given Hu's threat "the United States and allies should immediately support Australia in obtaining an independent submarine-based nuclear deterrent, so that Australia can join countries such as the United States, France, Britain, and India as powerful global defenders of freedom and democracy. The independent strength of individual members of an alliance improves the overall strength of the alliance".

Corr is not the first one to call for an independent Australian nuclear deterrent, given the likely face-off with China in the Indo-Pacific region. "Far from being in a strategic backwater, Australia is very much now a state in the front line," said Malcolm Davis, a military planner as quoted earlier by Bangkok Post.

Hugh White -- a professor of strategic studies at the Australian National University is another heavyweight advocating Australian nukes.

In his book, "How to Defend Australia", he argues that developing nuclear weapons has become inevitable.

"The strategic costs of forgoing nuclear weapons in the new Asia could be much greater than they have been until now," he says citing "big strategic shifts in Asia".

Corr, points to the urgency of acquiring Australian nukes.

"Australia has a limited window of opportunity in which to go nuclear, after which China's rising power and regional hegemony will make an independent nuclear Australia impossible. At that point, which could be as soon as 5 or 10 years, the window will close and China could more effectively use nuclear brinkmanship, control of Asian seas, check book diplomacy, and its economic trading power, to break Australia from its allies, and bring it under Beijing's dominance," he observes.

NATO should welcome Australia into its alliance as a full member, before China has a chance to create a territorial dispute down under, and thereby make Australian accession more difficult. If Washington came under the influence of Beijing, the bilateral U.S.-Australia alliance would be useless to Australia's defence, he says.

Corr makes two additional points. First, NATO must change its strategic outlook by no longer narrowly focusing on the Atlantic. Instead, it should broaden its vision to include Asia. Second non-democracies such as Saudi Arabia and Vietnam should be included in the Indo-Pacific phalanx.

"NATO should no longer be a purely Atlantic affair, given globalization and the rise of China. What matters today in choosing our closest allies is not geography, but shared values in support of democracy, as well as the inclusion of a broader diversity of allies, including countries like Saudi Arabia and Vietnam, that will strengthen the alliance in resisting Beijing's growing preponderance of power."

 

  

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Comment on this article

  • Dilip S.Samarasinghe, Colombo, Sri Lanka

    Wed, May 19 2021

    There seems to be double standards here. When the USA exercises pressure on a smaller country many can live with it, including Australia. But when China a rising Asian superpower uses power politics it seems quite different for western commentators. The reality is that Australia's government thought that it could gain favour from the USA by blaming China for Covid-19 and still continue to enjoy access to China's huge market for its exports. In addition Australia wanted to get involved in China's internal matter, namely Taiwan. It is not surprising that China should react so strongly to the bombastic threats by Australiam with a population which is less than that of a Chinese metropolis . Australia was read was the Riot Act: you interfere in Chinese matters( yes the people of Taiwan are Chinese- did Scott Morrison know that?) and your home military bases will be obliterated. Since I have not yet seen any western response on this matter, I would not be surprised if the general perception is that Australia's leadership has taken leave of its senses by adopting a foreign policy committed at destroying both its foreign trade and more recently its armed forces.

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