Beijing [China], May 11 (ANI): Chinese state-media has threatened Australia with retaliatory ballistic missile strikes if Canberra gets involved in a potential military conflict over Taiwan.
State-run outlet the Global Times on Saturday published an editorial from its editor-in-chief Hu Xijin with a headline: "China needs to make a plan to deter extreme forces of Australia."
Hu said China should retaliate with 'long-range strikes' if Australia gets involved in a potential military conflict over Taiwan, according to The Australian.
'I suggest China make a plan to impose retaliatory punishment against Australia once it militarily interferes in the cross-Straits situation,' he wrote in an opinion piece.
"The plan 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 (People's Liberation Army)," Hu added.
He went on to say that "China loves peace" but also threatens "disasters" against Australia.
"China has a strong production capability, including producing additional long-range missiles with conventional warheads that target military objectives in Australia when the situation becomes highly tense."
The warning comes after Australia's home affairs secretary Mike Pezzullo said the "drums of war" were beating. Pezzullo sent a message to staffers where he did not specifically mention China but said "the drums of war beat - sometimes faintly and distantly, and at other times more loudly and ever closer".
Last month, Defence Minister Peter Dutton warned potential conflict between Australia and China over Taiwan "should not be discounted".
Beijing claims full sovereignty over Taiwan, a democracy of almost 24 million people located off the south-eastern coast of mainland China, even though the two sides have been governed separately for more than seven decades.
Taipei has been countering the Chinese aggression by increasing strategic ties with democracies including the US, which has been repeatedly opposed by Beijing. China has threatened that "Taiwan's independence" means war.
Tensions between China and Australia have escalated over a slew of issues. Last week, China's National Development and Reform Commission said it would "indefinitely suspend" all activities under the China-Australia Strategic Economic Dialogue, a forum launched in 2014 and last convened in 2017, reported South China Morning Post (SCMP).
The Chinese agency said that the decision was made because of Australia's "Cold War mindset and ideological discrimination" that had disrupted cooperation.
Australia recently cancelled agreements to participate in China's Belt and Road Initiative, terming it as "inconsistent with country's foreign policy".
China has dubbed Australia's decision to scrap the controversial Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) agreement with Beijing as "unreasonable and provocative", warning that this would further "damage" bilateral relations. (ANI)