Tony Abbott raised concerns about an imminent Chinese invasion during a speech in Taipei this week. The former Australian Prime Minister told a regional forum on Friday that Beijing could launch a full-scale war against Taiwan “very soon”. Hours later, China’s President Xi Jinping appeared to confirm Mr Abbott’s remarks as he said that “reunification” with Taiwan “must be fulfilled”.
Mr Abbott used his controversial trip to Taiwan to call on Beijing to “scale back the aggression”.
He suggested that military conflict was much more imminent than many thought.
The former Aussie leader said: “But that’s not how China sees it, as its growing belligerence to Taiwan shows.
“Sensing that its relative power might have peaked, with its population ageing, its economy slowing, and its finances creaking.
“it’s quite possible that Beijing could lash out disastrously very soon.”
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He predicted that China would launch a blockade against Taiwan, prompting a “key moment for Taiwan’s friends”.
Mr Abbott said: “Would they be prepared to run a Chinese blockade and would China be prepared to intercept ships and planes bound for Taiwan?
“My instinct is that China would be reluctant to do so but would instead challenge the US and its allies to keep Taiwan supplied indefinitely.”
He predicted that the US and Australia would likely join Taiwan in confronting any Chinese aggression.
The Wall Street Journal, citing unnamed officials, reported on Thursday that about two dozen US service members had been training Taiwan’s ground and maritime forces “for at least a year”.
In a speech on Saturday, President Xi Jinping said that the Chinese people had a “glorious tradition” of opposing separatism.
Taiwan considers itself a sovereign state, while China views Taiwan as a breakaway province.
Beijing has not ruled out the possible use of force to achieve unification.