Australia must be ready for the “possibility” of a major international conflict between western and eastern powers should Xi Jinping’s China decide to take Taiwan, according to ASPI Senior Analyst Dr Malcolm Davis.
It comes as tension has further escalated between China and Taiwan after Chinese fighter jets were seen off the island’s coast.
“It’s a possibility – we shouldn’t kid ourselves that that sort of major power conflict couldn’t happen,” Dr Davis told Sky News Australia.
“And you mention Russia – I have no doubt that they would try to exploit the situation perhaps by making a move against NATO’s eastern frontier in the Baltic states.
“So yes that is a possibility but we have to be ready for it – the alternative to do nothing is to basically let China have its way in the Indo-Pacific region and that would be almost catastrophic.”
Dr Davis said China fully expects to face US and allied nations in conflict should it attempt to take Taiwan.
“I think they’re quite ready for that.
“When you look at how the PLA’s modernisation has occurred over the last few years – they’re actively preparing to fight and defeat the United States in war.
“So they understand that – they know what the stakes are – and they cannot afford to let Taiwan remain de facto independent.
“From Xi’s perspective – they must take Taiwan and they’re going to certainly try.”