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China urges Australia to drop ‘Cold War mentality’ after ex-PM Abbott visited Taipei, pledged support

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Chinese Taipei’s President Tsai Ing-wen speaks to former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott during their meeting in Taipei on October 7, 2021. (Photo by Reuters)

China has called on Australia to abandon its “Cold War mentality” and re-evaluate its relationship with Beijing, following former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s visit to Chinese Taipei, during which he pledged that Canberra would support the self-ruled island against Beijing.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian made the remarks at a regular press briefing on Monday, saying Beijing had lodged “solemn representations” with Canberra over the visit as well as Abbott’s “inappropriate” comments about Chinese pressure against Taipei.

“We advise individuals in Australia to abandon the Cold War mentality and ideological prejudice, respect basic facts, view China and China’s development objectively and rationally, and stop making irresponsible remarks,” Zhao said.

Zhao further asserted that Abbott had grossly interfered in Chinese internal affairs by visiting the self-ruled island, accusing him of using his political interests to instigate confrontation between Beijing and Canberra.

He further denounced as “ridiculous” Abbott’s comments during his visit to the self-governed island, saying any attempt to promote the “China threat theory” as well as the slander of Chinese affairs is “very immoral, extremely irresponsible, and destined to be unpopular.”

In a visit to Taipei last week, Abbott called on countries to be ready for a conflict induced by “Chinese aggression,” suggesting that any escalation over Taipei could divide the world into two camps, “democracies versus dictators.” 

“The relevant words and actions by the Australian politician go against the ‘One China’ principle and send a seriously wrong signal,” Zhao said, adding “China is firmly opposed to this. We have made stern representations to Australia.”

In a statement on its website on Saturday, China’s Embassy in Australia called Abbott a “failed” and “pitiful” politician, saying his recent performance in Taipei “will only further discredit him.”

Abbott’s visit to Taipei came after a record number of Chinese fighter jets flew into Taipei’s self-designated air defense zone.  

China flew 150 planes over Taipei’s self-designated air defense identification zone in the first five days of October. Taipei’s defense ministry described the show of force as an “incursion.”

China considers Chinese Taipei a breakaway province that should be reunited with the mainland. Under the “One China” policy, almost all world countries recognize that sovereignty.

Beijing also opposes other countries pursuing ties with the self-ruled island and has consistently warned against engagement with Chinese Taipei.

Australia, like most countries, has no official diplomatic ties with Taipei, but has joined its ally the United States in expressing concern at Chinese pressure, especially military.

China has in the past said its military exercises near Chinese Taipei are a “solemn warning” to secessionist factions in the self-ruled island and their foreign backers, particularly the United States.

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