China could potentially invade Taiwan in the next decade and Australia could be come a key target in the conflict that would follow.

That’s according to Dr Malcolm Davis, a senior analyst from the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI), who is an expert on defence strategy and capability issues.

Dr Davis told news.com.au’s podcast, I’ve Got News For You, that suggestions indicate that Chinese President Xi Jinping could make his move on Taiwan as early as 2026 or 2027.

“Certainly the way Chinese military modernisation is occurring, they’ll be ready by 2026 – 2027,” Dr Davis said.

“2027 is the 100th anniversary of the People’s Liberation Army. So 2027, in my mind is when you have the greatest period of danger.”

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Dr Davis said the conflict could be a protracted war, lasting months or longer and Australia would be the subject of the attack.

“It is highly likely that in any conflict between China and the United States over Taiwan, that Australia would be attacked from the outset,” Dr Davis said.

“Chinese missiles would attack our northernmost bases. We would be essentially the subject of attack.”

The expert added that Australia is not equipped to defend attacks from China.

“We don’t have an effective missile defence capability,” Dr Davis said.

“That’s something that we do need to think about as part of the ongoing defence strategic review is that how do we harden our forces in the north to make them more resilient?

“How do we enable a dispersive options so that our forces can disperse throughout the area rather than being concentrated on a few bases?

“How do we protect critical fuel energy and logistics?

“These are all things that we need to think about in addition to things like ballistic missile defence”

Last month, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said Australia’s position on Taiwan was “clear”.

“We don’t want to see any unilateral change to the status quo,” Mr Albanese said.

“We’ll continue to work with partners to promote peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait.”

Is there a way China could be convinced not to invade Taiwan?

Dr Davis said the best way would be to strengthen deterrence against China over Taiwan.

The move would involve the US and its allies in the Indo Pacific region, including Australia, to raise the potential cost for any military action to unacceptable levels to Beijing.

“That would require, for example, strengthening military support to Taiwan now so that the cost of doing a cross straits invasion simply becomes too great,” Dr Davis said.

“The potential for losses for China is too great.

“That requires an actual commitment of military supplies, military aid to Taiwan, in the same way, for example, that Western countries are supporting Ukraine now, we would need to do that with Taiwan.”

Dr Davis said Australia would need to have an effective campaign of economic sanctions that would impose real economic costs on China’s economy.

“After all, what the Chinese Communist Party value the most is their grip on power,” he said.

“So, if you can find a way to erode that grip by causing significant effect through deterrence, then they may be persuaded that really taking Taiwan is not worth it.”

You can listen to the full interview with Dr Malcolm Davis on the I’ve Got News For You podcast

Read related topics:China




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