China Media Warns U.S., Allies of 'Unbearable' Consequences of New Cold War

Chinese state media has warned the U.S. and Australia that closer cooperation between them will heighten the risk of conflict in Southeast Asia and could result in "unbearable consequences" for the democratic nations and the region.

The state-backed Global Times newspaper—owned by the People's Daily newspaper, which is the official publication of the Chinese Communist Party—published an article and a separate editorial Wednesday in response to a U.S.-Australian pledge to deepen military ties.

American and Australian representatives held a joint press conference Tuesday to announce expanded military ties, including a new military fuel reserve in the northern city of Darwin.

At the press conference, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told his Australian counterpart that the U.S. "knows the threats that you and the rest of the free world face"—a thinly veiled reference to China—and "stands with you in our unbreakable alliance."

Global Times—used to air the more nationalistic and aggressive sentiment from withinn the CCP—warned that Australia will "face unbearable consequences by undermining its ties with China" and prompt greater vigilance and mistrust from Beijing.

The U.S. is building a Western united front against the CCP, with frosty relations between Washington, D.C. and Beijing having spiralled down further amid the coronavirus pandemic, territorial tensions, human rights disputes, and conflict over Chinese tech companies.

Last week, Pompeo delivered a belligerent speech calling on democratic nations to unite to face the China challenge, even hinting at the desirability for regime change in Beijing. The Five Eyes intelligence sharing group—the U.S., U.K., Australia, Canada and New Zealand—are at the forefront of democratic efforts to contain China.

But Global Times said: "Australia is making a gamble and betting more chips on the U.S. by jeopardizing China-Australia ties," describing President Donald Trump's administration of "failed leadership" amid its inability to contain the spread of COVID-19.

Chinese-Australian relations have also dipped alongside the pandemic. Australia is among those pushing for an international probe into the origins and course of COVID-19, which originated in the central Chinese city of Wuhan.

Australia has also introduced visa extensions for Hong Kongers amid China's crackdown on democratic movements there. Meanwhile, China introduced new trade barriers on Australian goods including beef, barley and coal and warned Chinese students not to travel to Australia to study due to the risk of "racist incidents."

In a separate editorial, Global Times said "Canberra is trying hard to show its loyalty to Washington."

It added, "Washington is hysterically instigating a new cold war against China, while most countries are dealing with it passively. It's indeed unpopular for Washington to make its China policy crazy and force other countries to take sides. It is doomed to face many difficulties as there is no driving force for its implementation."

US, China, Australia, coronavirus, military, state media
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo meets with Australia's Foreign Minister Marise Payne at the State Department in Washington, D.C., on July 27, 2020. ALEXANDER DRAGO/POOL/AFP via Getty Images/Getty