Leak of Australian Commander’s China Comments Fuels Further Talk of War

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An Australian military commander warned of the “high likelihood” of conflict with China in a confidential briefing last year, an Australian newspaper reported on Tuesday, with the timing of the leaked remarks adding fuel to growing discussion about the risk of armed confrontation with Beijing over Taiwan.

Major General Adam Findlay told Australian special forces in a private briefing last April to prepare for the possibility of war with China, describing the country’s largest trading partner as the biggest threat to the region, The Sydney Morning Herald reported.

Findlay, who served as Special Operations Commander in the Australian Army before stepping down last year, said China had been competing with Australia in the “grey zone” to achieve its objectives without military force but that could change despite Canberra’s efforts to avoid conflict, according to the newspaper, which cited multiple unnamed sources.

“Grey zone” warfare describes offensive actions such as cyberattacks, intelligence-gathering and trade sanctions that fall short of military action.

The report on Findlay’s comments comes after two senior government figures raised the possibility of Australia becoming embroiled in a regional military conflict.

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Featured image: Vessels take part in a three-way exercise involving Australian, Japanese and US forces. Photo: US Pacific Fleet

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